- Top Tens home
- Top 10 title blow-ups
With Manchester City threatening to capitalise on United's collapse, Sky Sports looks at 10 title blow-ups.
The head-to-head battle between Manchester United and Manchester City for Premier League glory this season has been full of drama and even with just two games remaining there is no ruling out another twist in the tale.
Both sides have seen substantial leads at the top of the table cut to nothing by their neighbours, with United having collapsed most recently to set up an excruciatingly tight finish to the campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men boasted an eight-point lead over the blue side of Manchester just weeks ago but City's 1-0 victory at Etihad Stadium on Monday night means goal difference is now all that separates the rivals.
The Red Devils are by no means the first side in history to have let their title campaign slip in the dying stages. Here, Sky Sports takes a look at the biggest chokes to have graced the top-flight.
Burnley - 1961-62
Half a century ago, Burnley were one of England's top teams and had celebrated title success in 1959-60, edging out Wolves and Tottenham for the crown. They came back for another go two seasons later and looked on course for more glory, sitting top of the table with a four-point lead and a game in hand over Ipswich Town at the beginning of March. However, the wheels proceeded to fall off the Clarets' campaign in spectacular fashion as the Lancashire side won just two of their last 13 games. First Division first-timers Ipswich claimed the title by three points and Burnley have failed to lift the trophy since.
Leeds United - 1970-71
Title hopefuls Arsenal were shaken by a wobble in February 1971 when a 2-0 defeat at Derby County marked their third successive loss on the road and allowed Leeds to open up a seven-point gap at the top. The Yorkshire club looked finally set for some silverware after finishing empty-handed on three fronts the previous season, but they buckled under the pressure just as the Gunners found form, reeling off nine straight league wins. After taking over in the top spot, Bertie Mee's side entered their final match - against local rivals Tottenham - needing a goalless draw to clinch the title but went one better, overthrowing Spurs 1-0 to beat Leeds to the punch.
Manchester City - 1971-72
At the end of March 1972, Manchester City were edging a four-horse race for the trophy that also consisted of Leeds United, Liverpool and outsiders Derby County. Cruising on the back of four straight wins, the Blues were on course to repeat their title-winning antics from four years earlier. However, City stumbled into an untimely bad patch, collecting just seven points from seven games in a slump that proved extremely costly. They managed to beat Derby 2-0 in their final game of the season but by then it was too little too late and Brian Clough's men took advantage of their game in hand to claim victory at home to Liverpool and clinch a first ever league championship.
Ipswich Town - 1980-81
Ipswich looked to have the upper hand in a two-horse title race with Aston Villa but flung their chances away in the final weeks, losing seven of their last 10 games to trail home four points behind the Midlanders. It seems the downfall of Bobby Robson's side came from taking on too much; Town were competing for silverware on three fronts that season. FA Cup glory also evaded them after reaching the semi-finals, but they could take some comfort from their UEFA Cup success after beating AZ Alkmaar in the final.
Liverpool - 1988-89
In one of the most dramatic title races in top-flight history, Liverpool managed to throw away the trophy in the final minute of the last game of the season against Arsenal. It had initially looked like the Gunners would be the ones to see their title bid implode after the Merseysiders slashed their 15-point lead at the top to nothing. Having pulled level with the Londoners, Liverpool had the upper hand heading into the final encounter of the campaign at Anfield, with Arsenal needing to win the clash by at least two goals to the lift the trophy. The visitors were 1-0 up as the game entered stoppage time and it looked like Liverpool had it in the bag until Michael Thomas struck in the final minute to send the title the other way.
Manchester United - 1991-92
On Boxing Day 1991 Manchester United were sitting pretty at the helm of the top-flight and primed to lift their first league title in 25 years. But rivals Leeds United threw a spanner in the works, emerging as the stronger side in what had been a two-horse race for most of the campaign. The Red Devils suffered a slump in form at the wrong time, securing just three successes in their last 12 games, while the Whites kept notching up the wins. United's campaign eventually imploded in their penultimate game of the season when, having lost back-to-back games against Nottingham Forest and relegated West Ham, they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool at Anfield, while Leeds triumphed 3-2 over Sheffield United to secure the crown.
Newcastle United - 1995-96
In January 1996, Manchester United lost 4-1 at Tottenham before being held to a goalless draw against Aston Villa, allowing Newcastle United to establish a whopping 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Kevin Keegan's men were firmly on course for the title and everyone presumed the race for the trophy was over. Three months later, however, the table told a different story. The Magpies had stumbled through an indifferent run of results, while the Red Devils had mounted a well-timed resurgence to climb back into contention. Cue an unexpectedly tight run-in, complete with Keegan's infamous 'I will love it if we beat them' rant, and United snatching the title from under the Magpies' noses in arguably the most memorable collapse.
Manchester United - 1997-98
It was United's turn to suffer another blow-up in 1998 when they threw it all away to Arsenal. The Red Devils were 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League on March 1st and appeared all set for a fifth title victory in six seasons, with one bookmaker even paying out early on the punters who had backed them to lift the trophy. However the Gunners, with three games in hand, patiently chipped away at United's lead, with a 1-0 triumph at Old Trafford in mid-March proving decisive. The victory triggered a storming run of eight successive wins and the North Londoners ultimately wrapped up the title with two games to spare with a 4-0 thumping of Everton.
Arsenal - 2002-2003
Manchester United were involved again in 2003 when Sir Alex Ferguson's men pegged back Arsenal in a classic race for the title. The Gunners had led by eight points in March but saw that advantage trimmed back by their rivals in the final weeks of the season. United clinched a crucial point in a dramatic 2-2 draw with the North Londoners in April before the Gunners collapsed later that month in a draw with Bolton before losing to Leeds in early May. Those results allowed the Red Devils to sneak in at the top and Arsene Wenger's men had to make do with FA Cup success.
Liverpool - 2008-09
Rafa Benitez's Liverpool gave up what had appeared a serious title bid in 2009 when they succumbed to Manchester United at the top. The Merseysiders had sat eight points clear of their fierce rivals in January but by the time they visited Old Trafford on March 14th they had slipped seven behind. Their slide came on the back of some ferocious mind games between Benitez and Sir Alex Ferguson, culminating in an astonishing five-minute attack on the United boss by the Spaniard, insinuating he organised the Premier League fixture list and that the Red Devils profited from generous refereeing decisions. Ferguson's men ended up winning the title by four points, with the Reds coming in second, and many pointed to Benitez's infamous rant as the moment when their season began to spiral.
Related Top Tens
Sky Sports counts down ten of the best North London derbies ahead of Sunday's clash.
We pick out the star pupils from the 2012 draft class, including a pair of record breaking quarterbacks.
Twenty years after joining Manchester United, we look back at Eric Cantona's top 10 memorable moments.
We count down 10 summer signings who will get their first taste of the Premier League this weekend.
Thomas Hill takes a look back at 10 memorable moments from Community Shields gone by.
Sky Sports counts down 10 players who are attracting persistent transfer speculation this summer.
We look at 10 footballers worth keeping an eye on at this summer's London Olympics.
Sky Sports takes a look at 10 players who will feel they need to impress in the Premier League.
Ahead of England's Euro 2012 quarter-final clash with Italy, we look at 10 previous contests.
With Euro 2012 up and running, we take a look at the top 10 upsets in the history of the event.