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- Top 10 final days
With the last round of Premier League fixtures looming, we look at the top 10 final day dramas.
As far as final days of the season go, this Sunday is shaping up to be a memorable one, with battles still raging at the top and bottom of the Premier League.
Manchester City appear set to lift their first title in 44 years, unless a late slip-up allows Manchester United to swoop, while Bolton and QPR are desperate not to join already relegated Wolves and Blackburn in the Championship.
History has shown a trend of teams leaving it until the last round of fixtures to determine their fate, with many title shocks and great relegation escapes coming on the final day of the season.
Here Sky Sports examines 10 occasions, looking at both ends of the table, when D-Day drama in the top flight has reached its peak.
Liverpool - 1986
The Reds denied their Merseyside rivals Everton a second successive title with a monumental finish to the season, crowned by a vital result at Chelsea. The neighbours had been neck and neck right up until the final day, with just two points separating them as the campaign reached its conclusion. Liverpool entered their last game knowing they had to at least draw after the Toffees thumped Southampton 6-1 earlier that day. They went one better, however, with player-manager Kenny Dalglish volleying home the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge to secure the title - as well as local bragging rights.
Arsenal - 1989
One of the most dramatic final days in living memory came when Arsenal clinched the title from under Liverpool's noses at Anfield. The Gunners arrived on Merseyside knowing they had to win by at least two clear goals to wrestle the trophy away from their opponents. The North Londoners took a 1-0 lead after Alan Smith broke the deadlock just after half-time but the minutes trickled down and they could not find another. That was, until Michael Thomas bustled his way into the box and lifted a shot over Bruce Grobbelaar in the final minute of stoppage-time to hand the title to the Gunners.
Everton - 1994
The Toffees, occupying the final relegation place, needed a win against Wimbledon to survive the drop but found themselves 2-1 down at half-time, with Sheffield United drawing at Chelsea at the break to keep them out of the basement. However, Everton pulled off a storming comeback in the second half, with Barry Horne driving home a 30-yard screamer before Graham Stuart grabbed the winner, prompting inevitable scenes of jubilation at Goodison Park. Meanwhile, the Blades unravelled at Stamford Bridge, conceding a Mark Stein winner to confirm their slide into the second tier.
Blackburn - 1995
After tussling for the top spot for much of the season, the title race went right down the wire as unglamorous Blackburn battled Manchester United for the crown, fuelled by the funds of owner Jack Walker. Rovers travelled to Liverpool on the final day and appeared to be coasting towards the trophy when they took the lead through Alan Shearer. However, John Barnes and Jamie Redknapp both got on the scoresheet to put a serious dent in former Kop hero Kenny Dalglish's title hopes. Manchester United suddenly had a chance to sweep in and nick the prize but they faltered against a resolute West Ham side, who frustrated them to a 1-1 draw to send the trophy Rovers' way.
Manchester United - 1999
United were pushed all the way by old adversaries Arsenal as they chased domestic dominance but entered the final day of the campaign knowing three points at home to Tottenham would be enough to lift the trophy. However, the Red Devils almost threw everything away, with Les Ferdinand firing Spurs ahead at Old Trafford to subdue any premature party celebrations. Sir Alex Ferguson's men responded in style, however, with David Beckham and Andy Cole turning the tie around to secure the title as United kept the Gunners out by just two points.
Bradford - 2000
Paul Jewell's knack for masterminding great relegation escapes became evident at Bradford when he rescued the Bantams from the brink. They entered the final game marooned inside the drop zone and knowing they would slip back into the second tier if Wimbledon matched their result at home to Liverpool. However, the Dons buckled under the pressure at Southampton while Bradford sprung a surprise over their visitors at the Valley Parade, with David Wetherall nodding home a towering header to provide the crucial winner. The Bantams preserved their top-flight status while denying the Reds a UEFA Champions League spot, and Wimbledon were condemned to life in the second division.
West Brom - 2005
Arguably the most memorable relegation escape came when Bryan Robson steered the Baggies clear of the drop on the final day. West Brom headed into their last game against Portsmouth rock-bottom of the table, with relegation considered to be a nailed-on certainty. However, Albion were not prepared to go down without a fight and handed themselves a lifeline as Geoff Horsfield and Kieran Richardson fired them to a 2-0 victory over their visitors. Luck was shining on the Baggies as results elsewhere went their way, allowing them to scrape out of the bottom three and complete a remarkable escape, becoming the first side in the Premier League era to avoid the drop having been bottom at Christmas.
Lasagne-gate - 2006
While the majority of final-day drama centres around the title race and relegation, the memorable 'Lasagne-gate' incident saw the battle for the top four take centre stage as Arsenal edged out Tottenham. Spurs had all but guaranteed themselves a UEFA Champions League spot and just needed to equal the Gunners' result when playing away at West Ham. However, several of the players were struck down by a virus, which the club blamed on some dodgy lasagne consumed at the Marriott hotel in Canary Wharf the night before. Spurs lost 2-1 to the Hammers and Arsenal said goodbye to their long-time home of Highbury by securing a spot in Europe.
West Ham - 2007
Sheffield United needed only a draw to stay up on the final day, while opponents Wigan had to win. Fellow relegation candidates West Ham faced a daunting task as they headed to newly-crowned champions Manchester United but were saved by Carlos Tevez, who netted the only goal of the game and caught Sir Alex Ferguson's eye in the process. The Blades slipped up against the Latics at Bramall Lane and saw their short spell in the Premier League brought to an abrupt end. That was not the end of the matter, however, as the Hammers became involved in a lengthy, costly legal battle with the Blades over Tevez's apparent ineligibility.
Relegation scrap - 2011
The tightest relegation battle in Premier League history occurred last season, with five teams all in contention to go down on the final day of the campaign. With the title already decided, all attention was turned to the basement of the table as Blackburn, Wolves, Birmingham, Blackpool and Wigan fought to avoid joining already-relegated West Ham in the Championship. The relegation picture changed continuously over the course of a tense final Sunday as the teams in danger battled it out, with Blackpool and Birmingham both falling just a point short of survival after defeats by Manchester United and Tottenham respectively, while Wolves narrowly avoided the drop despite defeat against Blackburn and Wigan beat Stoke to secure their status for another year.
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