Article by Jack Gill (@JackLFCGill)
Keep Shitting Your Pants!
Whilst we are currently all invested in a title race involving Liverpool that is becoming more and more nail-biting day by day and my pants are getting browner and browner, it’s not always been that way. Look at last year for example, City broke numerous records and quite simply romped it without a challenger in sight.
I’ve decided (Because Paul told Ross to tell me) to look into the Premier League’s recent history of title races or romps and pick out the best seasons. There’s a lot about history that people remember massively, but also a lot that’s easily forgotten. A simple one is Arsenal and their ‘invincibles’ season. Of course, it is an incredible achievement to not lose throughout a 38 game season but they drew 12 games!! 12 games is a massive amount of games to draw and some may argue that Man City’s season last year, where they broke the record for most points in a 38 game Premier League season was better. Another thing that people seem to be forgetting is the fact that during this season we, at this point, have only lost one league game with 6 games remaining (TOUCH WOOD, and believe me, I am clinging on to this desk with dear life)!!!
My job is to refresh your mind and give you a friendly reminder that whilst it is good to be in cruise control and win a title with ease, it isn’t always that easy and it is completely normal for a couple of teams to have supporters with brown pants and no nails at this stage of a Premier League season.
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2009-2010 Premier League season: Winners – Chelsea
In this season, the title was won by a mere point and I’m pretty sure both Chelsea and United fans (whilst most of them plastic, so would’ve supported whoever won the league that year anyway), were all creating the same brown stains that most of us are this season.
Going into the season, United were after their fourth consecutive Premier league title under Sir Alex Ferguson but had just lost Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez to rivals Manchester City.
Chelsea set the pace of the title race early on winning their first six matches of the season under the guidance of the newly appointed successful Italian Carlo Ancelotti. Manchester City and Tottenham started well both with 4 wins from their opening 6 whilst Alex Ferguson’s side were shocked by newly promoted Burnley who beat United 1-0 at Turf Moor in their home game of the season.
Man City quickly dropped out of the title race after losing a 4-3 thriller against Manchester United and was followed by a run of 7 consecutive draws that saw Mark Hughes replaced by Roberto Mancini.
The 2009/10 season was also peak Aston Villa where they were pushing for a top 4 spot and martin O’Neill’s side took points from Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool that season.
At the turn of the year, Chelsea were leading the race for the title though it was far from over yet and both Arsenal and Manchester United would see themselves top of the league at times before the end of the season. Arsenal found themselves top after a spell of 6 consecutive wins inspired by slick Spaniard Cesc Fabregas who was on brilliant form before being leapfrogged by Man United and slowly fading away with just seven points from their final six matches.
On April 3rd Chelsea regain top spot after crucially beating United 2-1 at Old Trafford. Joe Cole and Didier Drogba being the men who swung the title charge Chelsea’s way.
Chelsea went into the final day, Wigan at Stamford Bridge, which is a much easier fixture than Wolves at Anfield may I add, knowing that equalling or bettering Man United’s result would see them winning the league. Chelsea won the League ending United’s dominance and in some style as they cruised past Wigan 8-0.
I’d take that on the final day to beat City to the title, wouldn’t you?
As for what happened to us this season, well it wasn’t a good one for Rafael Benitez who’s reign at the club came to an end at the end of the season after a seventh place finish in the league and an unfortunate defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final.
See, it’s normal to be having an irregular heartbeat at this stage of the season, completely normal…
Now it’s time for what is definitely the most exciting title race in premier League history. Well at least so far…
2011-2012 Premier League Season: Winners – Manchester City
This season was brilliant for the neutral, phenomenal for Manchester City fans and horrible for United fans (HAHA who gives a fuck). If crying United fans is your cup of tea, like it certainly is mine, you’d have enjoyed the latter stages of this season where we saw many of them on our TV screens.
Like this season, it was a two horse race throughout. Both Man United and Man City won their opening four games of the season and that set the tone for the most exhilarating title race in the history of the Premier League (so far)!
Roberto Mancini’s Man City were the one’s really impressing though and took an early lead in the title race dropping just four points in their opening fourteen fixtures scoring 48 goals in the process. Their first loss of the season followed though as they were defeated by Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge in the middle of December which allowed Manchester United to go level on points with them at Christmas.
United’s only defeat before Christmas was the 6-1 hammering handed to them by Manchester City and it was really proving to be a two horse race between the two Manchester sides.
Tottenham were pushing all they could and were the only team showing any sign of catching up either of the Manchester clubs but a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Man City at the end of January effectively ruled them out the title race completely.
United went on to open an eight-point gap at the top of the table after an eight match win streak but Man City were back in the race after two defeats for United, one of which against City and a high scoring 4-4 draw against Everton which saw the race go down to the final day.
Going into the last fixture of the season where Man City would face QPR at the Etihad whilst United faced Sunderland at the stadium of Light, City were top of the table on goal difference and knew that all they needed to do was Match Man United’s result in Tyneside to win their first Premier League title.
When United’s game finished at the stadium of Light, they thought Wayne Rooney’s goal was enough to win them the league as their match ended 1-0 whilst City were losing 2-1 after Pablo Zabaleta’s opener was cancelled out by goals from Jamie Mackie and former Red Djibril Cisse.
But, it was far from over.
A bizarre sending off for Joey Barton, where the lad clearly thought he was competing in a combat sport instead gave City hope and an Edin Dzeko equaliser in the 92nd minute of the game made things interesting as time continued to tick and United continued to celebrate as if they’d already won the league
Martin Tyler’s ‘Aguerogasm’ as I call it, will be remembered by football fans for a very long time and epitomises the entertainment factor of the game. Whilst moments like that may never happen again, with ‘luck’ (as rival fans like to call it, I’d personally call it fate), going our way at times this season, many would agree that this would be the perfect way to win the league this season.
All I know is that if Liverpool won the league in that manner this season, I’d have probably already died of a heart attack and all my hair will have been pulled out and it would get celebrated a lot better than City did. I’m talking people being thrown 16 rows forward in the Kop, that sort of celebration…
Again, I’d rather not talk about where we finished that season.
2013/14 Premier League Season: Winners – Manchester City
I don’t want to talk about this, but I have to. I honestly do not mind if you skip this part of the article, as it hurt me writing it, so it may hurt reading it.
The first Premier League season without Alex Ferguson and instead it was David Moyes at the helm at Manchester United and as we know, that was the start of them going tits up so cheers for that Mr Moyes! Their neighbours Manchester City also had a new manager, Chilean Manuel Pellegrini whilst Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge.
The league leaders changed hands a lot during the 13/14 season, TWENTY-FIVE times to be exact. It was an interesting season to say the least and the luck certainly went City’s way. The title, European places and relegation spots were all to play for going into the penultimate week of the campaign.
Arsenal started the season better off and despite losing their opening game against Aston Villa the Gunners went on to win 11 out of their next 13 games and sat at the top of the league. A 6-3 loss against Manchester City however was enough for Arsene Wenger’s side to drop below the Citizens and saw Manuel Pellegrini’s City leapfrog Arsenal into first. Despite this, Arsenal regained their form and were top of the league heading into 2014.
In February, the Gunners were knocked off top spot after being hammered 5-1 by Liverpool, who then went on a brilliant eleven match win streak and beat both the Manchester sides in that period. As a 13 year old Liverpool supporter at the time, that Phillipe Coutinho goal alone and seeing Gerrard beginning to believe that this was the year was enough to convince me that the title was ours. Though Stevie reminded me that we had ‘4 more cup finals’, it wasn’t enough to calm young Jack down as I was confident in the team and confident that no one could stop SAS. Whilst Suarez and Sturridge had a superb season scoring goals, there were elements of our side that would come back and bite us on the arse in the end.
Firstly, bad luck.
I don’t want to relive this moment, but this moment is EXACTLY why no rival fan can moan about Liverpool fans making the most of it IF we win the league this year. Mourinho came to Anfield and parked not one but two buses. Look, I’ll be honest, Brendan gave us a terrific season that season but he had no idea what to do during this game and an unfortunate slip form Steven Gerrard allowed Demba Ba to put Chelsea ahead and Willian doubled Chelsea’s advantage right at the end of the game on the counter-attack denting our title hopes.
Heartbreaking but that wasn’t the end.
I’d mentioned that there were FACTORS that allowed City to beat us to the league that year and I’ve already mentioned the bad luck within Gerrard’s slip and the inexperience not just shown by Brendan Rodgers but by the whole squad, but another huge factor was how many goals we leaked.
Cue Palace away…
The Reds surged ahead through a Joe Allen goal in the first half and were 3-0 up before the hour mark due to goals from Suarez and a Damien Delaney own goal meant we were cruising with half an hour to play at Selhurst Park. Then, Brendan Rodgers decided that we could use this as an opportunity to get our goal difference up and despite being 3-0up, we continued to go gung-ho and look for more.
Cue The Simpsons’ Darryl Strawberry. – Google it.
If you’re unaware of the Simpsons, you’ll have no idea the joke I just made, but yeah, Dwight Gayle looks like their cartoon version of Darryl Strawberry (seriously, Google it)! It was Gayle who broke my little 13-year-old heart by scoring a hat-trick as somehow Crystal Palace managed to peg it back to 3-3, meaning that if City won their remaining two games against Aston Villa and West Ham, they’d win the league, which of course, they did.
What is even more frustrating is that City were only top of the league for just FIFTEEN days throughout the season and still managed to win the league, the ending to that season was absolutely sickening for us Reds!
Anyway, moving swiftly on and now it’s time for a fairy-tale…
2015/16 Premier League Season: Winners – Leicester City
Ahead of the 2015/16 season, Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City were 5000/1 to win the Premier League and pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the history of football, ever, by defying the bookmaker’s odds and winning the Premier League.
Granted, Leicester weren’t just very good that year, the usual so-called ‘Top 6’ were very poor, however, still an incredible and unbelievable achievement for Leicester City.
A lot was expected from holders Chelsea ahead of the season but Jose Mourinho’s third season syndrome happened again and they found themselves hovering above the relegation zone in September after defeats to Everton, Crystal Palace and Manchester City.
Pellegrini’s City side started off well, winning their opening five fixtures but began to falter when they suffered a heavy, 4-1 defeat against Tottenham at White Hart Lane whilst on the same day, Leicester’s unbeaten start was halted by Arsenal who beat The Foxes 5-2.
Leicester recovered though, inspired by the brilliance of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, who went on an 11 game run of scoring, a new Premier League record! Summer signings Christian Fuchs and in particular N’golo Kante were producing constant stand-out performances.
A 2-1 win against Chelsea meant that Leicester were top after 16 games whilst the holders saw themselves in 16th and Mourinho was starting to get a bit ‘aggy’ with reporters and was eventually relieved of his duties.
Arsenal then beat both Manchester clubs to be top of the league at the turn of the year but it didn’t last long as Leicester would soon regain top spot and not relinquish for the rest of the season.
The Foxes strengthened their grip at the top of the league with wins against Liverpool and Man City and whilst football fans were convinced Leicester would drop off at some point they continued to defy belief and it was the other more experienced teams around them that were dropping points.
In fact, Arsenal were the only team to do the double over Leicester that season and Leicester’s defeat to Arsenal in February was the last time Leicester would taste defeat during their title winning season.
Arsenal were soon out the running after back-to-back defeats against United and Swansea and people were still suggesting Leicester would slip-up, with Tottenham looking the only team likely to prevent them from winning the title.
Leicester were growing stronger in the home straight and six wins in seven matches left them knowing that if they won against Man United they’d win the league. They drew 1-1 but due to Tottenham losing against Chelsea the next day, they were confirmed as Premier League Champions.
Spurs went winless in their final four matches meaning North London rivals Arsenal beat them to second place and Leicester eventually won the league by 10 points.
If Wes Morgan and Robert Huth can win the title as centre-back partners, why can’t Jordan Henderson lift the Premier League trophy in May?
2017-18 Premier League Season: Winners – Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in 17/18, wow. Did they have any challengers for the title? No, not really. Did they break records? Yes. Did they romp the league? Absolutely.
In 2017/18, Pep Guardiola led Manchester City to their third Premier League title and in some style as they became the first Premier League side ever to hit 100 points and in the process scored 103 goals, recorded a goal difference of +79 and won 32 times in 38 games, all of which were new Premier League records.
The eventual Champions opened the campaign with a 2-0 win against Brighton but dropped points the week after in a draw with Everton where Raheem Sterling cancelled out Wayne Rooney’s opener and both teams were reduced to ten men.
After this though, you’d have to wait till the last day of 2017 for City to drop points again with City going on an 18 match win-streak before their goalless draw with Crystal Palace on 31st December 2017.
Antonio Conte’s Chelsea were City’s closest challengers at the start of 2018 but defeats against Bournemouth and Watford led to them losing ground.
The race for the Golden Boot was interesting throughout the season particularly between Harry Kane and Mo Salah, Salah eventually being crowned Golden Boot Winner at the end of an impressive debut season at Liverpool for the Egyptian.
There were suggestions circulating the media that Man City could emulate Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ season but they were thwarted when we got our revenge over them for the 5-0 hammering at the Etihad early on in the season and beat them 4-3 at Anfield in a thrilling game that would be one of the best games of the season.
City bounced back from the defeat though and won seven out of their next eight matches after their defeat at Anfield only dropping points in a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor in that run.
This meant that The Citizens (What a shit nickname by the way) would win the league with six games to go with a win against United at the Etihad at the start of April.
They started the game well too, racing to a 2-0 lead after just half an hour and some were left thinking that it could be an embarrassment for United, who would eventually finish second, behind their rivals. With City leading 2-0 at the break it looked certain the title would be theirs by the end of the second half but the game was far from over. Paul Pogba scored twice and inspired a 13 minute comeback as Chris Smalling put The Red Devils 3-2 up.
Man United held on and became the second side to beat Manchester City in the Premier League in the 2017/18 season.
However, Man United only delayed their rivals from winning the title by eight days as City beat Tottenham 3-1 at Wembley whilst United lost to Darren Moore’s West Brom.
Having lifted the title, a Gabriel Jesus stoppage time winner at St. Mary’s on the final day allowed City to reach a century of points in a single season.
As far as our season went, it was pretty good. Our front three were in class form, we’d signed the best centre back in world football finished in the Top 4 meaning Klopp had guided us to back-to-back Top 4 finishes for the first time since 2007-2009, boss. Oh, and we got to a Champions League final…
So, there you have it. Not all of us can get a mega rich fella from the Middle East to buy our club and spend about £1billion before hiring some bald fella who is a pretty good manager and it pay off in such a way as it did for City in 2017/18 and I can promise you that there’s a long way to go in this season’s title race.
One thing IS for sure though. Whilst supporters of clubs from the rest of the league continue to say that they hope we don’t win the league this season, they should be thanking us, cause we are the only team anywhere near City’s level.
There’s no doubting City’s brilliance, but this Liverpool side is arguably one of the greatest of all time, certainly of my lifetime and deserve something from this season.
Since the introduction of the Premier League in the early 90’s, the league has given everything. We’ve seen an ’Invincible’ season, periods of dominance by certain clubs, the ‘Aguero moment’, fairytales like Blackburn and Leicester, Iago Aspas’ corners, a team reaching 100 points. Everything but Liverpool winning the title… surely its only a matter of time?
We’re not the only team that’s been shitting ourselves at the stage of the season, we aren’t even the only ones shitting ourselves this season. Pep can’t even go to sleep at night because of us (does explain the baldness as well). It’s also important to remember that this time last year, City could’ve clenched the title in their next game of the season and their current side won’t be used to having a team actually challenging them.
There also the factor that City still have the chance to win the quadruple (which is insane) that could cause them to slip up in the race for the Premier league title, however, their draws in the FA Cup and League Cup have definitely been favourable this season and their squad is insane due to the fact that they have ‘deep pockets’ and constantly have their hand in them. They do have a difficult run of games coming up though, an FA Cup semi-final, playing Tottenham three times and a Manchester Derby before a trip to relegation-battling Burnley takes up the rest of their April. Whilst we face Southampton, Porto (Home and Away), Cardiff and Chelsea. Which should be a piece of piss, right?
Whatever happens within the next few weeks, I can assure you that I will stain a lot of different boxer shorts, have many near heart-attacks, have probably no hair and nails left, and be an absolute wreck. But every time I see a pair of Magpies, I start to dream a bit more that the reds will be lifting the Premier League trophy at Anfield on 12th May.
Article by Jack Gill (@JackLFCGill)