Wednesday, April 17

Before Manchester City v Liverpool, six other key games in title races | premier league


Manchester United 1 Manchester City 3

March 27, 1968
Manchester City (without a league title since 1937) played away at Manchester United (without a league title since 1967) sitting two points behind both their local rivals and Leeds United. With only two points awarded for a win, they could not afford to lose, something that seemed likely when George Best put the home side ahead inside 60 seconds. But City dominated thereafter, with Colin Bell, George Heslop and Francis Lee all scoring. The win inspired City to the title – though they were scooped two weeks later, when United became the first English team to win the European Cup. HD

Aston Villa 1 Ipswich 2

April 14, 1981
Long before he became TalkSport’s bon vivaur, Alan Brazil was a zippy striker for Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town. On a Tuesday evening at Villa Park his goal from him set Ipswich on their way. Brazil’s strike, following a mistake from Villa defender Ken McNaught, was followed by Paul Mariner sending Eric Gates away to score the second. Gary Shaw scored Villa’s late consolation with five minutes to play and Ipswich had an advantage they celebrated raucously in the away dressing room. Defeats to Arsenal and Norwich in their next matches soon handed the reins back to Aston Villa, who became champions using just 14 players all season. JB

Fans try to get a glimpse of the action at Villa Park, where Aston Villa suffered a setback against title rivals Ipswich. Photograph: Peter Robinson/Empics Sport

Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2

May 26, 1989
“The Liverpool players are down, absolutely abject. [John] Aldridge is down, [John] barnes is down, [Kenny] Dalglish just stands there, [Steve] Nicol’s on his knees, [Steve] McMahon is on his knees.” Brian Moore, ITV’s peerless commentator, painted a picture of devastation in describing Liverpool’s reaction to Michael Thomas’s late goal at Anfield. That the game took place six weeks after the Hillsborough Disaster appears surreal now, a reminder of football’s relentless idiom that the game must always go on. George Graham, the Arsenal manager, tried briefly to stop his players celebrating too wildly, but in vain. The drama of their victory had proved overwhelming. JB

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Arsenal's Michael Thomas celebrates his title-winning goal as Steve Nicol shows his despair at Anfield.
Arsenal’s Michael Thomas celebrates his title-winning goal as Steve Nicol shows his despair at Anfield. Photograph: Colorsport/Shutterstock

Arsenal 2 Manchester United 2

April 16, 2003
One of English football’s greatest rivalries was at its zenith – Arsenal had confirmed the previous year’s title at Old Trafford and looked certainties to retain it for most of the following season. But Manchester United reeled them in and were three points in front when the teams met at Highbury. Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring but two Thierry Henry goals put Arsenal ahead, only for Ryan Giggs to equalize seconds after the Frenchman’s second. On the touchline, Arsène Wenger was furious, while at full time Sir Alex Ferguson saluted the away end as though his team had won, because he knew that, ultimately, they had. HD

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson triumphantly struts across the Highbury pitch after the final whistle.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson triumphantly struts across the Highbury pitch after the final whistle. Photograph: Andrew Cowie/Shutterstock

Manchester City 1 Manchester United 0

30 April 2012
For Sergio Agüero’s 93.20 strike against Queens Park Rangers to happen, Manchester City first needed to wrest control of the title race from United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, eight points ahead three weeks previously, were flagging, and he would admit mistakes with his team selection. Park Ji-sung was asked to do the running for Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs in midfield but his own engine sputtered as Yaya Touré, Gareth Barry and David Silva ran the old guard ragged. A crashing header on half-time from Vincent Kompany powered City to the top and towards a title they would win amid historic chaos. JB

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Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1

3 January 2019
It feels strange to call a game played on 3 January a title decider, but no more so than Liverpool winning 13 and drawing four of their last 17 to finish on 97 points … and in second place. When they traveled to the Etihad for the now traditional New Year’s Day fixture played not on New Year’s Day, they led Manchester City by seven. But, though Roberto Firmino canceled out Sergio Agüero’s opener, Leroy Sané’s goal settled one of the finest games ever played in England. City went on to win 16 from 17 to take the title by a point. HD


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