Generally, the Premier League title is decided over the course of the season. With each team playing 38 games you can be assured that the team at the top is deservingly heralded as the best in England. Yet often there are decisive fixtures that prove to be critical in determining which club gets to hold the Premier League trophy aloft at the end of the season.
With Liverpool hosting Chelsea at the start of February, this could be the fixture that once again decides the fate of the Premier League trophy and fans procuring Anfield tickets from Ticketgum might be about to witness the decisive game of the 2016/17 season. Here we relive their ’13/14 game and look at some other humdingers that have determined who can call themselves Premier League champions.
Liverpool v Chelsea 2013/14
Back in April 2014, Liverpool were on a run with eleven consecutive wins and entered the game against Chelsea looking to take three points and edge a step closer to ending their 24-year wait for a league title. Chelsea were still in title contention and manager Jose Mourinho would have been hopeful of getting the better of his former Chelsea youth team coach Brendan Rodgers. Mourinho has a habit of ‘parking the bus’ when his teams meet quality opposition and he did the same at Anfield with ten players camped within their own half and a number of negative time-wasting techniques employed to prevent Liverpool from finding their stride. In the end, it was The Kop’s favourite son that made the significant error and presented Chelsea with the chance they yearned for when Steven Gerrard slipped to allow Demba Ba a clear run at the Liverpool goal. A goal to the good, Chelsea were happy to continue their game plan and with Gerrard seemingly struggling to clear his head of the ramifications of his error, he attempted too many ‘Hollywood passes’ and long shots that played into Chelsea’s hands. Although Mourinho often receives criticism for his negative football, this was a masterclass in defending that repelled everything that Liverpool and top scorer Luis Suarez could throw at them and sought to strike on the break with the returning Fernando Torres. It was a successful strategy as Liverpool desperately tried to find an equaliser they become increasingly exposed at the back and eventually allowed Torres to break and find Willian, who was able to slip the ball into an empty net and confirm the three points were going to Chelsea.
It was the game that decided the title that season and will likely haunt Gerrard for the rest of his life, but there have been some other title-deciding games in the past.
Newcastle United v Manchester United 1995/6
Newcastle had a game in hand and were four points clear of Manchester United, but came up against Peter Schmeichel in the form of his life. The Great Dane prevented Newcastle from scoring time after time and allowed Eric Cantona the chance to strike for a 0-1 win to Alex Ferguson’s men. The result seemly took the wind out of Kevin Keegan’s side and allowed The Red Devils to march on and take the title.
Manchester United v Chelsea 2009/10
United were a solitary point clear before this fixture but by the end of ninety minutes, Chelsea were top and never looked back. Didier Drogba came off the bench to score a controversial goal that added to Joe Cole’s strike and resulted in a 1-2 win for The Blues.
Manchester City v Manchester United 2011/12
Although United were hammered by City 1-6 at Old Trafford earlier in the season there was still everything to play for as Ferguson’s team were three points clear with just two games remaining. Vincent Kompany scored the only goal of the game to take three points for City and set-up possibly the greatest finish to a Premier League season we will ever see.