Title Race: A Forgone Conclusion?

I don’t know about anyone else but this season, the title race seems to have come out of nowhere. I mean, one minute we’re trailing behind both Utd and Arsenal and the next, Wenger’s little ‘uns have decided they don’t want to play with the big boys anymore and we find ourselves neck and neck with ‘the best side’ Fergie’s ever coached. A bit daunting for Chelsea then, that Utd already have the upper hand not only because they’ve got a far superior goal difference, but also because battling it out on the final day isn’t entirely new to them.

On the final day of the 1994-95 season, I remember going down the motorway, listening to some commentator coming close to a coronary on air as Blackburn took the title from under Utd’s noses despite losing on the day to Liverpool, courtesy of a Utd draw at Upton Park failing to make up a 2-point deficit.

The 1995-96 season saw the almost sectionable Keegan pleading for Boro to take 3 points off Utd, while Newcastle needed to win at home to Spurs. Sadly for Keegan, Utd cruised to a 3-0 win while Newcastle scraped a draw, leaving Utd celebrating with champagne while he helped himself to a large slice of humble pie.

Final day of the 1998-99 season and surprise, surprise, it’s Utd battling it out again – this time with a one-point lead over Arsenal. Both teams were at home, with Arsenal playing Villa and Utd against Spurs. I remember watching the Arsenal supporters’ celebrate when news of a Les Ferdinand goal filtered through, then looking at a very different crowd once Utd had taken the lead and the title – laughed my arse off to be honest.

So the last two times the title has gone down to the final day, it’s been Utd who’ve won it. This time, 3 points away at Wigan would guarantee Utd the title unless Bolton are still prostrate after their celebrations earlier this week – allowing us to score 18 more goals than Utd do, of course.

So, given their advantages, is their 10th title a forgone conclusion?


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