Over the past decade or two, there’s a reason why the Premier League has been considered as one of the best or if not the best league in the world. The Premier League, over the years, has been host to some of the most decorated clubs in European history with an array of talent plus the traditional attributes of power and pace that form the unique Premier League style. The bottom line is that the Premier League has all the best football has to offer: skill, strength, drama and hectic, end-to-end action. But what makes the Premier League so unique is its sheer competitiveness and its unpredictability especially when it all boils down to the final day of the season. The final days of the Premier League over the years has seen a fair deal of drama cultivating to some extraordinary moments of entertainment and excitement for both the fans and the neutrals.
The bottom line is that the Premier League has all the best football has to offer: skill, strength, drama and hectic, end-to-end action. But what makes the Premier League so unique is its sheer competitiveness and its unpredictability especially when it all boils down to the final day of the season. The final days of the Premier League over the years has seen a fair deal of drama cultivating to some extraordinary moments of entertainment and excitement for both the fans and the neutrals.
As the Premier League season comes to a close this weekend we take a look at what makes the final day of the Premier League so special with some of the best moments the league has given us in its penultimate days.
CONTROVERSY AND CHAOS
When Alan Curbishley joined West Ham United, they were on the brink of relegation in 2006-07. Curbishley though, miraculously led West Ham to seven wins out of their last nine games, beating the likes of Blackburn Rovers, Everton, Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic, Arsenal, Middlesbrough. The final day saw the prospect of them needing nothing less three points at Old Trafford against a fearsome Manchester United side. Carlos Tevez scored the only goal in a 1-0 kept West Ham United up. There was
Carlos Tevez curled in a glorious free-kick to keep West Ham United up single-handedly. There was a lot of controversy in Carlos Tevez’s signing as West Ham had breached third-party ownership rules. West Ham had to pay a huge compensation to Sheffield United with the Hammers seeing no points deduction.
Sheffield United could still have kept themselves up by avoiding defeat in an effective relegation play-off with Wigan Athletic. But to the dismay of the Blades fans, David Unsworth scored the penalty for Wigan in a 2-1 win at the same time when Carlos Tevez struck the winner at Old Trafford eventually sending Sheffield United down.
MISCOMMUNICATION AND FARCE
The last day of the 1995-96 relegation battle will always be remembered for Manchester City’s antics as they kept the ball in the corner at the end of a 2-2 draw against Liverpool despite the fact they still needed a goal to stay up. What made the situation worse for the Citizens is that the players had evidently been misinformed about events elsewhere. With 20 minutes to go City looked doomed.
Then Uwe Rosler struck from a penalty to give them hope and a few minutes later Kit Symons equalised. The fans were crying out for a winner, but suddenly their team went into safety first mode, holding the ball up near one of the corner flags. Wrong information had been relayed from the other grounds and it was passed on to the players. They were told that a point would be enough.
It wasn’t as Wimbledon, Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry and Southampton all drew leaving City relegated.
BOTTLING AND FAILURES
Manchester United and Liverpool at the time were not only the fiercest rivals but were always clashing in terms of the Premier League summit. Enter Blackburn Rovers, a new entrant that made its mark amongst the elite. In the 95 campaign, Sir Alex had earlier in the season predicted that Dalglish’s Blackburn Rovers would bottle it in the Premier League run-in. It looked like they would after losing 2-1 to Liverpool, Dalglish’s former side. United, however, couldn’t live up to their end of the bargain after drawing 1-1 at West Ham United having earlier gone behind themselves.
United set up the kind of intense siege that the Premier League has never seen but they just couldn’t beat West Ham on the given day even after having a remarkable amount of chances. Though neither Liverpool nor West Ham wasted the chance to celebrate with Blackburn at United’s expense.
NEW TRENDSETTERS AND PATH BREAKERS
In 2002/03, the fight for safety was also undecided going into the final day, as one of Bolton Wanderers and West Ham would join already relegated West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland. The teams were level on points going into the last match, but Bolton had the advantage with a superior goal difference. Goals by Per Frandsen and Jay-Jay Okocha gave the Trotters a final day win over Middlesbrough, whilst West Ham drew with Birmingham.
The results meant that the Hammers went down with 42 points – the highest total for a relegated team in Premier League history. It was the first of Allardyce’s survivals who later became a relegation specialist with many clubs and still is one. Robbie Savage’s misdemeanours made the image of the day after he was clicked goading West Ham’s Rufus Brevett.
The battle for the fourth UEFA Champions League spot was decided by a final day showdown between Chelsea and Liverpool, who were level on points going into the match. Jesper Gronkjaer’s long-range strike earned Chelsea a 2-1 win, and a takeover from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich followed that summer. The rest, as they say, is history.
Here’s how your #PLFinale is shaping up…
DRAMA AND HEARTBREAKS
This ranks as perhaps the best conclusion and end to a Premier League season ever as the title chase came down to the wire for both the Manchester clubs in 2011-12. Just as City thought they were finished and left to lament the same old feelings after QPR took a 2-1 lead at the Etihad. With United having a slender 1-0 lead at Sunderland, it looked that United would eventually defend their crown once again. Edin Dzeko equalized for the Citizens on the stroke of 90 mins before Sergio Aguero scored in the 94th minute to turn the tide at the Etihad causing an uproar in the blue half of Manchester.
Sir Alex who was almost in celebratory mode jolted into the dressing room in shock after the news reached the Stadium of Light that saw the Sunderland fans celebrate much to United’s expense. 10-man QPR still stayed up due to the fact Bolton Wanderers could only draw 2-2 at Stoke City and Joey Barton was eventually forgiven for a stupid red card that nearly sealed QPR’s fate.