Top 10 run-in moments in Premier League title race history has obvious No. 1

Jason Soutar
Premier League title race moments include Sergio Aguero's last-minute goal, Sylvian Wiltord's goal at Old Trafford and 1995 final day
Premier League title race moments include Sergio Aguero's last-minute goal, Sylvian Wiltord's goal at Old Trafford and 1995 final day

The 2023/24 Premier League title race is bound to go down to the wire with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City all aware that there is no margin for error between now and the end of the season.

With this year likely to give us a historic moment or two, potentially even on the final day, we have ranked the top 10 moments to happen in title race run-in history. There is an obvious winner. You know it already.


10) Man City comeback vs Aston Villa (2022)
Liverpool have been so strong during Manchester City’s period of dominance that a couple of Pep Guardiola’s title wins went all the way to the last day of the season, most notably when they toppled their rivals despite the Reds having 97 points in 2019. No runner-up will ever accumulate that amount of points again.

While Manchester City’s titles seem to have less significance than others on social media, it would feel wrong not to include any of their triumphs over Liverpool in this top 10. The aforementioned 2018/19 season flirted with last-day drama when City fell behind at Brighton but they were down for a single minute and in front before half-time. The final day of the 22/23 campaign had the drama we craved when Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa were leading 2-0 at the Etihad. What a narrative.

But in classic Gerrard in the Premier League fashion, his players threw away that lead and City retained the title. Ilkay Gundogan inspired a second-half comeback with his brace, with all of City’s goals coming within five minutes late on. It was both dramatic and gut-wrenching.

What makes this day even more iconic is that Mohamed Salah thought he had won Liverpool the league with a late winner against Wolves. His celebration was made in vain as City had already taken the lead against Villa.


9) Battle of the Bridge (2016)
More hilarious and iconic than crucial in a Premier League title race, the Battle of the Bridge was absolute mayhem refereed poorly by Gladiators star and Nottingham Forest lobbyist Mark Clattenberg.

Leicester City’s historic Premier League win was a foregone conclusion so Chelsea’s comeback to draw at home to Tottenham did not have any impact on a title race that was long gone. The sheer hilarity and entertainment means Chelsea 2 Spurs 2 goes down in history.

It had everything. Managers scrapping, players trying to murder one another, a late equaliser to secure a draw from two goals down, and the Spursy narrative being in its element.

Eric Dier getting away with a ‘tackle’ so brutal that he injured himself in the process while already on a yellow card is a personal favourite. Eden Hazard’s equaliser was obviously bloody brilliant. And the fact it won Leicester an unprecedented Premier League title thanks to the result was the icing on the cake.


8) No, Vinny! No! (2019)
Manchester City have won so many Premier League titles that they were always going to have a couple of inclusions here. They might win a sixth in seven years and give us another incredible moment along the way.

The 2019 run-in was contested between two colossal winning machines, with City dropping points for the last time in January, tasting victory in their last 14 fixtures. Liverpool, meanwhile, lost once all season (against City) and won their last nine of the season. Jurgen Klopp’s side had dramatic wins against Tottenham, Newcastle United and Fulham and the closest Pep’s men came to dropping fatal points came at home to Leicester in their penultimate game of the season.

With 70 minutes played and no goals on the board, up stepped Vincent Kompany to smash one top bins from 30 yards. He had no right to score that goal and would not do it again in another 99 attempts. It was simply outrageous and proved that City’s title was meant to be.

At the end of the match, Sergio Aguero reminded Kompany that he was screaming, ‘I was telling you don’t shoot! No, Vinny! No!’ as the City skipper set himself to strike the ball into row Z. The Belgian will be happy he ignored his team-mate, who might feature later.


7) That final day (1995)
Manchester United won their fair share of titles under Sir Alex Ferguson but surrendered one on the final day of the 94/95 season, with Jack Walker’s Blackburn Rovers claiming their first and only Premier League crown.

It was the sort of day that would have social media losing their minds, with Blackburn bottling the title with a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, despite many expecting the Reds to bend over to ensure their arch-rivals did not win the league. With Rovers drawing until a last-minute Jamie Redknapp free-kick, Manchester United simply had to find a winner at West Ham – who finished 14th.

Unfortunately for Fergie and his players, they were up against prime Lev Yashin Ludek Miklosko, who did everything in his power to keep the Hammers in the match. The chaos at the Boleyn Ground on top of Blackburn winning the title despite losing at Liverpool was prime Barclays. Same again this year, please. With three teams involved, as well? Yum.


6) Wiltord winner at Old Trafford (2002)
“And Ljungberg! He’s in again! Pushed out by Barthez. WILTOOOORD!”. Iconic Premier League moments instantly become immortal when there is some superb commentary involved. How can simply shouting a player’s name be so spine-tingling? Prime Martin Tyler, man. What a joy to behold.

Arsenal’s famous win at Manchester United is one of six title deciders to be played at Old Trafford, three of which have gone in the Red Devils’ favour. This is the best of the lot, though.

United tried to batter and bruise an Arsenal side more than able to take it and Wiltord’s winner ensured the Gunners finished the season unbeaten away from home and meant they were champions with a game to spare, putting in a run Guardiola’s City would be proud of, with their final loss of the season coming in mid-December, winning their final 13 matches, keeping a silly nine clean sheets in the process.

Just like it was 22 years ago, Arsenal’s penultimate game of this season is at Old Trafford. They couldn’t, could they?

READ MORE: Arsenal’s Premier League title run-in matches ranked on slippability with Man Utd trip second…


5) Stan Collymore winner (1996)
One of the greatest matches in Premier League history defined one of the greatest title races in Premier League history. So great that this is not the only inclusion from 1996.

Newcastle went into the fixture at Anfield hoping for a positive result to keep the pressure on league leaders Manchester United, while Liverpool felt they still had something to say and knew a win was imperative.

Newcastle held a 2-1 and 3-2 lead in a match that was a perfect summary of their season as a whole, having sat top of the table for so long and holding a convincing lead over the Red Devils at Christmas time.

Les Ferdinand, David Ginola and Faustino Asprilla were on the scoresheet for the Magpies but braces from Robbie Fowler, and more famously, Stan Collymore, got the Reds over the line in a manic match – one that was named Match of the Decade in 2003 when the Premier League celebrated their 10th year of existence.

“Collymore closing innnnn,” the jubilation at Anfield, and Kevin Keegan slumped over the advertising board on the bench will never be forgotten and was a crucial moment in one hell of a bottlejob from Newcastle.

READ MORE: Top ten biggest Premier League title bottlejobs: Arsenal’s 2022/23 vintage cracks all-time rankings


4) Steve Bruce header vs Sheffield Wednesday (1993)
Manchester United’s first league title in 26 years came in 1993 and the iconic moment from that campaign came with five games to go when it looked like it was going wrong yet again for the Red Devils.

With four minutes remaining at home to Sheffield Wednesday, Steve Bruce superbly headed in from a Dennis Irwin corner to equalise before getting his second of the game after pouncing on to a deflected Gary Pallister cross in the 97th minute.

The celebrations are what makes this what it is. Brian Kidd leaping for joy and sinking to his knees while Ferguson skipped and waved his hands in the air. Goosebumps.


3) Kevin Keegan rant (1996)
Sometimes the pressure of being in a title race can get to you, and that is most certainly what happened to Mr Keegan in the 95/96 season.

Kevin Keegan gave the most iconic post-match interview of all time, which was influenced by, dare I say it, “slanderous” comments from Manchester United manager Ferguson ahead of Newcastle’s trips to Leeds United and Nottingham Forest. Fergie was the master of mind games and his intention to rattle Keegan worked a charm, even if they were “underhand” tactics.

Here is that iconic quote in full because you can not hear or read it too many times before feeling the sweet release of death:

“We have not resorted to that, but I’ll tell you, you can tell him now if you’re watching it, we’re still fighting for this title, and he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something, and… and… I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.”



2) Gerrard slips and Crystanbull (2014)
After reminiscing about the past, it is time to fast-forward closer to the present time. Well, No. 2 was somehow 10 years ago now, but feels like it happened yesterday.

As an Arsenal fan, the 13/14 campaign was a painful one after sitting top of the Premier League table for so long only to end up in a top-four scrap with Everton. This season will never be remembered for the fight for Champions League football, though. It will always be about the run-in and the apparent bottlejob from Liverpool, despite it not really being that much of a bottlejob. How they failed to win the league was incredible.

After picking up an incredible 3-2 win at home to eventual champions Manchester City, Reds captain and legend Steven Gerrard could not hide his emotions as he felt a first Premier League title was in his hands, emphasising to his team-mates in a post-match huddle that the league title must not “slip” from their grasp. Of course, Gerrard literally slipped in their next home game as Brendan Rodgers was on the wrong side of an all-time Jose Mourinho schooling.

Stoppage-time strikes in both halves succumbed the Reds to a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, who set out to defend and catch Liverpool on the break, which they did expertly. Rodgers’ pants were around his ankles when Mourinho pounded his chest towards the aware end after Willian sealed the win.

Now without Gerrard’s slip and the 2-0 defeat, what happened next would not have been possible. Which is why it is all included in one.

Liverpool went 3-0 up away to Crystal Palace and were going for the jugular, desperately looking to narrow the goal-difference gap between themselves and City. A consolation goal from the Eagles made that task a whole lot bigger and one from the hosts quickly became two, before all of a sudden it was 3-3 and Liverpool were absolutely gubbed and in tears after the full-time whistle.

Glenn Murray’s assist for Dwight Gayle’s equaliser does not get spoken about nearly enough, by the way.


1) Aguerooooooo (2012)
No other moment or match came close. Where do we even begin? What can we say that has not been said already? This is the greatest moment in Premier League history. Not just in run-in history.

Thriving thanks to their United Arab Emirates riches, Man City were chasing their first league title in 44 years, with Man Utd hoping to fend off their noisy neighbours. The title race went to the final day of the season. City had relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers at home and the Red Devils were away to Sunderland.

Ferguson’s side won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light thanks to a Wayne Rooney header and City were finding it more difficult than it really ought to be against QPR, managed by former Cityzens boss Mark Hughes. 2-1 down heading into stoppage time, tears were flowing and home fans thought they would be inferior to United again.

Edin Dzeko’s header made it level but was still not enough and in the most dramatic of season conclusions, Sergio Aguerooooooo smashed the ball past Paddy Kenny deep into injury time bringing us an all-time celebration and commentary line from Martin Tyler. Everyone not associated with Manchester United can not help but get goosebumps when they re-watch this iconic moment. As Tyler poetically put it, we will never see anything like this ever again.

Legend has it that Phil Jones is still topless in Sunderland.