The beginning of the 2017-2018 Premier League season is a good opportunity to reminisce and look back at some of the greatest moments of the last 25 seasons.
Eric Cantona is probably the most meaningful figure in the first few seasons of the Premier League, as his transfer from Leeds to Manchester United helped change the course of history, leading the Red Devils to the title in 1993, their first in 26 years. He would go on to score 64 goals for Manchester United, helping them to 4 championships before his stunning retirement.
Andy Cole was the top Premier League scorer in 1993-1994 with 34 goals, winning the PFA young player of the year and helping newly promoted Newcastle to a 3rd place finish. A year later he became the most expensive British transfer (£7 million), joining Manchester United. He helped United win 5 league titles.
After coming close in previous seasons, Blackburn managed to stop Manchester United and win the 1994-1995 Premier League title, the club’s first championship since 1915. Kenny Dalglish managed them, but Alan Shearer with 34 league goals, helped by Chris Sutton scoring 15 (helping form the S.O.S striking duo) are what most people remember from this season.
Beating Newcastle by 4 points to win their third championship in four years, Manchester United have Eric Cantona and his incredible run of goals in March and April, scoring six consecutive times to take the top spot in the table, including a 52nd minute goal on the team’s visit to St. James’ Park, narrowly escaping with a 1-0 win.
In the 1996-1997 season, Manchester United claimed their 4th championship in 5 years, but the most memorable match of that season was the Red Devils awful visit to St. James Park, losing 5-0 early in the season. Newcastle once again finished 2nd in the table, and things slowly went downhill for them from there.
Arsenal, led by Arsene Wenger from the sidelines and the trio of Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars on the pitch, won the league title for the first time since 1991. Their biggest win came during a rough stretch early in the season – a dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester United at Highbury, with David Platt heading it in with 7 minutes to go to seal the deal.
Manchester United’s 1998-1999 treble season included winning the league by just 1 point over Arsenal. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole combined for 35 league goals up front, while Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer helped out immensely, especially in that final against Bayern Munich.
David Beckham scored 6 league goals for Manchester United as they won the league title for the 6th time since the EPL’s inception. He finished with 6 championship medals for the club, 62 league goals and 3 time assists leader before being chucked out by Alex Ferguson.
Manchester United won the title for the 3rd time in a row, once again by double digit points over Arsenal. They led the league from mid October until the very end, which included a 6-1 destruction of Arsenal, with Dwight Yorke scoring a hat trick.
Arsenal finished ahead of Liverpool by 7 points to win their 2nd league title with Arsene Wenger. Thierry Henry was the best player in the land, finishing with 24 goals to lead the gunners, who went undefeated in their final 21 matches of the season, winning 13 in a row to close it out.
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 25 goals for Manchester United, helping the club regain its status as the best in England thanks to an 18-match undefeated run at the end of the season, which included a 4-0 win over Liverpool and 6-2 victory away against Newcastle. This was van Nistelrooy’s only league title with the club, scoring 95 goals in 5 seasons.
Arsenal won the league again (and for the last time so far) in 2003-2004, finishing the season undefeated, only the second club in English top flight history to do so. Thierry Henry scored 30 goals, aided by the wonderful Robert Pires who scored 14 goals. Henry scored 174 goals in 254 matches for Arsenal during his Premier League tenure with the club.
A year after Roman Abramovich started pouring enormous amounts of money into Chelsea, he started seeing trophies. Jose Mourinho arrived and transformed the league, finishing 12 points clear to lead the Blues to their first league title since 1955 and only their second at the time. Frank Lampard, with 13 league goals, netted a brace in their title clincher against Bolton. Lampard won 3 championships with Chelsea and scored 146 league goals for the club.
Chelsea winning back-to-back titles was quite impressive, finishing with 91 points in the 2005-2006 season, conceding only 22 goals along the way. Lampard was once again their top scorer with 16 goals, while Jose Mourinho established himself as the best manager in England, at least for a short while.
In 2006-2007 the internships of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo ended, while Alex Ferguson finished building one of the best defenses the league has ever seen. Ronaldo scored 17 goals, on his way to becoming the best player in the world, while United won their 9th league title under Alex Ferguson.
In 2007-2008, Ronaldo reached his peak, at least in England, scoring 31 league goals on his way to every possible award, while helping United to their 10th title since the Premier League began, narrowly edging Chelsea, finishing only 2 points ahead, as Avram Grant helped steer the ship after Jose Mourinho was fired early in the season.
Manchester United completed a three peat for the second time to match their overall championship count with Liverpool’s, but perhaps the season’s most famous moment was the Reds (in grey) winning at Old Trafford 4-1. Liverpool finished 2nd that season, one of only three 2nd place finishes for them since the switch to the Premier League.
Chelsea won the league title under Carlo Ancelotti, finishing just 1 point ahead of Manchester United. On the final day of the season, they won 8-0 against Wigan, who also lost 9-1 earlier in the season to Tottenham. They conceded 79 goals that season, but weren’t relegated. Chelsea’s 103 goals were a new record.
Manchester United won their 19th league title, becoming the all-time leaders, finishing 9 points clear of Chelsea and Manchester City. Dimitar Berbatov was co-top scorer with Carlos Tevez, scoring 20 goals, including a hat trick in an early season win against Liverpool, 3-2. In the second match between the teams Dirk Kuyt scored a hat trick for the reds in a fiery 3-1 victory.
Manchester City finished 2012 with a championship, winning against QPR in injury time to claim the title. But earlier in the season, not too long after Manchester United thrashed Arsenal 8-2, came on of the most shocking matches in Premier League history, as Roberto Mancini’s players produced perhaps their most clinical performance during his tenure, winning against the defending champions 6-1 at Old Trafford.
Alex Ferguson’s last season ended with the club’s 13 premier league title, 20th championship and their last one to date. Robin van Persie had a terrific first season after joining from Arsenal, scoring a league-best 26 goals, finishing the season 11 points clear of Manchester City.
Manchester City won the championship for the second time in three years, fending off challenges from Liverpool and Chelsea. The reds beat City in a massive 3-2 victory to claim the table lead, but their home defeat against Chelsea, famously remembered for Steven Gerrard slipping and losing possession to give up the opening goal, remains the most memorable moment of the season.
Jose Mourinho won his his third league title in England 10 years after winning his first, leading Chelsea to an 8-point finish ahead of Manchester City. Diego Costa annoyed opposition but mostly scored, Cesc Fabregas finally won a championship with a London club and it seemed, for a moment, that Mourinho was finally starting to establish a dynasty.
Mourinho and Chelsea had a horrible start. Mourinho didn’t finish the season for the second time at Chelsea. Meanwhile, at the top, Leicester City stunned the world by running the table and winning the championship, with Claudio Ranieri pulling the strings, Jamie Vardy scoring the goals, Riyad Mahrez providing flair and N’Golo Kante doing all the hard work, in a once-in-a-lifetime kind of season.
Antonio Conte took over Chelsea and after a terrible start which included losses to Liverpool and Arsenal, he made tactical changes that took the league by storm, with a run of 13 consecutive wins (including 4-0 over Mourinho’s Manchester United, 5-0 over Everton and 3-1 at Manchester City) that left no doubt as to who is the best team in the UK.
For the final picture, we choose Stan Collymore’s late winner for Liverpool against Newcastle in 1996; a 4-3 win that helped Manchester United win the championship, and to date remains the popular choice for best Premier League match ever.