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Dublin: 21°C Sunday 13 June 2021

Power ranking the Premier League seasons (21-11)

Our not entirely scientific calculation of each campaign’s merit based on entertainment value.

21. 1999/00

(Michael Owen and Liverpool supporters react as he misses a chance against Man United - Phil Noble/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

United won a sixth title in eight seasons, winning the league by one of the most comprehensive margins ever – 18 points. Meanwhile, Arsenal finished second as they had the previous season, and Leeds pipped Liverpool to the third Champions League spot.

  • Kevin Phillips secured the record for most goals scored in a debut Premier League season with 30.
  • The season started earlier than any year before or after, beginning on August 7.
  • Roy Keane won both the Writers’ and Players’ Player of the Year award, as he captained United to another title triumph.

20. 2012/13

(Alex Ferguson gestures to supporters after his last match – Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images)

One of the more anti-climactic finishes to a season, as Man United effectively had the title wrapped up well before the season’s finish and the relegation places were all decided before the final day. Nevertheless, it was rendered memorable by consistently superb individual performances by the likes of Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie, in addition to Alex Ferguson’s shock retirement.

  • Ryan Giggs and Alex Ferguson broke the records for league medals for a player and a manager respectively, both triumphing for the 13th time.
  • The record for longest additional time (12 minutes and 58 seconds) was broken.
  • QPR broke the record for most consecutive Premier League games without a win (16).

19. 2006/07

(Newcastle’s Shay Given jumps for the ball – AKIRA SUEMORI/AP/Press Association Images)

United secured the league for the 9th time in 15 seasons. Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea confirmed another triumph for Alex Ferguson’s men, winning the title by a clear six points. It was the first time in three seasons the Old Trafford outfit had won the league however, having played second fiddle to the Londoners for the previous two campaigns.

  • The Premier League recorded what remains its highest ever attendance – 76,398 for the game at Old Trafford between Man United and Blackburn.
  • Fulham’s Matthew Briggs became the Premier League’s youngest ever player, making his debut against Middlesbrough at 16 years and 65 days.
  • Paul Robinson became only the third goalkeeper to score in the history of the Premier League, netting against Watford.

18. 2007/08

(Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring – JON SUPER/AP/Press Association Images)

A disappointing season entertainment-wise in certain ways, as the so-called ‘Big Four’ continued to dominate, and United won the title yet again. However, the league did go to the last day, with Chelsea and United level on points, though the latter’s considerably superior goal difference meant that a win against Wigan would virtually guarantee them the title – a task which they managed with relative comfort. Cristiano Ronaldo was undoubtedly their main man that season, as he had been the year before, contributing 31 goals and winning the Player of the Year award.

  • Man City acquired the record for the fewest draws in a season – 0.
  • Derby registered the fewest goals scored over the course of a season, managing just 20. They also ended their campaign with the record worst goal difference (-69).
  • The highest-scoring game in Premier League history took place, with Portsmouth beating Reading 7-4.

17. 2000/01

(Patrick Vieira celebrates scoring - David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

There was a sense of deja vu, as Man United won the league for the third successive season, and Alex Ferguson became the first manager to win three consecutive league titles. They did so in typically comprehensive fashion and in fact, were so dominant that some bookmakers had paid out on them winning the league by Christmas. The season was also notable for the remarkable performance of Ipswich, who finished fifth, having just been promoted the previous season, narrowly missing out on a Champions League spot in the process.

  • Ledley King scored what remains the fastest goal ever scored in the Premier League, striking after 9.9 seconds against Bradford.
  • Kevin Davies earned the record for the most fouls in a season – 782.
  • Leicester City went top of the league for the first time since the 1963-64 season in October of that year, however their lead didn’t last long.

16. 2010/11

(Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny watches a header from Manchester United’s Ji-Sung Park go into the goal - Jon Super/AP/Press Association Images)

Man United won the league for the 19th time, breaking Liverpool’s record in the process. They got the point required at Ewood Park that confirmed them as champions, ahead of Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal, who all at one point looked capable of challenging them.

  • The record was broken for the least amount of corners in a Premier League match (2) in a game between Wigan and Chelsea.
  • Man City began a record-breaking run of 2o consecutive home wins, which would continue into the following season and last over a year.
  • Newcastle made history by being the first team to come from four goals down to rescue a point against Arsenal.

15. 1996/97

(Roy Keane in the rain - Matthew Ashton/EMPICS Sport)

One of the most competitive title races in recent memory, both Liverpool and Newcastle were in with a chance of claiming silverware until the penultimate game, however it was Man United who once again triumphed in the end. Arsenal also pushed them close, in Arsene Wenger’s first season at the club.

  • United won the league with the lowest points tally ever with 75 points.
  • Middlesbrough were controversially relegated on the final day of the season. The club would have been safe were it not for the 3 points they were docked for cancelling a game earlier in the season, on the grounds that 23 of their players were either ill or injured.
  • David Beckham first made his name by scoring with a 57-yard lob against Wimbledon.

14. 2004/05

(Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho watches his side play West Browich Albion - Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images)

Jose Mourinho enjoyed perhaps the most impressive Premier League managerial debut season ever, as he steered a formidable Chelsea side to their first-ever PL title triumph. They did so with the type of exciting style with which Mourinho teams aren’t always associated – with Damien Duff, Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba among their plethora of impressive attacking options.

  • Thierry Henry won the Golden Boot for the third time in his career, scoring 25 goals.
  • James Vaughan became the youngest Premier League scorer ever, when he netted against Crystal Palace at the age of 16 years and 271 days – a record which he still holds.
  • One of Chelsea’s less well-known achievements that season was their breaking the record for the most Premier League away wins, claiming victory in 15 of a possible 19 matches.

13. 2008/09

(Newcastle fans are seen waving flags ahead of the club’s game with Middlesbrough - SCOTT HEPPELL/AP/Press Association Images)

Another closely fought title race in which Man United ultimately clinched the league once more, four points ahead of Liverpool and seven in front of Chelsea. The Anfield club pushed them close though, having held a 10-point lead over Alex Ferguson’s men at the turn of the year. Moreover, for much of the season, Aston Villa looked strong contenders to gain a Champions League place, however just two wins in their last 13 games curtailed all hope of a top-four spot.

  • The Abu Dhabi United Group took over Manchester City, making them one of the richest clubs in the world in the process.
  • Edwin van der Sar broke the Premier League record for going the longest period without conceding a goal, lasting 14 games.
  • Chelsea’s phenomenal run of 86 home games unbeaten finally came to an end, as they lost 1-0 to Liverpool.

12. 1993/94

(Arsenal’s David Seaman saves a goal attempt by Newcastle United’s Kevin Scott)

Man United secured their second consecutive title and finished eight points ahead of nearest rivals Blackburn. However, it wasn’t as straightforward as the points difference suggests. United let a 16-point lead slip as late as April, when Blackburn beat them 2-0 to draw level on points with Alex Ferguson’s men. However, a strong finish from the Red Devils meant the title returned to Old Trafford once again.

  • Swindon broke the record for the most Premier League goals conceded in a season – 100. They still hold the record to this day, although they played 42 games as opposed to 38, which is now commonplace.
  • Newcastle secured the joint highest finish ever by a promoted club, coming third. Nottingham Forest emulated the feat the following season.
  • Andy Cole broke the record for most Premier League goals scored in a season, netting 34 times.

11. 2005/06

(Middlesbrough’s Fabio Rochemback tackles Newcastle’s Lee Bowyer – SCOTT HEPPELL/AP/Press Association Images)

Not the most predictable of years, Chelsea started off the season in formidable form,  winning 15 of their first 16 matches. Having established an 18-point lead at the top, the Londoners suffered a dramatic loss of form, meaning their advantage was cut to just seven points as the season approached its climax. Nevertheless, United could only manage a draw with bottom of the table Sunderland shortly thereafter, effectively handing Chelsea and Jose Mourinho their second successive title in the process.

  • Thierry Henry scored 27 times, more goals than the entire Sunderland squad managed.
  • Tottenham dramatically lost out in their fight for a Champions League place on the last day of the season to Arsenal, citing “food poisoning” as an excuse for their loss.
  • Roy Keane played his testimonial at Old Trafford, as Cristiano Ronaldo scored in Man United’s 1-0 win over Celtic.

Numbers 10-1 will be published later today at 1.30pm

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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