Thrillers from history teach us to always expect the unexpected
Saturday 27 March 2010
The focus is on Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Cesc Fabregas, but the key man in the title race may prove to be one of the supporting cast. That was the case the last time the Premier League title was this closely contested with seven games to go.
At that stage eight seasons ago, two points separated Manchester United, Arsenal (who had a game in hand) and Liverpool. In a very open season, by contemporary standards, Newcastle had led the league at Christmas, and Leeds at new year, but both fell away, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Back at the top it was Freddie Ljungberg who stepped up as the clocks went forward. The Swede scored in five successive matches, totalling six goals, as Arsenal cruised clear. Their run-in was to feature 13 successive victories. With six straight wins behind them, and seven winnable matches to play, the Gunners could repeat that feat this year.
If they do, they will surely win the championship, though probably by a narrower margin than in 2002 when they finished seven points clear after clinching the title, with a match to spare, through Sylvain Wiltord's goal in a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Arsenal had already won the FA Cup, played early to accommodate England's World Cup preparation.
Of the current Arsenal players, Andrei Arshavin is perhaps the most likely player to emerge to produce such a surge, with Florent Malouda and Luis Antonio Valencia his equivalents at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford. Then again, maybe it is time Dimitar Berbatov produced a serious return on his £30m fee.
Latest in Sport
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Wimbledon 2015: Dustin Brown knocks Rafael Nadal out of the championship
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
Wimbledon 2015: 'Heather Watson deserved to win the match,' concedes world No 1 Serena Williams after gruelling contest
- 1 This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
- 2 Homeless man playing piano in Florida becomes instant online sensation with public performance
- 3 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 4 San Francisco TV news crew attacked by armed robbers during live broadcast
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture