History on City’s side as EPL title race heads into last day

May 18, 2022, 6:42 PM | Updated: May 19, 2022, 6:44 am
Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola reacts at the end of the English Premier League soccer m...

Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola reacts at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham United and Manchester City at London stadium in London, Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Manchester City has history on its side ahead of the final-day title showdown with Liverpool in the English Premier League.

Sunday will mark the ninth time in the Premier League era — since 1992 — that the title race has been decided in the last round.

On each of the previous eight occasions, the team in first place before kickoff went on to clinch the championship.

City leads Liverpool by one point and they both finish with home games — against Aston Villa and Wolverhampton, respectively.

Every league leader playing at home to finish the season has won that game, most famously City in 2012 when Roberto Mancini’s team scored twice in stoppage time to defeat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 and beat Manchester United to the title.

A look at the eight Premier League seasons to go the distance:


Blackburn won its first — and so far only — title in the Premier League era despite losing on the final day at Liverpool 2-1. Manchester United started the day two points behind in second place and could only draw 1-1 at West Ham, whose goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko produced a slew of magnificent saves.


Alex Ferguson’s Man United bounced back to win the title the following year, this time having no problems on a final-day fight with Newcastle’s team of entertainers under Kevin Keegan. United had a two-point lead and won at Middlesbrough 3-0 while Newcastle, which led the standings by 12 points in February, drew with Tottenham 1-1.


Another title for Man United, which needed to come from behind to beat Tottenham 2-1 at home and hold off Arsenal by a point. Arsenal did its job by beating Aston Villa 1-0 and was given hope by Les Ferdinand’s early goal for Tottenham. David Beckham equalized for United and Andy Cole’s deft lob in the 47th minute ultimately proved decisive.


Both Man United and Chelsea entered the final day on 84 points, with United leading on goal difference. United beat Wigan 2-0 away thanks to goals by Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Giggs, while Chelsea could only draw at Bolton 1-1 after conceding a late equalizer. United and Chelsea would meet in the Champions League final 10 days later — and again United prevailed after a penalty shootout.


Chelsea left nothing to chance in its bid to stay ahead of Man United and end its rival’s three-season reign as champion. An 8-0 thrashing of Wigan at Stamford Bridge, which included a hat trick by Didier Drogba, was Chelsea’s biggest victory in its history and took the team past 100 goals for the season. United beat Stoke 4-0 but finished a point back in second place.


The most thrilling finish to a Premier League season — perhaps even in top-flight history — saw Man City become English champion for the first time in 44 years. Stoppage-time goals by Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero were needed for a 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers, which started the game under the threat of relegation. United had completed its 1-0 win at Sunderland before Aguero scored to clinch the title on goal difference for City.


Man City left it to the last day for its second Premier League title, too, but this was less of a rollercoaster ride than two years earlier. A routine 2-0 win at home to West Ham was secured by goals from Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany, and it was enough to hold off Liverpool, which finished two points behind following a 2-1 home win over Newcastle.


City started the final day a point ahead of Liverpool — like this season — but it looked like there could be a twist to the title race when Pep Guardiola’s team fell behind to Brighton in the 27th minute, with Liverpool already leading against Wolverhampton. Aguero equalized within a minute and City wound up a 4-1 winner, making redundant Liverpool’s 2-0 victory at Anfield.


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

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History on City’s side as EPL title race heads into last day