The obituaries may have been written of Liverpool’s title hopes, but the Reds’ challenge isn’t over – yet.
Even after a disastrous night at Selhurst Park on Monday night that saw a 3-0 lead wiped out in the last 12 minutes of the game, Liverpool would still go into the final day of the season with a chance of winning the Premier League, and that in itself is a position that they haven’t been in since their last Championship win back in 1990.
Man City’s win against Aston Villa tonight has left them needing only a draw to claim their second league win in three seasons, but if events of this season aren’t evidence enough of how quickly and dramatically things can turn, then a look back at Man City’s first Premier League title offers even more proof of why this season’s race is far from over.
Having comfortably led the 2011/12 table at various stages of the season, Man City fell eight points adrift of Man United with only six games to play.
It would ordinarily have been a gap too big to bridge, but despite the vast experience in the Man United team, they too threw away their advantage, with a defeat to Wigan amongst the points that the defending champions dropped during April.
Going into the last day of the season, both Manchester clubs were level on points and separated only by Man City’s superior goal difference. To overturn that, Man United would need to have won at Sunderland by a margin of at least ten goals.
There was always the possibility that Man City wouldn’t win at all, but home advantage against relegation-threatened QPR, and boasting a record of 17 wins and a draw from 18 previous matches in front of their own fans made anything other than a Man City win seem highly unlikely.
QPR had other ideas though, and even after being reduced to ten men, they were able to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead during the second half.
As the season’s final round of matches entered injury time, Man United had done everything expected, having achieved a 2-0 win at Sunderland and secure the points that looked likely to hand Sir Alex Ferguson’s team a dramatic title win.
Yet there was still time for the most dramatic of twists, and goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero – in the third and fifth minutes of injury time – earned a 3-2 win for Man City and saw them claim the title on goal difference.
The 2013/14 season has one more afternoon of matches before any silverware is handed out, and at this stage of the season, with the pressure firmly on every team involved in the chase for honours, unpredictable results appear more possible than at any other time.
That is why there’s no reason to suggest that it’s a foregone conclusion that Man City will win on Sunday. Another strong season at home again suggests that gaining the required result should be a foregone conclusion, but the nature of the Premier League – as well as recent history – means that Man City simply cannot take anything for granted.
If the conclusion to the 2011/12 season is anything to go by, then there still enough time for one last dramatic twist to a season that has already provided more surprises than most.