Three nail-biting Premier League deciders
Frank Monkhouse | 22 May 2017
We look back on the last day drama
There won’t be the thrilling climax to this Premier League season that neutrals have come to love over the years. No battle for the crown, fans watching one game while listening to another, no sides down at the wrong end of the table needing favours, aching fingers crossed for 90 minutes.
Chelsea were weighted in as comfortable, and fully deserving, Premier League winners, while Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Hull will all be playing Championship football next season. The writing was on the wall for the first two for quite some time, but The Tigers caused their own problems when losing to bottom-club Sunderland earlier this month, gifting Swansea safety.
A bit of a shame, perhaps, but there is a race on for the top-four, which should provide us will all the drama we need. Going into Sunday’s final round of fixtures, there’s just three points between Man City in third and Arsenal in fifth. Yes, Arsene Wenger could keep up his tradition of earning The Gunners a Champions League finish, and yes, Liverpool could finish up empty-handed.
To get us in the mood for that sprint towards the finish line, we cast our minds back, and pick out three memorable final day grandstand finishes – all with happy endings, for the teams mentioned, of course.
Man Utd vs Tottenham 1999
What a team Sir Alex Ferguson had in 1999 and they created their own little slice of history by bagging a memorable treble. The Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies were all glittering away in the Old Trafford cabinet that year, but they needed a big push to win the English top-flight on the last day of the season, beating Spurs. Les Ferdinand fired the upstarts ahead early in the match, to worry the locals, but goals from Beckham and Cole sealed the fightback, and the title. That defeat would’ve been easier for Tottenham fans to take, knowing it cost Arsenal the trophy.
West Brom vs Portsmouth 2005
Now for a great escape, and they really don’t come any greater than this. West Brom were bottom at Christmas and nailed on to be relegated, after all, the stats would tell us that the lowest ranked club at the festive period would always go down. Rules are made to be broken! The Baggies needed to beat Portsmouth on the final day, but they also wanted a few other results to go their way. Incredibly, it all fell in to place. Horsfield and Richardson scored second-half goals to do the business, keeping West Brom in the big league. That was achieved despite picking up just 34 points, Crystal Palace, Norwich and Southampton all went down.
West Ham vs Man Utd 2007
The year Carlos Tevez beat relegation single-handedly. Opponents cried foul play, believing Tevez should never have been allowed in The Hammers team, but it’s dog eat dog down there, and no one at Upton Park cared. They went to Old Trafford on the last day of the season needing a win, and got it. Who scored the winning goal? Well, obviously Tevez, striking on 45 minutes to silence a home crowd who had turned up expecting to see their side roll over the Londoners. That cost Sheffield United their place, and fans are still going on about it.