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Manchester City Face Battle Against History

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No team has won consecutive league titles in a decade.

The Premier League is sold on its unpredictability, a popular opinion about the league which isn’t exactly as true as ardent followers of the world’s most popular football league would prefer it is.

For a fact, the Premier League remains the only league – among the top five in Europe – where you have three genuine contenders at the start of each season.

At least, this is true for the past decade, and for a short spell in the early noughties when Arsenal was still a proper force and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea were the emerging one.

Since Arsenal’s “invincibles” triumph in 2004, the Gunners last title fight was in 2007/08, a season Arsenal had the title in sight with 12 games to play and a seemingly healthy five points advantage; Manchester United overturned it to win a second consecutive league title before adding a Champions League crown at the end of that season and then a third league title the following season. 3

Since Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United to a three-peat between 2006-09, the second time the legendary Scot manager achieved such a historic feat, no team has successfully defended the title.

With a new winner every year since 2009, it’s been a full decade of the strongest possible title challenge each year in the Premier League era.

In that time, Chelsea and Manchester City have both won the league thrice, Manchester United twice – the last one in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season in charge and an odd title win for Leicester City.

There is a conversation about what would be said of Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking and historic side, if unlike other historical league winners, they failed to defend the title they won last season, smashing 11 Premier League records on the way to the league’s first 100-points win.

In all honesty, it will be simplistic to write off what Manchester City achieved last season just by an inability to retain the title. Truthfully, most of the sides that are in the conversation of the greatest Premier League side of all time won the league more than once.

Some even did it consecutively; but not the invincibles, whose record still stands. If the invincibles didn’t defend the title they stayed a whole season unbeaten to win, and their place is intact in history, why should Manchester City be belittled for failing to defend the title in a decade where no team had managed?

Manchester City defending the title will truly add spice to the story. While it is mathematically possible to even surpass the 100 points reached last season, City will need to win all 17 games left to reach 101 points, an unrealistic target.

However, in a decade where the odds of producing a new winner outweighs a Champion defending the title, City is at a historical disadvantage.

Manchester City may well overtake Liverpool in the title run-in. The 2-1 win over Jurgen Klopp’s men has thrown a spanner in the path of Liverpool, and we have seen it happen a lot in the past also.

In 2011-12, Manchester United led by eight points with six games to play but City won the title on goal difference thanks to Sergio Aguero’s stoppage-time winner against Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season, a turnaround in City’s history.

In 1997-98, Arsenal erased an 11-point deficit with 10 games left to wrestle the title off Manchester United.

Again, Liverpool might run out winners or perhaps Spurs, but failure to defend the title shouldn’t reduce Manchester City’s place in history.

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