First Football Read: Premier League runaways

A brief read covering Premier League seasons when one team has been the runaway winner.



It already seems quite a long time ago that Leicester City performed their football ‘miracle’ of winning the Premier League, doesn’t it? In doing so, they became only the sixth club to win the Premier League, after Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City.

If Leicester’s success is already becoming a magical part of football history then consider how incredible it now seems that this season’s runaway Premier League leaders, Manchester City, were actually relegated to Division Two (the third-tier of English professional football) just twenty years ago. 1997-98 was also the season that saw Arsenal complete their second Double of League Champions and FA Cup winners.

How long ago both of these momentous football events must seem to both sets of supporters, and for very different reasons. City weren’t even considered to be one of the ‘top six’ clubs when the Premier League came into existence in 1992. Those positions belonged to the only ever-present clubs in each campaign since: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

When Arsenal meet Manchester United, it is a meeting of clubs who, between them, have won the Premier League title on 16 occasions between them – almost two-thirds of the 25 completed seasons to date. United also hold the record for the biggest title-winning margin of 18 points in 1999-2000, when they accumulated 91 points to Arsenal’s 73 – this after their own Treble-winning season, a year earlier. Whether either of them can catch Manchester City this season is already debatable. Follow every twist and turn of the Premier League from here on in.

The Etihad, home of Manchester City

The Etihad, home of Manchester City

Manchester United have dominated the Premier League to date – not just because of that huge points total but because they have won the title in three consecutive seasons on not one but two occasions (1999-2001 and 2007-2009). Chelsea ended their second sequence, in 2010, with their third Premier League title. However, Jose Mourinho’s first title at Stamford Bridge was the one that really put Chelsea back on the map, 50 years after they had first won the league championship.

In winning the title by 12 points (again from Arsenal in second place), the 2004-05 Chelsea side amassed a record 95 points, conceded the fewest goals ever in a top-flight season (15), equalling Preston North End’s record in the inaugural Football League season of 1888-89, won a record 15 away games and achieved the highest number of clean sheets (25). The team were also on a run of 86 unbeaten matches in the league at home, which had begun in March 2004.

Chelsea also hold the record for most wins in a Premier League season with 30 from 2016-17. They had also set the previous record of 29 in both 2004-05 and equalled it in 2005-06.

In 2000 and 2005 the Premier League competition felt very much like a procession with one side dominating proceedings. Perhaps the question now is not whether Manchester City will win this season’s Premier League, or even when; can they also go through a season unbeaten as only Arsene Wenger’s ‘invincible’ Arsenal team have managed in the Premier League – in 2003-04 when they also won the title by a huge margin of 11 points (from Chelsea!).


Research for this article was taken from titles in our First Football History series: The Arsenal FC story and The Chelsea FC story.


Article Published: 29th November 2017

Old Trafford, home of Manchester United

Old Trafford, home of Manchester United

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