5 of the best English top flight campaigns
City could yet surpass Chelsea’s record Premier League points haul.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are on course for one of the most dominant league seasons ever after wrapping up the title already.
Here Press Association Sport looks at five of the best campaigns in English football history.
North End were the original ‘Invincibles’ having gone through the Football League’s inaugural 22-game campaign in 1888-89 without tasting defeat. While they did it at a time when the game was still in its infancy, their record around that period was astounding. Preston won 42 successive games in 1887-88 and, during the following season, the ‘Invincibles’ also completed the double by winning the FA Cup without conceding a single goal.
From the 1970s to the mid 1980s, Liverpool were not just the best side in England but in Europe too and their finest campaign came in 1983-84. Joe Fagan inherited a team that had won back-to-back championships and he delivered three more trophies to the Anfield trophy cabinet as the Reds won a fourth successive League Cup, a third consecutive title and a fourth European Cup, this one courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory over Roma in the final. That was also the year when Ian Rush scored a staggering 47 goals for the club.
Manchester United 1998-99
A treble-winning side that boasted the characteristic of not knowing when they were beaten. United achieved their greatest ever season just before the new millennium when winning the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson was blessed with a strong squad capable of challenging on multiple fronts and their performances were characterised by thrilling comebacks and dramatic late goals. They saved the best for last, with substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scoring in stoppage time to stun Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in Barcelona.
The consistency of Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles has to be admired and they are still the only side to have gone through a Premier League season without losing. Thierry Henry’s 30 goals in the division helped, as did the fact Wenger had a settled core squad, with a dozen players all featuring in 28 matches or more. The Gunners did draw 12 games that season, and won nothing else, but in avoiding a single defeat they completed a remarkable campaign that deserves recognition alongside the very best.
City’s next target is to overhaul the record 95 points Chelsea accrued in Jose Mourinho’s first season at the helm. The Blues were built on a strong defence – conceding just 15 times in the campaign – but they also scored 72 times and were arguably the most attractive team Mourinho has ever managed. Chelsea won the League Cup too and were also strong in Europe, knocking Barcelona and Bayern Munich out before exiting to eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-finals thanks to Luis Garcia’s “ghost goal”.