Match of the Day Top 10: Title winners

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May 25, 2021
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    Left to right: Claudio Ranieri, Sergio Aguero and James Milner

    Seven clubs have won the Premier League since its inception in 1992-93 – Manchester United, Blackburn, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester and Liverpool. But which produced the best team?

    Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Micah Richards discussed the topic in the latest Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast. Shearer, of course, won the title with Blackburn, while Richards did likewise with Manchester City.

    You can listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds and have your say by ranking your choices at the bottom of this page.

    • Listen to the Match of the Day Top 10: Title winners

    Manchester United in 2008 (Richards: 10th, Shearer: 10th)

    A graphic showing Manchester United won the Premier League in 2008 with 87 points

    United finished two points ahead of Chelsea in the 2007-08 season, with Arsenal and Liverpool completing the top four. Sir Alex Ferguson's side also won the Champions League.

    Shearer: Back-to-back titles – what a team that was. That season was the best of Cristiano Ronaldo we saw in this country.

    Richards: Ronaldo was a nightmare to play against because he always used to dive. But he was exceptional – you didn't know which way he would go. He was more of a winger than a goalscorer but when I played against him he was a trickster. You could tell back then he was going to be great. He got stronger and learnt to deal with the Premier League, and by the time he left United he was a superstar.

    Arsenal in 1998 (Richards: 9th, Shearer: 9th)

    A graphic showing Arsenal won the Premier League in 1998 with 78 points

    Arsenal won their first Premier League title by finishing a point clear of Manchester United. Liverpool and Chelsea completed the top four. Arsene Wenger's side also won the FA Cup this season.

    Shearer: They didn't score that many goals – Dennis Bergkamp scored 16 and he was the top goalscorer. But that unbelievable defence they had – Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn, and David Seaman in goal… fantastic.

    Richards: They managed to merge those core English players with a little bit of sauce, a bit of elegance. I really liked Nicolas Anelka – he had the movement, he was quick, he could finish, he had a bit of swagger.

    Liverpool in 2020 (Richards: 7th, Shearer: 7th)

    A graphic showing Liverpool won the Premier League in 2020 with 99 points

    Liverpool's long wait to win the Premier League, and 19th top-flight title, finally ended in 2020 when they finished 18 points clear of second-placed Manchester City. Manchester United and Chelsea rounded off the top four.

    Shearer: To come back after not winning it, and to do what they did after so long … the pressure grows every year for a huge football club.

    Lineker: If someone had said in 1990 that Liverpool wouldn't win another title for 30 years, you would never believe it. But they had to wait all that time, and then have no fans in.

    Richards: I was happy for Liverpool, especially my former team-mate James Milner. He is one of the funniest guys you'll ever meet. He's the first in to training, last out. He didn't get as much respect as he should have at City – he was seen as a utility man. Milner was better technically than people give him credit for – great right foot, great crosser of the ball, great mentality, and he's a Yorkshire lad.

    Shearer: For Jurgen Klopp and the players to achieve what they did – winning the Premier League and [2019] Champions League – unbelievable. He has enthusiasm, drive, a great relationship with his players – he trusts them and they do the same to him. They have a great chemistry. They've struggled this season, and you can see the hurt.

    Manchester City in 2018 (Richards: 8th, Shearer: 6th)

    A graphic showing Manchester City won the Premier League in 2018 with 100 points

    This was City's third Premier League title, and their first of three (so far) under Pep Guardiola. They became the first side to reach 100 points thanks to a stoppage-time winner at Southampton on the final day of the season, and also won the League Cup. They finished 19 points clear of Manchester United, with Tottenham and Liverpool completing the top four.

    Shearer: The standard of football that season was ridiculous. It was relentless, week after week, performance after performance.

    Richards: They were favourites to win the league but it shouldn't go against them – they got 100 points. I would rather be unbeaten than get 100 points, but they set such high standards for themselves.

    Chelsea in 2005 (Richards: 5th, Shearer: 8th)

    A graphic showing Chelsea won the Premier League in 2005 with 95 points

    This was the first of Chelsea's five Premier League titles, as Jose Mourinho's side – who also won the League Cup – finished 12 points clear of Arsenal. Manchester United and Everton also made the top four.

    Shearer: Mourinho came in and they had Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben and Frank Lampard – they only lost one game that season. Mourinho then was different to Mourinho now – he was a breath of fresh air. He came in and blew everyone away with his personality and most people took to him. He could be arrogant because he was funny on the back of it, and that team could back that arrogance up.

    Richards: They were really tough to play against – all the players were strong, fast, good technique.

    Manchester United in 1999 (Richards: 6th, Shearer: 3rd)

    A graphic showing Manchester United won the Premier League in 1999 with 79 points

    In Manchester United's most successful season ever, they pipped Arsenal to the Premier League title by one point and won the FA Cup and Champions League to complete the Treble. Chelsea and Leeds completed the top four.

    Shearer: I played against them in the FA Cup final – they won the league and then bashed us in the final. What a team.

    They had those four forwards they could rely on – Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. I played with Sheringham for England and he was brilliant, but I think Yorke was top scorer that year.

    Richards: They had the greatest manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, who could get the best out of his players. I don't think any manager will do that again – the greatest Premier League manager in my opinion.

    Manchester City in 2012 (Richards: 3rd, Shearer: 5th)

    A graphic showing Manchester City won the Premier League in 2012 with 89 points

    City ended a 44-year wait for a league title with that famous Sergio Aguero goal on the final day of the season, beating local rivals Manchester United to the title on goal difference after both sides finished on 89 points. Arsenal finished 19 points adrift in third, and Chelsea were another point behind in fourth.

    Richards: That moment was incredible. When you watch it back now, it's such a surreal moment – you can't believe you were involved with such a thing. The way it happened – 93 minutes and 20 seconds that goal was scored – will never happen again. It was City's first Premier League trophy, we were up against Sir Alex Ferguson's United and Arsene Wenger's Arsenal – two of the greatest Premier League managers – and we beat them.

    Shearer: Unbelievable story. For it to go to the last game is one thing, but to go to the last kick is something else entirely.

    Blackburn Rovers in 1995 (Richards: 4th, Shearer: 2nd)

    A graphic showing Blackburn won the Premier League in 1995 with 89 points

    This was Blackburn's first top-flight success since 1914, and also their first major trophy for 67 years. Kenny Dalglish's side secured the title on the last day of the season, beating Manchester United by one point, with Nottingham Forest and Liverpool making up the top four.

    Shearer: People saw Blackburn coming; they knew what their intentions were. We were signing good players, we had a great manager in Kenny Dalglish, who had been successful with Liverpool.

    It was so nerve-racking going into that last game. We had a lead that United were chipping away at and we were under huge pressure, but we got there in the end. We played Liverpool on the last day and the fans were with us – they stayed to cheer us on because of Dalglish, and United hadn't done their job against West Ham. One of the best moments of my career.

    Arsenal in 2004 (Richards: 2nd, Shearer: 4th)

    A graphic showing Arsenal won the Premier League in 2004 with 90 points

    Arsenal's 'Invincibles' became the first team to go a whole Premier League season unbeaten, finishing 11 points clear of Chelsea with Manchester United and Liverpool completing the top four. This was Arsene Wenger's third Premier League trophy.

    Shearer: To go through the season unbeaten was remarkable and people will talk about it for a long time. Will it be done again? I don't know – it was so special. If you look at the teams we have had since and how brilliant they have been, for them not to do it tells you how great that Arsenal team was.

    Richards: I wouldn't say it was one of the best teams ever – they had great players but there have been better teams. But the unit they had was great to see and so mentally strong.

    Leicester City in 2016 (Richards: 1st, Shearer: 1st)

    A graphic showing Leicester won the Premier League in 2016 with 81 points

    Claudio Ranieri guided 5,000-1 shots Leicester to their first league title after they had almost been relegated the previous season. The Foxes finished 10 points clear of Arsenal with Tottenham and Manchester City third and fourth respectively.

    Shearer: This is all about the story – escaping relegation and then to win the league. No-one saw it coming – not even Leicester themselves. You just kept thinking, 'When is this run going to stop?' And it just never did.

    Lineker: To this day I still get emotional – I put the tweet about presenting Match of the Day in my pants up in December thinking it would never happen. My personal trainer told me on the day to not eat or drink anything and do a few press-ups before it but I didn't, I was just conscious of Shearer and Ian Wright laughing at me!

    But the closer it got to winning it the more worrying it became because they had this lead and if they blew it, it felt like it would be the end of the world. I watched that game Chelsea against Tottenham with all my sons, where Spurs had to win – when Eden Hazard scored that goal, I burst into tears. It was beautiful – the whole country was behind them, not just Leicester fans.

    Top 10 title winners

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