Over to Man City… champions continue quest for historic four in a row

Daily News
10 Min Read
Over to Man City… champions continue quest for historic four in a row

Manchester City continue their Premier League title defence at Brighton on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, with the historic achievement of becoming the first side to win four top-flight titles in a row still very much within reach.

There are few records left for Pep Guardiola and his City side to break after their treble-winning campaign last time out, but there is one that has remained untouched since the inception of the English top flight in 1888 and that is the quest for four consecutive championships.

Premier League title race

Image: Man City are third in the Premier League but will go top if they win their games in hand

Intriguingly, it is a feat that has been regularly achieved on the continent, with Guardiola himself having done it twice while in charge at both Barcelona (2008-11) and Bayern Munich (2013-16), while the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have also done it of late.

In contrast, though, only six English sides have ever won three successive league titles and none have gone on to make it four in a row – so, who are those teams and what went wrong in their bids to make it four on the trot?

Thursday 25th April 7:30pm Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD

Huddersfield Town (1923-26)

Herbert Chapman’s Huddersfield were the first team to win three consecutive top-flight titles, with Chapman overseeing the first two of those in 1923-24 and 1924-25.

In fact, the Terriers’ first league win was achieved in dramatic fashion as they edged out Cardiff City by a goal difference of just 0.024 after the two teams finished level on 57 points.

Cecil Potter – who replaced the Arsenal-bound Chapman – was at the helm as Huddersfield made it three in a row in 1926 and they came close to a fourth successive league win the following campaign, only to finish as runners-up to Newcastle United.

Arsenal (1932-35)

Herbert Chapman

Image: Herbert Chapman (bottom row left) with his Arsenal title winners in 1932-33

Chapman was lured from Huddersfield to Arsenal in 1925, initially winning the league championship in 1930-31 and then again two years later as they edged out Aston Villa by four points.

However, Chapman died from pneumonia midway through the following campaign with the Gunners on course to retain their title, which caretaker boss Joe Shaw oversaw, before George Allison completed the hat-trick of leagues as Ted Drake netted a club-record 42 goals in 41 league games in 1934-35.

Allison, though, was unable to win his second title in a row, and a fourth straight league championship for the north London club, the next season as they finished down in sixth place in the table, a whopping 26 points behind champions Sunderland.

Liverpool (1981-84)

Between 1979 and this title-winning side from 1984, Liverpool lifted the First Division title five times across six years, as well as two European Cups

Image: Liverpool celebrate their 1984 title win, their third in a row

1981-82 saw three points for a win introduced for the first time in English football as Bob Paisley’s Reds saw off the challenge from Ipswich Town, before repeating the feat the following season as they cruised to back-to-back titles, finishing 11 points clear of surprise runners-up Watford.

Paisley retired in the summer of 1983 having won an incredible 21 trophies in only nine years at the helm, with right-hand man Joe Fagan taking his place in the Anfield dugout.

And the new man continued where his predecessor had left off by making it a ‘three-peat’ that campaign, albeit by just three points from Southampton as Fagan became the first English manager to win three trophies in his debut season in charge after also claiming the league and European Cups.

Fagan was unable, though, to continue that winning run in 1984-85 as Liverpool finished a distant second behind city rivals Everton, with the manager retiring that summer after the Heysel disaster.

Manchester United (1998-2001)

Dwight Yorke scored a hat-trick as Man Utd thrashed Arsenal at Old Trafford on February 25, 2001

Image: Dwight Yorke celebrates his hat-trick in Man Utd’s 6-1 thrashing of Arsenal at Old Trafford in Feb 2001 as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side made it a hat-trick of Premier Leagues

Remarkably, it took United until the early 2000s to get on the ‘three-peat’ trail as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side first edged out Arsenal by a point in a thrilling fight for the title in 1998-99, before the Red Devils again beat the Gunners to successive leagues by 18 points and 10 points respectively in the following two seasons.

That 2000-01 championship win meant Ferguson had become the first manager to win three straight top-flight titles, with the Scot then announcing his intention to call it quits at the end of the next campaign.

However, in February 2002 Fergie made a dramatic U-turn as Arsenal ultimately ended United’s hopes of claiming an historic fourth consecutive league crown, with the Red Devils going on to finish third in the table.

Manchester United (2006-09)

United are the only team to have won three leagues in a row on two separate occasions as Fergie’s side repeated the feat six years later.

The Red Devils edged out Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea by six points in 2006-07 and Avram Grant’s Blues by only two points the following campaign, before completing the ‘three-peat’ by seeing off Liverpool’s challenge in 2008-09 by just four points to match the Reds’ record haul of 18 top-flight titles.

But again, a fourth straight league crown proved beyond United’s grasp as they and Chelsea once resumed battle for the title, with Carlo Ancelotti’s men emerging victorious, this time by just a solitary point!

Continental drift

In contrast, though, winning four or more leagues in a row is a much more common occurrence in Europe’s top-five leagues, where Bayern Munich claimed the Bundesliga in every season from 2012-13 until this campaign, when they were dethroned by Bayer Leverkusen.

In Serie A, Juventus have also achieved the feat on multiple occasions, between 1930 and 1935 and then again from 2011-2020, as have both Torino (1945-49) and Inter Milan (2005-2010).

Four teams have pulled it off in France, firstly Saint-Etienne from 1966 and 1970, followed by Marseille between 1988 and 1992 and Lyon, who won seven straight Ligue 1 titles (2001-2008).

Barcelona manager Johan Cruyff (1992)

Image: Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona Dream Team won five successive Spanish top-flight titles between 1990 and 94

More recently, though, big-spending PSG have done it on two separate occasions, firstly from 2012 to 2016 and then again between 2017 and 2020.

And finally, LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona have also both managed to achieve it, with Los Blancos doing it on two different occasions, between 1960-1965 and then again from 1985-1990 by their infamous ‘La Quinta del Buitre‘ side.

And Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona dream team, which included Gary Lineker, claimed five successive Spanish top-flight titles between 1990 and 94.

Man City’s remaining fixtures

April 25: Brighton – Premier League (A), kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

April 28: Nottingham Forest – Premier League (A), kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 4: Wolves – Premier League (H), kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports

May 11: Fulham – Premier League (A), kick-off 12.30pm

May 14: Tottenham – Premier League (A), kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports

May 19: West Ham – Premier League (H) – kick-off 4pm

May 25: Man Utd – FA Cup final (Wembley), kick-off 3pm

Ad content | Stream Sky Sports on NOW

NOW PROMO APRIL 2024

Stream Sky Sports live with no contract on a Month or Day membership on NOW. Instant access to live action from the Premier League, EFL, F1, England Cricket and so much more.

Get Sky Sports on WhatsApp!

Sky Sports WhatsApp channel

You can now start receiving messages and alerts for the latest breaking sports news, analysis, in-depth features and videos from our dedicated WhatsApp channel!

Find out more here.

Share This Article
Leave a comment