Winning a Premier League title is never easy. Unlike other leagues across Europe, the competition amongst every side in the division is fierce and unrelenting; as such, only twice has a side managed to wrap up three title wins in a row, and both of those were Manchester United in 1999–2001 and 2007–2009 respectively.
That being said, the Premier League has seen some absolute titans in its time, occasionally producing sides that have romped to a title parade with their nearest rivals stuck eating their dust. Here’s our look at the top five title winners in terms of winning points margins.
5th — Manchester United 2012/13 (89 Points. Margin: 11 Points)
Thanks to one final rallying cry from a truly legendary manager, as well as a certain ‘little boy’ playing mediator to Robin Van Persie, Manchester United’s final season under Sir Alex Ferguson saw them finally reach the fabled milestone of 20 titles.
Having fallen agonisingly short in the previous season, thanks to an infamous Aguero goal and even more infamous bit of commentary from Martin Tyler, United’s title rivals should have been listening more closely when Ferguson proclaimed himself to be a ‘winner’ on the eve of the season.
With an opening day stumble to Everton brushed aside, United burst out of the gate with a swashbuckling arrogance few in the league could withstand. Whilst maybe not the most world class side to ever win a league title, the heart and spirit of the squad, who could very easily win a match 5–4, saw them reach the summit of the table in early November and they never let off from there.
A defeat at home to rivals Manchester City in April, combined with just three wins in their final eight games, cut United’s lead down to 11 points over Manchester City’s 78 points haul and remains the last time the red side of Manchester have tasted title success.
4th — Arsenal 2003/04 (90 Points. Margin: 11 Points)
One of the English game’s most admired and treasured sides, Arsene Wenger’s second league triumph pip ahead of United’s 2012/13 side in our list thanks to their superior points haul.
Having swanned into the Premier League in 1996, Wenger quickly ignited a fierce and enthralling rivalry with Ferguson’s previously dominant United side at the top of the table. Arguably, there’s never been a rivalry quite like United vs. Arsenal in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
By 2003 however, it was the soon-to-be financial powerhouse of cross-town rivals Chelsea that would prove to be Wenger’s only real serious competitor.
Wenger’s great Arsenal side of 2003/04 famously went unbeaten across the entire season, winning 26 and drawing 12 of their 38 league games on their way to one of the most one-sided title wins the league had ever seen. Having wrapped up the title at arch-rivals Tottenham’s home stadium of White Hart Lane with four games to spare, the 11 point margin between Arsenal and Chelsea could have been much more had the side not drawn three of their last five games in their quest for that infamous unbeaten record.
3rd — Chelsea 2004/05 (95 Points. Margin: 12 Points)
Special one by name, special one by nature. Jose Mourinho arrived in West London in summer of 2004 on the back of a surprising Champions League win with FC Porto, as well an abundance of backing in the transfer market courtesy of new owner Roman Abramovich.
Given the illustrious career of Mourinho and his regular theatrical performances in the media, it’s easy to forget just how good his first Chelsea side were. Truly one of the league’s forgotten and undervalued sides, Mourinho took a side that had finished 11 points behind an unbeaten Arsenal side and swung them to a 12 point lead over the Gunners in just nine months or so.
Just one loss in the entire campaign saw the Blues amass a then-record tally of 95 points in their 38 games, something that was scarcely believable at the time and remains the third highest total to date. Chelsea’s unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge, started during 2004 but continued for a good few seasons afterwards, was another league record Mourinho absolutely smashed, and the spine of ‘Cech-Terry-Lampard-Drogba’ the Special One built remained successful in English football for another decade or so.
Arsenal’s limp title defence that season had practically fallen apart in November, whilst Manchester United, still reeling from their fall from grace in 03/04, had been put in their place by Mourinho’s men at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of that season. Dominant.
2nd — Manchester United 1999/2000 (91 Points. Margin: 18 Points)
By the time 1999/2000 rolled around, Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United had grown quite familiar with romping to league titles. They had won five of the first seven Premier League titles, and came into the 1999/2000 season on the back of the famous treble winning season which saw them lift the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
Despite the heavy burden of pressure, and the goalkeeping issues following the departure of the legendary Peter Schmeichel, United continued to look every bit a championship-winning side, only dropping out of the top spot for three weeks from October until the end of the season.
Goalkeeping howlers from pantomime villains Mark Bosnich and Massimo Taibi seemed to help aid the form of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer up front, with United registering a whopping 95 goals across the league campaign, 15 more than they achieved in the treple-winning season.
The season was a disappointment for United’s nearest rivals Arsenal, who had pushed United to within a point of the title in the season previous but could only muster 73 points against United’s 91. It was true that the Gunners were in the middle of a transition, however the 18 point gap between the two sides remained the Premier League record for a whopping 18 seasons.
1st — Manchester City 2017/18 (100 Points. Margin: 19 Points)
Following a fairly middling season in his debut campaign in England, Pep Guardiola silenced all of his doubters in some style in his second outing as Manchester City boss.
Truth being told, this title race was decided as early as September; just a few handful of games was needed for Pep’s side to showcase that they were playing at a level that their rivals could only stand back and marvel at. It was a season for smashing records, with Guardiola’s side becoming only the second side to register over 30 wins, the third team to hit over 100 goals in a season, and the very first to amass 100 points.
The side’s scintillating style of play, coupled with a dismal showing from pretty much every opponent City might have had for the title, combined poetically across the season as Manchester City broke their final record of the campaign with five games to spare, standing tall at the top of the final table, 19 points ahead of Manchester United’s tally of 81 points.
City would reclaim their title the following season in much more nail-biting circumstances, pipping Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool by just a single point and igniting a thrilling rivalry between the two teams.