At the time of writing (21/3/23), Arsenal are sitting pretty eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 10 games of the 2022/23 campaign remaining. But Gunners fans are not relaxing just yet, especially with second-placed Manchester City putting in some scarily good displays of late. But as Arsenal focus on marching towards their first title since the 2003/04 season, we’re going to take a look back at when teams have led the way in the top flight, only to fluff their lines. So here we have the worst Premier League title collapses ever – any Arsenal fansout there might prefer not to read this!

Newcastle United, 1995/96 – 12 Point Lead

Arguably the worst collapse by a side chasing the Premier League title came when Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United threw away their 12-point lead in the 1995/96 campaign. In what turned out to be a heart-breaking season for the Toon Army, Newcastle were top from the first day of the season and were still there in mid-March.

The Magpies’ collapse began when they lost 1-0 at home to title rivals Man United. That was a six-pointer and even a draw would have been a great result for them, maintaining their lead. That was swiftly followed by defeats to Arsenal, Liverpool and Blackburn.

As things looked like they were slipping away from Newcastle, they battled to a fine 1-0 away win over Leeds United, after which Keegan gave his now infamous “I will love it if we beat them” rant. They got the three points but Keegan clearly betrayed his underlying angst.

Man United boss Alex Ferguson had questioned whether some of Newcastle’s opponents would try as hard against the Magpies as they had again the Red Devils. This clearly riled Keegan, who said “he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something…” which of course, Fergie and Man United did and won the league by five points!

Manchester United, 1997/98 – 11 Point Lead

Man United were certainly the team to beat in the early years of the Premier League, but it didn’t always go exactly to plan for the great Alex Ferguson. In the 1997/98 season, the Red Devils were 11 points clear at the top of the table at one point (albeit having played more games than the chasing pack). In fact, United were at the pinnacle of the Premier League table from later October until the following April, and having won four of the previous five top-flight titles, many thought they’d go all the way once again. But Arsenal had other ideas.

Arsene Wenger was in his first full season at the club and he had already started to make his mark on the team. But it was the second half of the season that was telling in the race for the title. From Boxing Day until 3rd May, Arsenal didn’t lose a single game, while Man United lost five in that time including – crucially – a 1-0 defeat to the Gunners at Old Trafford. In the end, Arsenal won the league by just a single point, but it could have been a greater margin had they not managed to lose their final two games of the campaign!

Liverpool, 2013/14 – 3 Point Lead

Although Liverpool were not as far clear at the top of the table as others on this list, we felt compelled to include them because of one thing: Steven Gerrard’s crucial slip against Chelsea with just three games left of the season.

In an exciting three-way title race between Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City (with Arsenal also in the mix), Liverpool – managed by Brendan Rodgers at the time – went on a fantastic unbeaten run from New Year’s Day until late February. That took the Reds to the top of the table and they looked in a fantastic position to win their first title of the Premier League era.

Alas, captain Gerrard’s slip against Chelsea at Anfield on 27th April allowed Demba Ba to fire Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea into the lead. Liverpool were unable to recover and lost 2-0, then followed that up with a truly significant collapse: they let a 3-0 lead slip (for want of a better word!) and drew 3-3 at Crystal Palace.

Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City were more than happy to sneak in and wrestle top spot from Liverpool by winning their last five games of the campaign, and thus their second title in three seasons. City finished two points clear of Liverpool, who would have to wait until the health crisis-affected 2019/20 season for their first (and, at the time of writing, only) Premier League crown.

Arsenal, 2002/03 – 8 Point Lead

Okay, our last one isn’t going to instil too much confidence in Arsenal fans, but we’re including it anyway. Having won the league and cup double the previous season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal were riding the crest of a wave and looked to be heading for their third Premier League crown under the Frenchman. Indeed, they occupied top spot in the table from mid-November and looked very much like they’d be staying there and claiming yet more glory.

As it turned out though, a 2-0 defeat to title rivals Man United at Old Trafford, plus late-season defeats to Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United swung the pendulum towards Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils. United won the title by five points in the end… but Arsenal made up for it the following season when they stormed to the title without losing a single match!