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Premier League 25th Anniversary: Top 25 Season Performances

As the Premier League reached its 25th year, RealSport takes a look at the best 25 season performances by clubs in our favourite league...


25. Portsmouth 2007/08

The 2007/08 season was an historic one for Portsmouth and Harry Redknapp, as their highest ever Premier League finish was matched with an FA Cup win. Pompey’s team won over many fans around the country as international stars such as Sulley Muntari, Lassana Diarra and Jermain Defoe shone at Fratton Park. An eighth-place finish was a fantastic achievement for Redknapp and his squad.  

24. Reading 2006/07

Tipped for an immediate return to the Championship, Steve Coppell’s men defied the odds and achieved an eighth-place spot in the table. The likes of Steve Sidwell, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Doyle were all capable of making the step up to the Premier League, making Reading a tough customer for any side. 

23. Southampton 2014/15

Ronald Koeman’s introduction to English football was a breath of fresh air on the south coast. The Saints had been on an upward curve and achieved an impressive seventh-place finish as they threatened to break into the elite top six. Koeman was rewarded with two Manager of the Month awards. 

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22. Burnley 2016/17

Sean Dyche’s men were tipped for immediate relegation after earning promotion in 2015/16, having been immediately relegated on their previous two appearances in the top flight. However, despite using the majority of their Championship-winning side, a strong home record ensured that the Clarets secured their Premier League status with relative ease. 

21. Aston Villa 2007/08

At the time a permanent fixture in the Premier League, Villa were often regarded as too inconsistent to ever have any significant success. However, Martin O’Neill constructed an exciting side with Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor and top scorer John Carew, and they scored 71 goals on their way to a sixth-place finish. 

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20. Bolton Wanderers 2004/05

The early Noughties were a successful time for Bolton Wanderers under Sam Allardyce, and culminated in a fantastic 2004/05 campaign. The Trotters were the ultimate ‘tough team to beat’ and ground their way to a sixth-place finish, finishing level on points with Liverpool and only three points off a Champions League spot. 

19. Bournemouth 2015/16

Whilst the 2016/17 season was far more successful for Eddie Howe’s side, their inaugural Premier League campaign was arguably more impressive. The Cherries went into the season as the ultimate underdogs and were tipped by almost everyone for certain relegation. Yet Howe’s side defeated the odds and comfortably survived with practically the same time that they came up with. 

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18. Everton 2004/05

Always seen as slight underachievers, Everton finally managed to break into the elite circle in 2004/05. David Moyes’ side surpassed rivals Liverpool to take the fourth Champions League spot, despite finishing the season on a goal difference of -1.

17. Sunderland 1999/00

Having previously been relegated at the first attempt – and with top goal-scorers on four goals each – hopes were slim for new boys Sunderland in 1999. However, their second spell could not have been more different. Peter Reid led them to 7th spot – above Newcastle United – with a lethal partnership of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips up top providing 44 goals between them. 

16. Ipswich Town 2000/01

George Burley led newly promoted Ipswich Town to a UEFA Cup spot despite being deemed as relegation certainties before the start of the season. Striker Marcus Stewart won the Golden Boot with an impressive 21 goals as the Tractor Boys defied the odds to finish in fifth, above Chelsea. 

They were relegated the following season but did squeeze in a glamour tie against Inter Milan for good measure. 

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15. Norwich City 1992/93

The initiation of the Premier League brought great excitement for everyone in English football, and seemingly gave many teams a sense of ambition. In Norwich City’s case, the Canaries went from 18th the previous season to 3rd in 1992/93. 

Mike Walker’s men were eight points clear at Christmas, but eventually surrendered their lead to Manchester United in the final weeks of the season. 

14. Tottenham Hotspur 2016/17

An array of English talent taking the Premier League by storm after a disappointing tournament exit. It was the perfect comeback by Harry Kane, Dele Alli and co. in response to the bashing that English football took after Euro 2016. 

Although not quite good enough to overhaul Chelsea, Mauricio Pochettino’s men did well to turn dominance into a title race and played some lovely football along the way. 

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13. Leeds United 1999/00

Seeing Leeds’ name in Premier League discussion is a throwback in itself, but their performance in the 1999/00 season is worth it. David O’Leary’s men came in third place in the league and impressed with the youthful talent that was possessed in the squad. 

Jonathan Woodgate, Lee Bowyer, Alan Smith and Young Player of the Year Harry Kewell were a refreshing force and led Leeds to their highest finish since 1992.

12. Newcastle United 1995/96

Kevin Keegan would have ‘loved it’ if this Newcastle side had gone onto be higher on this list, but after blowing a 12 point title lead to Manchester United it seems appropriate to be in this spot. 

Ignoring the negativity of the collapse, the Magpies fuelled their title-charge with some free-flowing attacking football and 25 goals from England striker Les Ferdinand. Facundo Asprilla and David Ginola provided the flair to make Newcastle one of the most likeable teams in the country. 

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11. Liverpool 2013/14

Despite ending the season with heartbreak, Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool was one of the best sides that the league has seen. With Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling up-front, the Reds scored 101 goals and put in some scintillating attacking performances to catch the imaginations of football fans up and down the country. 

It was an unfortunate slip from talisman Steven Gerrard that saw the dream tumble down, but their performances will never be forgotten by the Kop. 

10. Chelsea 2016/17

The first title winners that we have are last season’s victors. Despite being regarded as one of the worst champions of all time, Chelsea recorded the most victories in a single season (30) and bounced back from a 10th-place finish in 2015/16 to take the Premier League crown. 

In a season in which Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola were supposed to dominate, it was Antonio Conte who proved himself to be number one with his fourth consecutive club league title. 

9.Blackburn Rovers 1994/95

Whilst this may seem like another Leicester City story to the untrained eye, Blackburn Rovers’ title win was not quite as shocking as you may think. Fuelled by Jack Walker’s money, Kenny Dalglish’s men were the league’s ‘rich boys’ and had the likes of Alan Shearer (34 goals) and Chris Sutton (15 goals) up front firing them to victory. 

Their victory was one of the tightest in history, winning by a single point over Manchester United following last day drama.

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8. Arsenal 2001/02

Arsenal only lost three games as they stormed to Premier League victory in 2001/02. Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Freddie Ljungberg provided a free-flowing stream of goals throughout the season, and were backed up by defensive steel with new acquisition Sol Campbell at the back. 

The glory of the season was all the sweeter as the Gunners won the league at Old Trafford, beating reigning champions Manchester United 1-0. 

7. Manchester United 2007/08

Arguably the best Manchester United team in the Premier League era, the 2007/08 squad managed to win the Premier League and Champions League double, in two epic battles with Chelsea. What gave United the edge was their attacking trio. 

In their own version of MSN (Messi, Suarez, Neymar) they enjoyed the goal-scoring exploits of Carlos Tevez (14 goals), Wayne Rooney (12) and Cristiano Ronaldo (31). 

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6. Chelsea 2009/10

Whilst often overlooked in the discussions of best Premier League winners, Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea were the highest scoring side in the competition’s history. The Italian’s team scored a remarkable 103 goals as they pipped Manchester United to the trophy on the final day of the season, with an 8-0 victory over Wigan Athletic. 

Didier Drogba enjoyed his most prolific season, with 29 goals, and Frank Lampard also chipped-in with 22 goals from central-midfield. 

5. Manchester City 2011/12

The noisy neighbours to Manchester United finally managed to wrestle the crown in 2012 with one of the most dramatic title races of all time. With six games remaining, Ferguson’s United were eight points ahead of Roberto Mancini’s City, and the title looked to be over. However, a dodgy patch of form hit the Red Devils and took the title to the final day.

In one of the biggest football rollercoasters we’ve ever witnessed, QPR threatened to ruin City’s dreams with a battling performance at the Etihad Stadium. United won at Sunderland and ended their game as champions before Edin Dzeko equalised and Sergio Aguero won it in the 94th minute to ensure that City won their first title on goal difference. 

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4. Manchester United 1999/00

I can tell you now, it’s not easy to pick the best out of Manchester United’s title wins. However, the winner must go to the 1999/00 season purely down to their dominance. Sir Alex’s men won the title by a record 18 points, and scored 97 goals in the process. 

Driven forward by the deadly duo of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, United ran away with the league and showcased their superiority. One of Ferguson’s finest. 

3. Chelsea 2004/05

The arrival of the ‘Special One’ in José Mourinho was iconic for English football. The carefree, rogue and charming Portuguese manager won the hearts of many and showed his true talents with a runaway Premier League victory in his inaugural season. 

His Chelsea side stormed to their first title in 50 years with a record 95 points, losing only one game and conceding a mere 15 goals. The core duo of John Terry and Frank Lampard cemented their status within English football and would go on to multiply their honours list.    

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2. Arsenal 2003/04

I know Arsenal fans, how on earth are the Invincibles not at the top of this list? If it wasn’t for a certain Italian underdog, Arsene Wenger’s unbeaten men would be far and away ahead of any other club season. The phenomenal feat was driven by a team of goals, grit and leadership – it was Arsenal, I promise – and the performances of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry especially will go down in history. 

Wenger’s men finished with 26 wins and 12 draws as they swiped away all that tried to break their impermeable record.  

1. Leicester City 2014/15

It was always going to take a minor miracle to beat the Invincibles to this gong, and that is exactly what we have. In the ultimate football fairytale, Claudio Ranieri was initially written off before leading the unlikely cast of relegation candidates to Premier League glory. The Foxes were impeccable throughout the season, leading the giants of the league in their tracks. 

If the narrative of Leicester City winning the Premier League wasn’t enough, ex-non league striker Jamie Vardy broke the record of consecutive goals, scoring in 11 games in a row. Unlike the unbeaten Arsenal, it is nearly impossible to see anything like this ever happening again and has cemented Ranieri and co. into football folklore. 

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  1. Which club performance was the best over the last 25 years of the Premier League?

    1. Leicester City 2015/16
    2. Arsenal 2003/04
    3. Chelsea 2004/05
    4. Manchester United 1999/00
    5. Other
    21 votes
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Jack Colman

I'm a 22-year-old Chelsea fan (since 2000, before you ask...) with a strong love of both Cesar Azpilicueta and Isco. I'm a student at University of Nottingham, studying English, Spanish and Portuguese, and spent last year living in Argentina and Brazil.

Premier League 25th Anniversary: Top 25 Season Performances

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