As the 2017/18 Premier League season reaches its conclusion, we look back at 10 games which shaped the campaign.
Chelsea 2-3 Burnley (August 12)
Antonio Conte would have expected Chelsea’s Premier League title defence to get off to a winning start against Burnley at Stamford Bridge, but what played out was to set the tone for both teams’ seasons.
Blues captain Gary Cahill was shown a straight red card early before a Sam Vokes double and Stephen Ward handed Sean Dyche’s side a three goal lead at the break. Chelsea, who also had Cesc Fabregas sent off late on, rallied with goals from Alvaro Morata and David Luiz but Burnley held on for a surprise victory.
Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal (August 28)
Was this the first sign of Arsene Wenger’s reign coming to an end at Arsenal? Despite speculation surrounding the futures of both Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger started both, leaving new signing Alexandre Lacazette out.
The Gunners were blown away with Jurgen Klopp’s front three of Roberto Firmino (11), Sadio Mane (42) and Mohamed Salah (57) all finding the net before substitute Daniel Sturridge rounded off the scoring. It proved to be Oxlade-Chamberlain’s last game in an Arsenal shirt before making a £35m move to Liverpool.
Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool (September 10)
Unbeaten in their first three games of the season, Pep Guardiola’s side sent out a statement of intent with comprehensive 5-0 win over 10-man Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.
Just a week after their 4-0 win against Arsenal, Klopp’s team crumbled under the pressure from a Man City side at their brilliant best. Sergio Aguero had already scored before Sadio Mane was sent off in the 37th minute, with Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane adding two goals apiece to send Man City top of the Premier League.
West Brom 0-4 Chelsea (November 18)
The pressure was building on Tony Pulis at West Brom after a run of 10 games without a win, stretching back to August 22, and with Chelsea in town things were not getting much easier for the beleaguered Baggies boss.
Chelsea cruised to a comfortable 4-0 win at the Hawthorns thanks to to goals from Alvaro Morata, Marcos Alonso and two from Eden Hazard in what proved to be Pulis’ final game in charge at West Brom.
Alan Pardew took over as head coach on November 28 but only managed to win one of his 18 league games in charge as the Baggies slipped towards relegation to the Championship.
Manchester United 1-2 City (December 10)
The pressure was on Man Utd to breathe life into their flailing title challenge as rivals City visited Old Trafford for the first Manchester derby of the season.
But things did not go to plan for Jose Mourinho as goals in either half from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi saw City clinch a record 14th consecutive top-flight win to open up an ominous 11-point gap just 16 games into the season.
Pep Guardiola’s side would go on to beat Swansea, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Newcastle before the end of the year to extend their formidable record to 18 straight wins – a new Premier League record, but Guardiola conceded there was still work to do in the title race. “In December it’s impossible to be champions but it’s good for us,” said a jubilant Guardiola afterwards.
WATCH: Man Utd 1-2 Man City Liverpool 4-3 Man City (January 14)
Could Man City follow in the footsteps of Arsenal’s Invincibles and go through the season unbeaten? Not on Liverpool’s watch! Klopp’s side brought City’s unbeaten domestic run to a shuddering halt.
In a thrilling encounter at Anfield, sensational goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in nine devastating second-half minutes saw Liverpool become the first British side to beat Pep Guardiola’s men since Arsenal in the FA Cup last April, ending their 33-game unbeaten domestic run in the process.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had fired the Reds ahead inside nine minutes, only for Leroy Sane to haul the runaway Premier League leaders level before half-time. Late goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan set up a tense finale, but Liverpool held on for a big win.
Arsenal 0-3 Man City (March 1)
Four days after meeting in the Carabao Cup final, Manchester City triumphed by the same scoreline as first-half goals from Bernardo Silva, David Silva and Leroy Sane underlined the gulf between the two sides.
The result moved City 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and piled more pressure onto Wenger. “We must stay united inside” was his message after the game but more defeats on the road and empty seats at the Emirates saw the Frenchman go on to confirm he will step down as the Gunners’ manager at the end of the season.
Chelsea 1-3 Tottenham (April 1)
Tottenham ended their 28-year Stamford Bridge hoodoo as Dele Alli struck twice in a 3-1 win to severely dent Chelsea’s top-four hopes. Not since the days of Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne had Spurs triumphed at the Bridge and their first Premier League win at the ground came the hard way having fallen behind to Alvaro Morata’s opener.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side hit back with Christian Eriksen’s stunning 30-yard strike the real game-changer before Alli struck twice in four minutes in the second-half.
The win left Spurs firmly on course for a second straight top four finish and Pochettino happy with his side’s evolution. “That type of game will help us achieve what we want,” he said. “After nearly four years, a lot has happened at the club and I’m happy with how we are evolving. I remember four years ago when I arrived at Tottenham our challenge was to bridge the top four and now we’re competing with the top sides.”
Manchester United 0-1 West Brom (April 15)
Man City were on the brink of the title following a 3-1 win at Tottenham and only rivals Manchester United could prolong Guardiola’s wait for a first league championship in England.
However, the wait was over as West Brom secured a third Premier League title for City with an unlikely 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Jay Rodriguez headed the title-winning goal from close range on 73 minutes and Mourinho was left unhappy with his team’s lethargic United display following their Manchester derby performance. “I won eight titles and I am not on the moon because I won against Manchester City,” he said. “We deserve to be punished, but the defeat was too heavy.”
Swansea 0-1 Southampton (May 8)
The battle to beat the drop was threatening to go all the way to the final day of the season until substitute Manolo Gabbiadini’s goal 17 minutes from time at the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea and Southampton started the evening on the same number of points and after what was a nervy encounter in south Wales, the Italian’s strike went a long way to securing Southampton’s Premier League status.
WATCH: Swansea 0-1 Southampton