7 pivotal moments that ended a title pursuit
1. Eduardo injured, Clichy concedes (Arsenal, 2007/08)
Martin Taylor's lunge on Eduardo left the Croatian with a fracture to his left fibula and a dislocated left ankle, an injury which visibly distressed the striker's team-mate
Despite the departure of household names such as Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg, Arsenal were exceeding expectations heading into the closing stages of the 2007/2008 season. With just one defeat in their first 26 games – at Middlesbrough – the Gunners were playing scintillating football and looked on track to win a first league title in four years.
Five points clear with 12 games left to play heading into February's clash with Birmingham, Arsenal's season would be derailed over the next 90 minutes. Martin Taylor's lunge on Eduardo left the Croatian with a fracture to his left fibula and a dislocated left ankle, an injury which visibly distressed the striker's team-mates.
Nevertheless, Theo Walcott's second-half brace put the visitors 2-1 up at St Andrew's, a lead which they looked like holding onto until the dying stages. Gael Clichy conceded a penalty in stoppage time, though, and James McFadden's conversion prompted captain William Gallas to launch an astonishing tantrum in the centre circle.
Arsenal eventually finished third after taking only seven points from the next 21 available.
2. Fergie stuck in Toffee (Man United, 2011/12)
In what was a rollercoaster of a season, Manchester United looked in pole position to win the title in 2011/12: following a 4-0 triumph over Aston Villa, the Red Devils moved five points clear of Manchester City with just four matches remaining.
A home clash with Everton followed, and it seemed as though Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were set to move one step closer to retaining their crown as a Wayne Rooney effort put the hosts 4-2 up in the second half. Everton fought back, however, netting two goals in three minutes late on to snatch a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.
City then beat Wolves 2-0 to close the gap to three points, before Roberto Mancini’s charges defeated United at the Etihad to move top on goal difference. They nearly threw it all away on the final day, but Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero ensured City beat QPR to secure the championship.
3. Kenyon clears his desk (Chelsea, 2009/10)
Something changed following the departure of chief executive Peter Kenyon, as Ancelotti’s men suddenly became inconsistent and unreliable
Chelsea broke records in Carlo Ancelotti’s debut season in 2009/10 as they won the league title for the first time in four years. They started the 2010/11 campaign in similarly commanding fashion, with back-to-back 6-0 wins shooting them to the summit after two games.
Something changed following the departure of chief executive Peter Kenyon, however. It's difficult to know how much can be apportioned to the episode, but Ancelotti’s men suddenly became inconsistent and unreliable. Chelsea won just six of their next 17 league encounters, dropping down to fifth, and although they eventually climbed back up the table to finish second, the damage had been done.
Kenyon's replacement, Ron Gourlay, struggled to build the same relationships as his predecessor. Said Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke in 2013: "I have no contacts at Chelsea. Chelsea have not been around long in terms of European football. For a while there was Group 14 and they were not a member. Chelsea had Peter Kenyon back then, I had a good relationship with him, but since he left the club I do not with the others."