Ranked! The 10 best Premier League teams EVER
6. Chelsea (2005/06)
This Chelsea isn’t held in the same esteem as their title-winning side of the previous season, but they were nearly as good: only four fewer points (thanks to two defeats when the title was already sealed) and the same number of goals scored. Frank Lampard was still firing, Didier Drogba improved and Hernan Crespo returned from a loan spell to contribute some crucial goals.
There wasn’t the same dynamism from Damien Duff and Arjen Robben, but Joe Cole became a regular and effectively sealed the title with a brilliant goal at Stamford Bridge against closest rivals Manchester United. Michael Essien, meanwhile, was probably the key addition, bringing yet more power to Chelsea’s engine room.
There’s something peculiarly lacking about this Chelsea side – perhaps some genuine flair and some more memorable moments. But in terms of their statistics and dominance over rivals, this is the most underrated Premier League title-winning side.
5. Manchester United (2008/09)
There’s a comparison with the 1999/2000 title winners to be made here: while the previous campaign is remembered more fondly thanks to United’s Champions League success, they became a better side afterwards. Whereas the previous campaign it was Avram Grant’s ramshackle Chelsea side that United narrowly overcame in the league, this time they powered ahead of Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool – perhaps the best non-title-winning side of the Premier League era.
Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t quite so fearsome, and the absence of Owen Hargreaves was a blow, but United had added Dimitar Berbatov to their attacking options. Whereas in 2007/08 they sometimes lacked a genuine penalty box presence, the Bulgarian brought both height and guile.
Most remarkable, though, was the astonishing run of 14 clean sheets from November to late February – the most impenetrable period in Premier League history. This wasn’t a spectacular side, as United scored nine fewer goals than second-placed Liverpool, and lost home and away to Benitez’s side – but they were a brilliant unit.
4. Chelsea (2016/17)
It’s occasionally difficult to place modern achievements in a historical hall of fame, but no one should doubt the scale of Chelsea’s title victory last season. In one of the most competitive Premier League seasons ever, Antonio Conte’s side recorded 93 points – the second highest in Premier League history following their 2004/05 efforts – and helped to transform the Premier League in a tactical sense too.
After a poor start, Chelsea’s autumn switch to a 3-4-3 brought a sudden run of six clean sheets and 12 straight victories which took them from eighth place to runaway title favourites. Opponents couldn’t cope with the overlapping wing-back duo of Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses, while Eden Hazard menacingly drifted inside from the left, and Diego Costa banged in the goals up front.
Defensively, the three-man unit held firm, while N’Golo Kante proved the signing of the season for the second straight season, providing boundless energy and ball-winning qualities in midfield. Conte even found a place for serial assister Cesc Fabregas, having jettisoned him in the early weeks. The Chelsea title winners of two years beforehand fell over the line, but this side kept on going.