Liverpool in their Bob Paisley pomp, Jose Mourinho’s winning machine at Chelsea and two vintage Man United teams under Fergie… The great sides Man City are poised to surpass for league wins in a calendar year as Pep Guardiola racks up another record
- Manchester City are closing in on another record under Pep Guardiola
- If they beat Leeds on Tuesday, they’ll equal a long-standing Liverpool record
- In 1982, Bob Paisley’s Reds won 33 league matches in a calendar year
- City have four more games this year to try and establish a new highest total
- They’ve already moved past Chelsea’s 2005 vintage and Liverpool in 2019
- This list of memorable teams also includes two Man United title winners
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City stand on the brink of breaking a long-standing record in England’s top-flight.
Just a few days after Guardiola himself demolished the records of Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger by becoming the fastest manager to 150 Premier League wins, more history is imminent.
If City beat Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, they will rack up their 33rd league win of the calendar year.
Pep Guardiola, who guided Manchester City to their third Premier League title in four season back in May, is poised to break a record that has stood for almost 40 years
City overcame Wolves on Saturday to record their 32nd league win of 2021 and have four more opportunities before the year is out to surpass Liverpool’s 1982 record of 33
And if they then win one of their three remaining games before 2021 is out, they will eclipse a Liverpool record that has stood for almost 40 years.
While Guardiola’s side fell at the final hurdle when it came to the Champions League, losing to Chelsea in the final, they have dominated domestically.
They won a third Premier League title in four seasons, setting plenty of records along the way, and added the Carabao Cup for good measure.
But how does this City side compare to Liverpool’s record-holding 1982 vintage and the very handy teams they have already overtaken or matched to reach this point?
LIVERPOOL 1982 – 33 league wins in calendar year
Liverpool were in their Bob Paisley pomp when this record was established, winning league championships for fun and conquering Europe too.
The ironic thing is that 1982 was a slightly fallow year by their standards at the time. They did win Division One in 1981-82, finishing four points clear of Ipswich Town in the final reckoning.
A timeless Liverpool side containing the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness, Ian Rush, Phil Neal, Alan Kennedy, Mark Lawrenson and Phil Thompson also retained the League Cup.
Kenny Dalglish (left), Mark Lawrenson (middle) and Ronnie Whelan (right) celebrate Liverpool’s title success in 1982
Title celebrations on the pitch at Anfield in 1982 as Bob Paisley’s side lifted another trophy
Paisley celebrates winning the Bell’s Whisky Manager of the Year award during that year
But they would fall short in their defence of the European Cup, knocked out by CSKA Sofia in the quarter-finals.
Their league form, however, was pretty much impeccable. During the championship run-in of the 1981-82 season, they won 20 games between January and May, dropping points in only five (it should be noted Division One consisted of 42 games a season in those days).
And despite a few wobbles, a further 13 wins in the first-half of the 1982-83 season set Paisley’s team en course for an even more dominant title win. They finished 11 points clear of Watford.
MAN CITY 2021 – 32 wins (and counting)
So how do City measure up? Well, 20 wins between January and May was always likely to deliver the league trophy and Guardiola’s team finished a whopping 12 points ahead of Man United.
What’s remarkable is the consistency with which the team won. Between December 2020 and March 2021, City won 21 matches across all competitions during an 82-day period.
Fernandinho lifts the Premier League trophy as City claimed the title for the third time in four years back in May
City’s remaining games in 2021
Tuesday Leeds United (H)
Sunday Newcastle United (A)
December 26 Leicester City (H)
December 29 Brentford (A)
While there would be four league defeats during the closing weeks of the season, it would have taken an awful lot more to prevent them becoming champions of England for the seventh time in their history.
Having lost at Tottenham on the opening day of the current campaign, City have largely continued that relentless victory march.
They are currently on a six-match winning run, which has taken them top of the Premier League table.
They will be expected to continue that against Leeds on Tuesday night and then have games against Newcastle, Leicester and Brentford before the year is out to pull clear of Liverpool’s record.
CHELSEA 2005 – 32 wins
City are poised to surpass a Chelsea team who, like them, enjoyed their own period of Premier League domination.
Jose Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge saw him build nothing short of a winning machine, back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 being their reward.
From the defensive steel of John Terry, William Gallas and Ricardo Carvalho through a midfield containing Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele to the prolific Didier Drogba up front, this was a formidable Chelsea side.
The 2004-05 season saw them finish 12 points ahead of reigning champions Arsenal, losing just one game all season and winning 14 of 19 league fixtures from New Year’s Day onwards.
Jose Mourinho lifts the trophy flanked by Frank Lampard (left) and John Terry (right) in 2005
This momentum simply rolled on into the following season, with Chelsea winning their first nine games and losing just the once before the turn of the year.
Leading the way from August 24 until the finish line, it really was little wonder they won the league by an eight-point margin from Man United.
LIVERPOOL 2019 – 31 wins
A Liverpool side in hot pursuit that would before long end their 30-year wait for a league title.
Liverpool’s impressive 2019 started with a 2-1 defeat to title rivals Man City on January 3.
That would prove vital – it was the only league match Jurgen Klopp’s team lost all season and they ultimately finished 2018-19 a point behind City despite going the remaining 17 games undefeated and winning their last nine.
Liverpool came up just short in the Premier League in 2019 but would win it a year later
Jurgen Klopp’s side did win the Champions League, however, beating Tottenham in the final
One rather large consolation was that they would win the Champions League, beating Tottenham 2-0 in the final.
Determined not to come away empty-handed in the Premier League again, Liverpool started the following season like an express train.
They won 18 of their first 19 games – the exception being a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford – to eventually romp away with the title by an 18-point margin despite the interruption of Covid-19.
MAN UNITED 2009 – 31 wins
It would be unusual not to have a Manchester United team on this list given their domination of the first two decades of the Premier League.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2009 vintage and his 1993 cohort both achieved 31 league wins in a calendar year and both won the title.
In 2009, a side containing Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand would win a third consecutive championship and equal Liverpool’s record of 18 title wins.
Cristiano Ronaldo kisses the Premier League trophy after United’s three-in-a-row in 2009
A textbook run-in saw United win 17 of 20 games from the start of January to pip Liverpool by four points. They also reached the Champions League final, but lost 2-0 to Barcelona in Rome.
Despite a further 14 wins at the beginning of 2009-10, United soon found themselves trailing Chelsea with losses to Burnley, Liverpool, Chelsea, Aston Villa and Fulham before the end of 2009 leaving them with too much to do.
MAN UNITED 1993 – 31 wins
The very first Premier League season saw United end a 26-year wait for the title with Fergie learning how to stay the pace in a frantic run-in.
From a 4-1 success over Tottenham on January 9 and a 2-1 final day win at Wimbledon, United won 14 of their 20 league games. Crucially, they won their last seven to move ahead of Aston Villa and Norwich to win it by 10 points.
A strong winning sequence ended Manchester United’s wait for the league title in 1993
That served as rocket fuel for an even more impressive 1993-94, in which a United side featuring Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Steve Bruce, Peter Schmeichel and Giggs won a league and cup Double.
They stormed out of the blocks with 17 wins in the opening half of the season, losing just once and assuming a lead of the table they wouldn’t relinquish as early as August 23.
TOTTENHAM 1960 – 31 wins
A vintage Tottenham team under Bill Nicholson, who followed up a third-place finish in the 1959-60 season behind Burnley and Wolves with their own league and cup Double in 1961, the first English club to achieve this.
The vast majority of their 31 wins during 1960 come at the beginning of that successful season, with 22 between the beginning of the campaign on August 20 and New Year’s Eve.
Bill Nicholson leads champagne celebrations after Tottenham won the league title in 1961
They also won the FA Cup to become the first team in English football to win the Double
That allowed room for slip-ups during the run-in but a team containing Danny Blanchflower, Cliff Jones and Bobby Smith ultimately won it by eight points even in the days of two points for a win.
Impressively, they won their first 11 league games of 1960-61 and 15 of the opening 16 before losing to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
If 1960 brought the sweet taste of regular wins for Spurs, 1961 would bring the trophies to crown it.
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