"When Rivals Step In: Arsenal's Hope for Tottenham, Fergie vs. Wenger, Liverpool's Slide, and Newcastle's Struggle"


In what has developed into one of the most unlikely scenarios in football, Arsenal fans will be supporting Tottenham for one night only when they take on Manchester City.

The Gunners need City to drop points in one of their last two matches of the Premier League season, and, with Spurs and West Ham left to play, Tuesday night seems the best bet.

Tottenham have their own aspirations. After Aston Villa’s draw with Liverpool on Monday night, two wins from their last two could seal a return to the Champions League, though fans have been split in what they are looking for from the game.

But what are the chances of that happening? Mail Sport has looked at some historic Premier League moments when teams needed their rivals to do them a favour in the title race. 

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal are relying on arch rivals Tottenham to help them out in the Premier League title race

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are relying on arch rivals Tottenham to help them out in the Premier League title race

Tottenham face Manchester City on Tuesday and stopping City winning would swing the title in Arsenal's favour

Tottenham face Manchester City on Tuesday and stopping City winning would swing the title in Arsenal’s favour

If the defending champions claim victory in their final two matches, they will again win league

If the defending champions claim victory in their final two matches, they will again win league

Everton vs Manchester City, 2014 – Liverpool backing the Toffees

In the 2013-14 season, Liverpool were bidding to win their first-ever Premier League title, with Brendan Rodgers steering the Anfield ship.

It was a three-way title race between the Reds, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Liverpool were in pole position with three games to go, having just beaten City in an 11-game winning run.

Then, however, Gerrard slipped and Chelsea won at Anfield. The ball was no longer in their court, City in charge.

Pellegrini’s side took on Everton in Liverpool’s City, with the Reds relying on their neighbours to do them a favour. It looked like that was going to happen when Ross Barkley put the Toffees in front, but Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko made sure City took the three points as they ran out 3-2 winners.

Liverpool would later draw with Crystal Palace while City carried on winning. The champions finished on 86 points, Liverpool 84, and Chelsea 82. 

Manuel Pellegrini's Manchester City side faced a tough trip to Everton in their 2014 run-in

Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City side faced a tough trip to Everton in their 2014 run-in

City trailed early on, but turned it around and went on to claim the league ahead of Liverpool

City trailed early on, but turned it around and went on to claim the league ahead of Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers' side fell short, losing against Chelsea before a draw at Crystal Palace

Brendan Rodgers’ side fell short, losing against Chelsea before a draw at Crystal Palace

Middlesbrough vs Manchester United, 1996 – No love for Keegan from Boro 

One of the most iconic moments in the history of the Premier League remains Kevin Keegan’s rant towards the end of the 1995-96 Premier League season.

Newcastle at one point had a 12-point lead over United, but their form fell off a cliff towards the back end of the season and they fell short of winning the title by an eventual four points.

There was a lot of bitterness in the run-in, with Sir Alex Ferguson suggesting Leeds, who Newcastle took on in the 36th game of the season, would go easy on the Magpies to try and make sure rivals United didn’t win the league.

Despite Ferguson’s diss, they needed a favour from Leeds, which they didn’t get with Newcastle winning 1-0.

The ultimate request for a favour, however, came on the final day. United held a two-point lead and a vastly superior goal difference. The Red Devils were to take on Middlesbrough, who were mid table and had nothing to play for.

Newcastle needed their North East rivals to do them a solid, but a comfortable 3-0 win at the Riverside for Ferguson’s men finally put paid to their title hopes. As it was, Keegan’s side failed to hold up their end of the bargain in any case, drawing 1-1 at home to Spurs. 

He would have loved it if they had beaten them. 

Kevin Keegan took aim for Sir Alex Ferguson during an explosive outburst in 1995-96

Kevin Keegan took aim for Sir Alex Ferguson during an explosive outburst in 1995-96

Newcastle were 12 points clear in the league but fell short of winning their first Premier League title

Newcastle were 12 points clear in the league but fell short of winning their first Premier League title

Liverpool vs Blackburn, 1995 – United fall short

In the final-ever 42-game and 22-team Premier League season, Blackburn made history by edging out United to win their first and only title.

Going into the final game, United trailed Alan Shearer and Co by two points and needed both sides’ results to go their way on the final day. They would take on West Ham, while Blackburn would face Liverpool.

Things actually went to plan on Merseyside. Liverpool fans were in a similar position to what Tottenham supporters are now – they were fighting for Europe but would help their rivals in helping themselves.

The Reds won 2-1. Blackburn’s hopes potentially scuppered at the final hurdle. But to United’s agony, they could only muster a 1-1 draw at West Ham.

A win would have given them the league, but they ultimately fell one point short.

Blackburn lifted their only Premier League trophy in 1995 despite losing the last game of the season

Blackburn lifted their only Premier League trophy in 1995 despite losing the last game of the season

Liverpool beat Blackburn, but United drew with West Ham and fell a point short of the trophy

Liverpool beat Blackburn, but United drew with West Ham and fell a point short of the trophy

Manchester United vs Tottenham, 1999 – De ja vu for Gunners

Arsenal could have had the title in the palm of their hands going into the last day of the 1998-99 season, but lost 1-0 to Europe-chasing Leeds to swing the pendulum into United’s favour.

Frustration only increased when it was Tottenham that the Gunners were relying on to do them a favour – some things never change.

They were unable to do so, though it did look at one point that it could happen when Les Ferdinand gave the visitors the lead.

David Beckham and Andy Cole, however, were on target to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson won his first title on home turf, and the goals were needed, with Arsenal beating Aston Villa in the capital.

United would go onto win the Treble, with the side going down as one of the best in Premier League history. 

Just like this year, Arsenal were relying on Tottenham to help them out in the 1998-99 title race

Just like this year, Arsenal were relying on Tottenham to help them out in the 1998-99 title race

Their North London rivals couldn't deliver, however, and United went onto win the Treble

Their North London rivals couldn’t deliver, however, and United went onto win the Treble

Arsenal vs Leeds, 2003 – Sir Alex’s rivals help out

Seven years on from the iconic battle between Keegan and Ferguson, United again found themselves relying on Leeds to help them in the title race.

It was close between the Red Devils and Arsenal with three games to go, Arsene Wenger’s side trailing by two points with Leeds, Southampton and Sunderland left to play.

United had to face Tottenham, Charlton and Everton, and would surely have to win all their games to be crowned champions again.

Ultimately, that wasn’t the case. Leeds helped out their rivals, beating the Gunners 3-2 at Highbury in one of the biggest shocks of the season to all but hand the title to United.

Arsenal would win their last two, but United won all three of their remaining games. Ultimately, the Leeds result didn’t have a direct impact on the league standings – United finishing five points clear – but it avoided any pressure there may have been in the final two matches. 

Leeds beat Arsenal in the 2002-03 run in to help United on their way to another Championship

Leeds beat Arsenal in the 2002-03 run in to help United on their way to another Championship

United eventually finished five points clear, with all pressure taken off them but Arsenal's loss

United eventually finished five points clear, with all pressure taken off them but Arsenal’s loss

United later needed Liverpool to do them a favour against Chelsea in 2010, but the Blues won the game 2-0

United later needed Liverpool to do them a favour against Chelsea in 2010, but the Blues won the game 2-0

Liverpool vs Chelsea, 2009-10 – No repeat for Red Devils

Carlo Ancelotti – wonder what he’s up to now – took Chelsea to their third Premier League title in 2010 as they edged past, you guessed it, United.

Just like in 1995, the Red Devils turned to Liverpool for a favour, this time in the penultimate game of the campaign as the Blues travelled to Anfield in a tricky game.

It was on paper, at least, with Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard taking their side to the brink going into the final day.

United, who won their last four, were powerless as Chelsea put eight past Wigan on the final day, with the runners-up made to rue their 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in April. 



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