May 13, 2012, the Stadium of Light. Manchester United stand on the pitch awaiting confirmation of an astonishing 20th league title having defeating Sunderland 1-0 on the final day of the season. News filters into the stadium that Sergio Aguero has scored Manchester City’s second injury time goal to give the Citizens a 3-2 win over QPR, ripping the trophy from the hands of the Reds.
The drama of that moment can scarcely be expressed in words. That had been one of the closest title races in memory in any league in the world, and its conclusion had been enough to give Roy of the Rovers a heart attack.
Fast forward 11 months and Manchester United gain their revenge, clinching that 20th league title with four games left to play. When their fans pack into The Hawthorns for the final 90 minutes of their season, there will surely be a much smaller number biting nails and pulling their hair out. Those activities will be reserved for fans of Arsenal, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Newcastle et al.
The title race may have been a one-horse affair, but the rest of the table is as close and exciting as we've ever seen it. With two clubs already deservedly relegated thanks to a ridiculous 0-0 draw, a further 8 teams face the mathematical possibility of joining them in the Championship.
A little higher up the table, London’s finest and a northern outsider seek a place among Europe’s elite. Tottenham have known for some time that a repeat of the heartbreak that followed last year’s fourth placed finish is impossible and boosted by PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale, have looked a genuine threat for a second consecutive top-four finish.
This year’s Premier League season has seen places 3-18 contested as closely as we have ever seen, and for that reason alone, it has been every bit as entertaining as the 2011-12 edition. On 19th May, nearly every stadium in the country will be packed with fans ready to celebrate, or indeed mourn, with their team. Don’t look away just yet.