The Premier League is famous for being closely contested since its inception. On more than a couple of occasions, the title race has gone down to the very last matchday. But there have also been times when Premier League winners were crowned quite early as well.
Each season, the favorites to win the English top-flight are proclaimed by many and bets are placed in abundance. Each season the so-called top six intend to strengthen their claim for the honor even though the fight for the title has become more bilateral or trilateral in recent years.
Premier League had some great title-winning sides in the past
The 'Cloak of Invincibility' is still kept safe with Arsenal after their unbelievable season in 2003-04. In recent times, the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City have steamrolled over many clubs in an attempt to put the highest point tallies on board.
However, there have been those Premier League campaigns as well when the fight was much tighter and the champions themselves had a rollercoaster journey. On that note, here are five times who have won the Premier League with the lowest points tally.
Spoiler Alert: If you're thinking there's going to be 5 teams in here, you will be disappointed.
#5 Manchester United - 80 points (2010-11)
In what has proven to be Manchester United's penultimate Premier League trophy in the 21st century, the Red Devils won the league by 80 points. With three matchdays left, Manchester United were sitting at the top with 73 points, closely followed by Chelsea at second on 70 points.
On Matchday 36, the top two teams went against each other at Old Trafford and the Red Devils emerged 2-1 winners. The remaining two games were a draw and win for United against Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool respectively.
The Red Devils were captained by Gary Neville. That season, they lost four games and drew 11, scoring a total of 78 goals and conceding 37. United failed to score in only five matches in the 2010-11 season.
Dimitar Berbatov shared the Golden Boot with Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez, both tied at 20 goals for the season. Berbatov scored three hat-tricks that season, while Wayne Rooney also scored one against West Ham United.
#4 Manchester United - 80 points (2000-01)
The first Premier League title of the 21st Century was bagged by Manchester United and that too with some comfort. With five matches to spare, United had gathered 76 points. The next best team, Arsenal had managed only 60. There was no way a turnaround was possible.
But Sir Alex Ferguson's side lost all of that momentum in those last five games as they could only manage four points out of a possible 15. They finished their campaign with 80 points on the board.
Roy Keane captained Manchester United during the season that saw them win 24 games and lose just six. Teddy Sheringham had an excellent campaign as he scored 15 goals to become United's top scorer in the Premier League that season.
The only other player to reach double figures in goals for United that season was current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Towards the end of the season, Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy had arrived at United. The rest is history.
#3 Manchester United - 79 points (1998-99)
It must have been a very sour experience for Arsenal in the Premier League. Both Manchester United and Arsenal were poised at 72 points with three matches remaining in the 1998-99 season. Chelsea had an outside chance and were at 68 points themselves. However, Arsenal lost the title at Elland Road against Leeds.
The penultimate game of the Premier League saw Manchester United visit Blackburn Rovers and Leeds host Arsenal. The Red Devils and the Gunners were tied at 75 points each with two games remaining. United and Blackburn played a goalless draw and if somehow Arsenal could edge past Leeds, they would have been the favorites and could have defended their title.
However, in the 86th minute, Golden Boot contender and eventual winner Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored one for Leeds as Arsene Wenger's side lost the Premier League title.
For the Red Devils, Trinidad and Tobago striker Dwight Yorke was the standout performer with Andy Cole, as the two scored 18 and 17 goals respectively. The Premier League title was decided by a margin of a single point for a second successive season, with Arsenal winning the previous one.
#2 Arsenal - 78 points (1997-98)
This was Arsene Wenger's first full season in charge at Arsenal. The English media who had mocked him by exclaiming 'Arsene Who?!' was given a befitting reply by the Frenchman, who dedicated his life to Arsenal over the next 20 years.
Arsenal completed the domestic double by winning the Premier League and FA Cup, a feat they previously managed in the 1970-71 season. Wenger's classy and intelligent recruitment was on display from the first moment as he brought in the likes of Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit.
Arsenal and Manchester United won 23 games, but the Gunners lost six and the Red Devils seven that season. Wenger's approach was pretty solid as he did not focus on only one aspect of the game while strengthening his squad. Arsenal scored 68 goals and conceded 33.
Tony Adams, nicknamed Mr. Arsenal, wore the captain's armband for the season. Dennis Bergkamp flew high and mighty for Arsenal, netting 16 goals, which included a hat-trick against Leicester City in a 3-3 draw. Arsenal were eventually crowned champions with just 78 points.
#1 Manchester United - 75 points (1996-97)
Well, that change did not last long, did it. But Manchester United have won 13 Premier League titles and credit has to be given where due. They have won it big, won it with comfort and they have won it dirty as well. On this occasion in 1996-97, they won it with the lowest points tally any Premier League club has ever managed to win the title with.
The Red Devils were bad if you compare them to any other title winning team, but they were still much better than anyone else in the Premier League. Newcastle United, Arsenal and Liverpool finished second, third and fourth respectively with 68 points each. While the champions sat way above them at 75 points.
United had a leaky defense in the season that saw them ship 44 goals, but their adventurous nature in attack was also visible as they scored 76 goals. The captain's armband was worn by United legend Eric Cantona, who played his last season for the club. His 12 assists were the most managed by a player in the Premier League in 1996-97.
This was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's debut season as he answered the expectations of United supporters by becoming their top scorer with 18 goals in the Premier League.