I still vividly remember May 13, 2012. That was the final day of the 2011-12 English Premier League season. A season which featured an EPL battle, a Champions League battle and a Relegation battle all in the same day. I didn’t have a team in any fight so I was free to be a neutral observer. Manchester City and Manchester United were tied and fighting for 1st place. Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle had 3rd, 4th and 5th and were going for 3rd place due to Chelsea winning Champions League and taking a spot away from 4th. QPR and Bolton were fighting to not get relegated.
In the span of 90 minutes, results changed multiple times in all of those competitions. In the end, everything stayed the same. Arsenal finished 3rd, Tottenham was 4th and Newcastle ended 5th. QPR and Bolton both lost and Bolton ended up getting relegated. Manchester City and Manchester United both won their games to give City the win on goal differential. That may be the most boring way to have ever explained what happened so it’s better to show what happened.
The change of emotions was insane all day long but it was really prevalent in this 10 minute stretch as the teams entered into stoppage time and the immediate aftermath post game. Manchester City had to score twice in stoppage time to come back and beat their hated rivals, Manchester United after not winning since 1968. Manchester United even had the title won when their game against Sunderland was over. It took about 15 seconds after that final whistle until Manchester City took the lead and the title once and for all with the AAAAAGGGGGUUUUUUEEEEEERRRRRROOOOOOOOO!!!!! goal according to Martin Tyler.
The closest example I could come up with that’s similar to that day was in Formula 1 in the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix. In the final race of that season, under changing weather conditions, Felipe Massa was in 2nd and needed a win and Lewis Hamilton finishing 6th or worse to be named champion. Masha won the race and Hamilton was 6th. About 10 seconds after Massa crossed the line, Hamilton overtook into 5th in the final turn and finished with a 1 point lead to keep 1st place and win the championship.
That day was one of the most pivotal days in the Manchester Derby rivalry and the two teams didn’t play against each other. In just a couple minutes, the future of both teams permanently changed forever. We’ll never know what would happen if Aguero’s shot went wide instead of in the goal but it’s fun to speculate. Here is what would happen if Manchester United won the 2011-12 EPL title.
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