Which Premier League sides failed to win the title after being top at Christmas?

So Chelsea are top at Christmas. A surefire sign that Antonio Conte’s going to win the Premier League at the first attempt, right?


Well not quite. Exactly half of the 24 teams who have been top of the Premier League on Christmas have slipped from the summit.
Norwich were the first to do so in the 1992/93 season, while Liverpool were the last to falter, during the 2013/14 season.
So what went wrong?
Liverpool- 2013/14
Brendan Rodgers’ side faltered against Man City on Boxing Day and then again two days later when Chelsea won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.
An unbeaten run of 16 games gave Liverpool fans hope of a title before Chelsea reared their ugly head again.
One Steven Gerrard slip and a collapse against Crystal Palace collapse later and Liverpool had blown it.
luis-suarez
Liverpool- 2008/09
Liverpool’s midfield trio of Stevie G, Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso, supplying Fernando Torres up top, was a thing of dreams in 2008.
Rafa Benitez’s side only lost once after Christmas, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough, but five draws cost them dear.
Doing the double against United, back when Torres gave Nemanja Vidic nightmares, was a slight silver lining for Liverpool fans.
nemanja-vidic
Arsenal- 2007/08
There was a time when a joke about Arsenal finishing fourth would have resulted in blank stares.
Arsene Wenger’s side were entering a brave new world after Thierry Henry departed to Barcelona in the summer.
Arsenal dropped points in seven of the 13 games from Boxing Day leaving them trailing behind Man United and Chelsea.
thierry-henry
Man United- 2003/04
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Everton on Boxing Day thanks in not little part to David Bellion and Kleberson, who both scored.
But it was, excuse our French, a merde show in 2004 with United losing six times and drawing a further five games including a humbling 4-1 derby defeat.
Who would have thought the summer signings of Kleberson, Eric Djemba-Djemba, David Bellion and Dong Fangzhuo (and some bloke called Cristiano Ronaldo) wouldn’t have been enough?
kleberson
Arsenal- 2002/03
Arsenal said goodbye to two defensive stalwarts in Tony Adams and Lee Dixon prior to the 2002/03 season kicking off.
The actually lost more games before Christmas than they did after, but Man United’s brutal pace meant they slipped to second.
So Arsenal failed to retain their title after selling Richard Wright. Make of that what you will.
arsenal-2002
Newcastle- 2001/02 
If life had panned out ever so slightly different Shola Ameobi and Nikos Dabizas would have been Premier League winners.
Alan Shearer and Laurent Robert’s left-foot blasted Sir Bobby Robson’s side to the top of the Premier League at Christmas.
But losing to Man United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal meant a first league win since 1927 evaded the Geordies.
laurent-robert
Leeds- 1999/00
Leeds’ team of the late Nineties/early Noughties had everything.
A free-scoring left-back, a fit Jonathan ‘Rolls Royce’ Woodgate and Lee Bowyer, who picked up just the 19 bookings across the season but never got sent off.
Eight losses after Christmas put pay to any talk of winning the Premier League, although they did qualify for the Champions League.
ian-harte
Aston Villa- 1998/99
The sale of Dwight Yorke to Man United was meant to leave Villa vulnerable but Julian Joachim and Dion Dublin fired John Gregory’s side to the top of the league.
The pace dropped severely in the second half of the season and seven losses in eight games after Christmas saw Villa finish a distant sixth.
Not even good enough for an Intertoto Cup Third Round qualification spot.
dion-dublin
Man United- 1997/98
United under Fergie became notorious for their blistering post-Christmas pace.
But after winning against Everton on Boxing Day United lost three of the next four games.
Despite the poor run of form United were top until just four games before the end of the season.
nicky-butt
Liverpool- 1996/97
This was the season of the Spice Boys.
It was as exciting a season as it was a disappointing one for Liverpool fans with the emergence of Michael Owen alongside Robbie Fowler.
A blistering strikeforce with a shaky defence. Sound vaguely familiar?
michael-owen
Newcastle- 1995/96
“You can tell him now, we’re still fighting for this title and he’s got to go to Middlesbrough and get something – and I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.”
A meltdown like no other seen before or since. Pure passion. Pure desire. Pure Keegan.
Unfortunately it did nothing to interrupt United’s run to the Premier League title.
kevin-keegan
Norwich- 1992/93
And so we have it. The first team to top the Premier League at Christmas. Of course there was football before 1992, but let’s forget about that.
Norwich went from relegation fodder to table toppers thanks to the goals of Mark Robins.
But in the end they were pipped by Man United and Aston Villa, with relegation following two seasons later.
norwich

Source: James Robinson - Dream Team FA
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