Manchester United’s shock 1-0 home defeat to West Brom on Sunday afternoon officially confirmed what fans of the Premier League have known for some time now: Manchester City are the champions.
And with that, last season’s top dogs Chelsea must officially hand over their crown.
Chelsea’s title defence this campaign represents a significant fall from grace for the Blues and – with last season’s PFA Player and Manager of the Season in their ranks – the West Londoners are looking increasingly unlikely to even qualify for next season’s Champions League by finishing in fourth spot.
Let’s take a look at seven other title defences which equally didn’t go to plan.
7. Leicester City – Premier League 2016/17
This first inclusion should take nothing away from Leicester City’s unfathomable Premier League title win of 2015/16.
However it must be pointed out, statistically speaking, Leicester produced the worst title defence of the Premier League era finishing 49 points off the top in 12th place.
Their dismal beginning to the season even saw the club part ways with the previous season’s messiah Claudio Ranieri with relegation appearing a real possibility at one stage.
Thankfully the Foxes did have something to shout about that season, with an admirable run to the Champions League quarter finals during their debut season alongside Europe’s elite.
6. Montpellier – Ligue 1 2012/13
Spearheaded by Olivier Giroud’s goalscoring prowess, Montpellier’s title victory of 2011/12 is France’s answer to the Leicester City fairytale.
But like Leicester, the following season was – perhaps inevitably – a different story. Montpellier finished in an underwhelming ninth position finishing closer to the relegated Nancy in 18th than to runaway champions PSG.
Montpellier’s debut season in the Champions League was equally disappointing, as the Ligue 1 side finished rock bottom of their group without recording a single victory.
5. Chelsea – Champions League 2012/13
Chelsea’s 2013 Europa League victory acted as a useful tool to cover over the cracks of an atrocious Champions League defence.
Following that famous night in Munich, Chelsea entered the following season’s competition as favourites to top Group E consisting of Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk and Danish minnows Nordsjælland.
Failure to beat the Old Lady home or away coupled with an away defeat to Shakhtar saw Chelsea finish in third place and become the first ever defending European champions to fail to progress beyond the group phase, as Roberto Di Matteo faced the sack just six months after lifting Ol’ Big Ears.
4. Leeds United – Premier League 1992/93
Leeds United entered the Premier League’s inaugural season as English champions having won the 1991/92 English First Division the previous campaign, pipping Manchester United to the post by four points.
To say things didn’t quite go to plan the following year, however, would be an understatement.
Talisman Eric Cantona had left to join eventual champions Manchester United by November as Leeds astonishingly failed to win a single away match all season and narrowly avoided relegation in 17th place, a monumental 33 points off the top.
3. France – World Cup 2002
In a squad which boasted the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry to name a few, World and European champions France were quite rightly hot favourites heading into the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea.
An injury to talismanic leader Zidane in the final warm-up match set the tone for Les Blues. A shocking 1-0 opening defeat to World Cup minnows Senegal was followed by a disappointing goalless draw with Uruguay.
The return of Zidane for the final group match against Denmark had little impact, as France lost 2-1 and exited the tournament disgracefully without a win.
2. Chelsea – Premier League 2015/16
Producing dire title defences is seemingly becoming a habit for Chelsea.
Whilst this season’s title defence has been weak to say the least, their effort in 2015/16 was nothing short of shambolic. The previous season’s Player of the Year Eden Hazard wouldn’t score his first of the season until April and – following nine defeats in their opening 16 league encounters – Jose Mourinho was out the door before Christmas with the club languishing in 14th place.
The appointment of Guus Hiddink as interim boss did little in the way of a revival, as Chelsea would end the season in 10th.
1. Marseille – Champions League 1993/94
Title defences can’t get much worst than, well, no defence at all.
And that’s exactly what was the case for Marseille following their heroic Champions League final win over a Fabio Capello-managed Milan side which included Marco van Basten, Frank Rijkaard and Franco Baresi in 1993.
After their famous 1-0 win, the French side were accused of domestic match fixing in the weeks leading up to the final and as such were suspended for the following season’s competition as an investigation into the accusations ensued.
Marseille were later found guilty but, remarkably, were not stripped of their European crown.
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