2000-2001: Three in a row for mighty Man Utd
|Champions||Manchester United||Biggest Win||Manchester United 6-0 Bradford City|
|Runners-Up||Arsenal||Highest Scoring Game||Arsenal 5-3 Charlton Athletic|
|Third Place||Liverpool FC||Top Goalscorer||Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (23)|
|Relegated||Manchester City, Coventry City, Bradford City||Goals Scored||992|
Despite their dominance on the Premier League, one thing Manchester United hadn’t achieved yet was three successive titles. Having been denied previously by Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal, it was third time lucky for the mighty Red Devils.
The tried and tested combination proved to be too good for the challengers on a domestic basis. Fabian Barthez plugged the goalkeeping issue temporarily at least and Teddy Sheringham was crowned PFA Players’ Player of the Year in his final season at Old Trafford.
United’s class told throughout and it was never more evident when Arsenal arrived in Manchester at the end of February. The Gunners were battered, losing 6-1 as Manchester United stretched 16 points clear of anyone else. Dwight Yorke scored a first half hat-trick in a season where he lost his regular starting place in the side to Sheringham. The final margin of 10 points didn’t really tell the final story. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side lost their last three matches, having wrapped the title up on Easter Saturday after beating Coventry City 4-2, before Arsenal’s shock 3-0 loss at home to Middlesbrough.
Liverpool FC returned to the winners’ circle in 2000-2001. Gerard Houllier was putting together a very good team at Anfield. His free transfer purchase of 35-year-old Gary McAllister turned out to be one of the signings of the season. McAllister scored a dramatic free-kick winner in the Merseyside Derby in April and Liverpool finished third, securing Champions League football for the following season in the process. They also won the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup in a historic campaign of cup triumphs.
Leeds United made a very slow start this time around but broke the British transfer record in November to snap up Rio Ferdinand from West Ham United for £18million. They made the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League and recovered from being 14th at the turn of the year to finish fourth. In an incredible game with Liverpool FC in November, Marc Viduka scored all four goals in a 4-3 victory.
Both Ipswich Town and Sunderland launched European challenges. Ipswich were expected to struggle on their return to the Premier League but George Burley’s side were one of the big surprises. Marcus Stewart finished second in the Golden Boot race to Chelsea’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and the Tractor Boys ended an incredible fifth in the final table. Sunderland hit the dizzying heights of second place in the table in mid-January but couldn’t sustain their challenge. Still, Peter Reid’s team recorded a second successive seventh-place finish.
Southampton said an emotional goodbye to The Dell at the end of the 2000-2001 season. It was fitting that Matt Le Tissier would score the final goal at the ground and it was a 90th minute winner too to defeat Arsenal 3-2. Coventry City dropped out of the Premier League at the end of the campaign along with Manchester City and Bradford City.
Manchester United continued to set the pace in the Premier League era. Now, Liverpool FC’s record total of 18 league titles was well within their sights.