Losing out on the Premier League title to one of your biggest rivals is a bitter pill to swallow. What could be worse then playing 38 games over the course of a season, only to fall short, possibly by just a handful of points, ending up with nothing to show for your endeavours whilst your neighbours are celebrating with a trophy in the cabinet? How about having to give that team a Guard of Honour before the season is actually over?
Although the Guard of Honour is seen as a sign of respect to a team that is mathematically out of reach before the final game of the season. Sometimes the stars align and that next game once the title has all been tied up is against one of your biggest rivals.
There have been some big rivalries in the Premier League era: Manchester United & Arsenal and Manchester United & Chelsea, Manchester City & Liverpool, Manchester United & Manchester City being some of the most notable.
Man United to Chelsea
Thanks to Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United dominated the Premier league for the best part of two decades, but when the cocksure Jose Mourihno landed on English soil to begin to money man Roman Abramovic’s new Chelsea regime, things changed.
The West London team ran absolute riot In the Premier League in the 2004/05 season. Knocking both United and Arsenal off their perches, Chelsea went on to be crowned champions ahead of time and in a humiliating moment for Sir Alex, his Red Devils had to applaud the enigmatic coach and his Blues on to the pitch at Old Trafford before being solidly beaten 3-1.
Chelsea to Man United
With the previous two seasons seeing Chelsea lift the Premier League trophy, Sir Alex finally had the Red Devils firing again in the 2006-07 season with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad.
As Premier League champions, it fell to none other than Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to present the guard of honour and return the favour of two season previous. Alex Ferguson wasn’t happy with the humiliation of a Guard of Honour alone. The Scot chose a questionable team selection for the day, so the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard were forced to clap the likes of Fangzhou Dong, Chris Eagles and Kieren Lee onto the pitch, who had very little to do with the title achievements of United that season.