Lazio fans taunted Roma fans after scuppering their title hopes...

6 title-chasing teams that needed a huge favour from their bitter rivals

With Arsenal hunting down a first Premier League title in 20 years, Kai Havertz wasn’t ashamed to admit that he was going to be ‘the biggest Tottenham fan ever’ when they host Manchester City in the Premier League.

Manchester City needed Manchester United to beat Arsenal to help them along, now the Gunners need Tottenham to hold City in gameweek 37 to give them the best chance of winning the Premier League.

It’s a funny old game, isn’t it?

Title races and jeopardy encourage a real sense of no-holds-barred thinking. Rules go out of the window when there’s a trophy on the line, to the point where foes can become friends if it means they’re helping you to a title.

With the title race going to the wire in England, we’ve looked at six other occasions when a football club ended up needing a hand from their most bitter rival.

Manchester United (1995)

Dominating the early years of the Premier League wasn’t all smooth sailing for United, who were looking to make it three in a row in 1994-95, but couldn’t quite shake Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn side.

The race came down to the final day, with Dalglish’s side away at Anfield. Surely the Reds would their club legend a favour, handing him a win and toppling United’s title hopes in the process? No chance.

Liverpool did anything but down tools and beat Blackburn 2-1, handing the title to United in the process.

Or at least they almost did. Despite being given an open goal, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham on the final day, sensationally dropping the ball and giving Blackburn the Premier League anyway.

Perhaps that’s proof that you should never lie down, no matter the context.

Manchester United (1999)

United’s historic treble-winning season could’ve looked a lot different had Tottenham done Arsenal a favour.

Managed by former Gunners boss George Graham, mid-table Spurs could put the title in Arsenal’s hands on the final day of the Premier League season by going to Old Trafford and nabbing an unlikely win.

Spurs fans weren’t keen on the idea of the upset and held up a banner projecting the words ‘Let them win’, but when Les Ferdinand fired them ahead, the football world stood still.

As United did so often that season, though, they came back thanks to goals from David Beckham and Andrew Cole, with the entirety of Old Trafford breathing a sigh of relief at full-time and the Red Devils crowned as champions.

UEFA Champions League - Quarter Final First Leg - Manchester United v Inter Milan. Manchester United's dwight Yorke celebrates after the game

READ: Dwight Yorke: ‘Two black guys who never thought they would play for Man Utd – Me & Coley did something unique’

Manchester United (2003)

Another battle between Arsenal and United for the title, Leeds were in a strange spot at the beginning of May 2003.

With a trip to Highbury on the cards, losing would’ve kept Arsene Wenger’s side right in the title race, while winning would hand the title to United, but also – and more importantly to them – seal their own safety.

What came was a five-goal thriller that saw Leeds ahead three times before finally winning the game 3-2 thanks to Mark Viduka, eliminating any thoughts of being relegated from the Premier League, but also ensuring United would recapture the league from Arsenal.

A bit of personal jeopardy makes all the difference.

Roma (2010)

Having beaten Parma 2-1 the day before, Roma had put themselves back at the top of Serie A in early May 2010, desperately hoping that their fierce, city rivals Lazio could muster up a result at home to Inter, who looked set for their fifth successive Scudetto.

Lazio looked threatened by relegation, or at least they did until on the same day that Roma won, Bologna and Atalanta played out a 1-1 draw, significantly boosting their chances of survival, even if they lost to Inter.

Suddenly, the message from Lazio ultras to their players on the day was clear; let Inter win.

While we doubt that Edoardo Reja’s side intentionally rolled over for Jose Mourinho’s Nerazzurri – even given Italy’s colourful history with match-fixing – they were beaten 2-0 on the day, naturally causing a gargantuan meltdown among the other side of Rome.

The best part? As Lazio fell behind to the opener, their fans unveiled a sarcastic banner which read ‘Oh nooo’, while Inter would go on to win Serie A. Sh*thousery at its finest. Sod your Scudetto.

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every season when the PL title race has been decided on the final day?

Chelsea (2010)

A heavyweight clash between Liverpool and Chelsea late in the 2009-10 season came with the knowledge that if the Reds were to win, Manchester United would essentially have a free run at the title, with fate back in their hands.

While sore on the day, Liverpool somewhat fortunately lost 2-0 to Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who in doing so held the keys to the title and simply had to beat Wigan to win the Premier League on the final day.

They did so, blowing the Latics away 8-0, and in doing so delayed Manchester United from winning a 19th English title, which at the time would’ve eclipsed Liverpool’s 18.

Leicester City (2016)

The Foxes were actually an innocent bystander in this one as they defied 4000/1 odds to win the Premier League and create arguably the greatest story ever in the history of the game.

Tottenham were the team pushing them hard in the title race and looked good enough to win the league under Mauricio Pochettino – until they faced London rivals Chelsea away from home and threw it all away in the Battle of the Bridge. Tottenham and Chelsea players confront each other at Stamford Bridge. May 2016.

READ: Celebrating Chelsea, Tottenham & the 2016 Battle of the Bridge: ‘Most shameful game’