Premier League Flag

At the time of writing, the top four in the Premier League table is made up of two teams from London (Arsenal and Tottenham) and two from Manchester (United and City).

Premier League Top Four Feb 2023

This raises the question, have there been any Premier League seasons when only teams from London and Manchester have filled the top four spots? Well, let’s take a look.

Towns in the Premier League Top Four By Season

Season London Clubs Manchester Clubs Others
2021/22 2 1 Liverpool
2020/21 1 2 Liverpool
2019/20 1 2 Liverpool
2018/19 2 1 Liverpool
2017/18 1 2 Liverpool
2016/17 2 1 Liverpool
2015/16 2 1 Leicester City
2014/15 2 2
2013/14 2 1 Liverpool
2012/13 2 2
2011/12 2 2
2010/11 2 2
2009/10 3 1
2008/09 2 1 Liverpool
2007/08 2 1 Liverpool
2006/07 2 1 Liverpool
2005/06 2 1 Liverpool
2004/05 2 1 Everton
2003/04 2 1 Liverpool
2002/03 2 1 Newcastle United
2001/02 1 1 Newcastle United, Liverpool
2000/01 1 1 Liverpool, Leeds United
1999/2000 1 1 Leeds United, Liverpool
1998/99 2 1 Leeds United
1997/98 2 1 Liverpool
1996/97 1 1 Newcastle United, Liverpool
1995/96 0 1 Newcastle United, Liverpool, Aston Villa
1994/95 0 1 Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest, Liverpool
1993/94 1 1 Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United
1992/93 0 1 Aston Villa, Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers

So there we have it, perhaps surprisingly, the top four has been made up of teams solely from London and Manchester on five occasions. Interestingly, despite there being only two Manchester clubs (in the top flight at least), one of them has finished in the top four in every season since the Premier League began; the same cannot be said for London clubs, who missed out on top-four finishes in three of the early Premier League campaigns (though there has been at least one present in the top four from 1996/97 onwards.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given they have more clubs to pick from, London clubs have finished in the top four in the Premier League more times than Manchester clubs: 47 to 37. So let’s take a closer look at the seasons in which Manchester and London occupied the top four spots in the table.


  • Champions – Chelsea
  • Second – Manchester City
  • Third – Arsenal
  • Fourth – Manchester United

The most recent Premier League season in which the top four featured only teams from London and Manchester was 2014/15, when Chelsea were crowned champions. Jose Mourinho was Chelsea manager in his second stint at the club and he led his side to the title to add to the two Premier League triumphs he had masterminded in his first spell at the club.


  • Champions – Manchester United
  • Second – Manchester City
  • Third – Chelsea
  • Fourth – Arsenal

The 2012/13 season was the last time Manchester United won the Premier League title… and it’s no coincidence that it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge of the Red Devils. Since then, city rivals Man City have been crowned champions five times, twice with United finishing as the runners-up.


  • Champions – Manchester City
  • Second – Manchester United
  • Third – Arsenal
  • Fourth – Tottenham

It was another one-two finish for the Manchester clubs in 2011/12, with the north London duo of Arsenal and Tottenham trailing in their wake. It marked Manchester City’s first top-flight title since the 1960s and proved to be the first of many. Since this season, the Citizens haven’t finished lower than fourth place in the Premier League.


  • Champions – Manchester United
  • Second – Chelsea
  • Third – Manchester City
  • Fourth – Arsenal

Another season that ended with champions hailing from Manchester, with United taking the spoils this time around. Chelsea were nine points adrift in second, ahead of Man City on goal difference, with Arsenal completing the top four three points further back.


  • Champions – Chelsea
  • Second – Manchester United
  • Third – Arsenal
  • Fourth – Tottenham

The 2009/10 season was unique as – at the time of writing – it was the only Premier League campaign that ended with three London teams in the top four. Since City’s emergence as a major force they, along with United and Liverpool, have generally prevented another London treble. It was this year that Chelsea won their first post-Mourinho top-flight title (under Carlo Ancelotti), edging it by a point ahead of Man United.

This was also the first time the top four had included only sides from Manchester and London, something that – as we have seen – became rather more common in the following years. That this did not happen sooner was partly due to Man City having been out of the Premier League. However, it was also arguably because in its early days, the Premier League was just more competitive (as shown by some of the teams mentioned in the table above, namely Aston Villa, Leeds United and even Norwich).

Top Four Conclusions

Since the Premier League began in 1992/93, the title has been won by teams from either London or Manchester on 27 occasions (the other three having been won by Liverpool, Leicester and Blackburn Rovers). It is therefore not a massive surprise that the top four has been made up of teams from London and Manchester on several occasions. This has been especially the case since the resurgence of Manchester City, who spent five seasons out of the top flight in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Although, at the time of writing, the last time London and Manchester shared the top four spots was a while ago. The recent improvement of Manchester United and indeed Arsenal, and the drop in form of Liverpool, who were the side to so often break the London-Manchester duopoly, means that we could see London and Manchester dominating the Champions League positions regularly in the coming years. We shall see …


By cf378