Tottenham could’ve won title for Arsenal before – and fans even had ‘let them win’ banner

Roy Keane is chased by Justin Edinburgh
Arsenal were also banking on a Tottenham win at the climax of the 1998/99 season -Credit:Colorsport/REX/Shutterstock

Tottenham once again find themselves in a position to influence Arsenal's title hopes - and their fans had similar sentiments the first time.

The Gunners climbed back to the top of the Premier League table after securing a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday. The focus now shifts to the Lilywhites' upcoming fixture this evening in north London.

Spurs, who are still vying for a spot in the Champions League following Liverpool's 3-3 draw with Aston Villa on Monday Night Football, will play host to Manchester City. The Citizens are desperate for a win to ensure they lead the league going into the final day.

This scenario has reignited discussions among Spurs fans about whether they should root for their team to triumph. A similar situation unfolded at the end of the 1998/99 season.

Under the management of George Graham and positioned mid-table at the time, Tottenham travelled to Old Trafford on May 16, 1999. Arsenal needed Spurs to avoid defeat against United, as a win for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, who were pursuing a treble, would put them beyond reach of Arsene Wenger's defending champions, reports the Mirror.

A banner spotted in the away section read "Let Them Win", signalling the Tottenham faithful's preference for the match result. However, it was their team who went ahead thanks to Les Ferdinand's first-half opener.

The former England international lobbed Peter Schmeichel, with nerves rising among both sets of supporters. But goals either side of half-time flipped the game on its head.

David Beckham found the top corner with an effort inside the box before the break, and substitute Andy Cole, who returned the favour for team-mate Schmeichel and dinked the ball over Spurs goalkeeper Ian Walker, completed the comeback after the restart.

Arsenal did their bit, beating Aston Villa 1-0 at Highbury, so a draw at the Theatre of Dreams would've been enough to hand them the title. But their neighbours couldn't find a second goal, meaning United pipped them by one point before their FA Cup and Champions League triumphs.

History is of course now repeating itself a quarter of a century on. A three-superior goal difference means Arteta's men will be in the driving seat if City fail to win in their penultimate game, setting up a thrilling final day when they face Everton and West Ham at home respectively.

But an eighth straight league victory will once again give Pep Guardiola's men the advantage in their quest to secure a record-breaking fourth successive title.