After Manchester City were crowned 2017/18 Premier League champions by a big margin, their task to retain the trophy next season will appear to be much more difficult.
History tells us that successfully defending the Premier League title has proved to be much harder than claiming it.
City’s position as champions means that for the ninth successive season, the reigning PL champions have failed to claim back-to-back titles.
Chelsea, the 2016/17 champions, currently sit fifth in the table.
The last time there was such a long run of different champions was in the nine seasons between 1984/85 and 1992/93.
Manchester United were the last team to win back-to-back titles, in 2008/09 (pictured above).
Certainly, Chelsea’s final position this campaign would confirm that the fate of the defending champions has become more unpredictable in the past five seasons.
After Leeds United finished 17th in the inaugural Premier League season, the champions were in the top two when defending their title in all but three of the next 20 campaigns. Seven times during that spell the previous season's winners retained the Premier League Trophy.
In the four seasons since, the defending champions have averaged a finish of seventh.
Man Utd finished seventh in 2013/14, Man City were runners-up the next season, Chelsea dropped down to 10th in 2015/16 and Leicester City to 12th after that.
Pep Guardiola will know that the hard work will start from now to become the first Man City manager to successfully defend his side’s crown.
|Champions||Defending champions' final place|
*season not finished