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Indispensables – Players Who Won The Premier League, 1992-2000

We head back to the 1990s for the second instalment in a four-part series about which player was most responsible for each title win during the Premier League era.

The launch of the newly-branded English top flight in 1992 laid the foundations for a competition that has since become a global phenomenon.

Manchester United soon established themselves as the dominant force in the Premier League, although they did suffer a couple of blips along the way.

Read on as we look at the first eight seasons in the Premier League to identify which players made the biggest contributions to the title successes.

Eric Cantona – Manchester United – 1992/93

Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to sign Eric Cantona was undoubtedly one of the finest he made during his illustrious managerial career.

Man United were nine points adrift of top spot when the French striker arrived at Old Trafford but went on to claim the title by a 10-point margin.

Their success ended a 26-year wait to be crowned English champions and laid the foundations for the Red Devils to establish a footballing dynasty.

Roy Keane – Manchester United – 1993/94

United’s only major signing in 1993 was Roy Keane, with Ferguson swooping late to persuade him to move to Old Trafford rather than Blackburn Rovers.

Keane was a natural successor to Bryan Robson, and he soon demonstrated why United paid a record £3.75 million to secure his services.

The Red Devils lost only once in their first 29 matches and went on to clinch the title by an eight-point margin ahead of Blackburn.

Chris Sutton – Blackburn Rovers – 1994/95

It may seem strange to ignore Alan Shearer’s claims to be the key player in Rovers’ title success after a record-equalling 34-goal season.

However, Sutton’s contribution cannot be overlooked as he ultimately proved to be the final piece of the jigsaw for Kenny Dalglish’s side.

While Sutton ended the campaign with 15 goals, it was his link-up play with Shearer which made the difference in the title race.

Eric Cantona – Manchester United – 1995/96

Having been hit with a lengthy ban during the previous campaign, Cantona returned to action in October 1995 with a point to prove.

His contribution to United’s title success cannot be understated, with a series of goals in 1-0 victories helping them to overhaul long-time leaders Newcastle United.

The Magpies wilted under the relentless pressure placed on them by United and Cantona’s desire to right the wrongs of the previous season.

Eric Cantona – Manchester United – 1996/97

United lifted the trophy for the fourth time in five seasons despite collecting the lowest points total of any champion in the Premier League era.

Newcastle’s big-money acquisition of Shearer was not enough for them to overhaul the Red Devils, with Cantona once again proving to be the difference.

He scored several crucial goals to help United win yet another title before his shock retirement in May 1997 aged 30.

Denis Bergkamp – Arsenal – 1997/98

Arsenal’s decision to spend a club record £7.5m to sign Bergkamp in 1995 was a gamble which initially looked doomed to fail.

He showed brief glimpses of his quality before manager Arsene Wenger finally unlocked his potential during the 1997/98 campaign.

Bergkamp’s sublime hat-trick at Leicester City showcased his talents to perfection, and he continued to net crucial goals as Arsenal won the title for the first time in seven seasons.

Jaap Stam – Manchester United – 1998/99

While United’s talented array of forward players grabbed many of the headlines in 1998/99, it was their summer acquisition of Jaap Stam that was the catalyst for their success.

Stam was a standout performer for the club at centre-back, bringing some much-needed steel to a back line that needed refreshing.

His subsequent fall-out with Ferguson was a sad way to end his time with United, and the legendary manager later admitted he mishandled the situation.

Roy Keane – Manchester United – 1999/00

United did not make too many changes heading into the 1999/00 campaign, with Ferguson understandably remaining loyal to his treble-winners.

Andrew Cole and Dwight Yorke received plenty of accolades for their goalscoring exploits, but Keane was the driving force behind this title success.

United lost just three times during the season to claim a sixth title in eight seasons after finishing 18 points clear of Arsenal.

Read More

Indispensables – Players Who Won The Premier League, 2001-2010
Indispensables – Players Who Won The Premier League, 2011-2020
Indispensables – Players Who Won The Premier League, 2021-2023

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