Man City v Luton next? Championship players to Premier League champion slayers XI

Man City v Luton next? Championship players to Premier League champion slayers XI

Little Luton Town vs mighty Manchester City.

A club that was playing non-league football a decade ago against a club backed by the wealth of an entire country a very, very, very rich individual.

This fixture might’ve looked like the biggest mismatch in Premier League history at the start of the season, but the Hatters have a real chance of survival with just six games to go and managed to take a shock lead against the title-holders back in December.

Is a huge upset on the cards? Probably not, but here’s an XI made up from players who helped a newly promoted side overcome the reigning champions.

Goalkeeper: Brian Jensen

The 2009/10 season saw Burnley make their Premier League debut, with title-holders Manchester United the visitors for Turf Moor’s first top-flight fixture in over thirty years.

Robbie Blake gave the Clarets a surprise early lead but the Red Devils had a chance to equalise with a penalty before half-time. Brian Jensen kept out Micheal Carrick’s spot-kick and the Danish ‘keeper continued to frustrate Alex Ferguson’s men to keep a clean sheet and earn his side all three points.

If you fancy a goalkeeper challenge, try naming the Burnley ‘keeper who played for the newly promoted Clarets in a 1-0 win over champions Manchester City in the 2014/15 season.

📢 Straight to the comments! Let us know…

Right-back: Michael Gray

Former England international Michael Gray will have to start at right-back for this side, with his goal against Manchester United in the 1996/97 season helping Sunderland to a 2-1 win against the champions.

Despite the shock result, the reverse fixture at Old Trafford turned out to be the more memorable of the two, thanks to Eric Cantona’s famous goal and subsequent celebration in a 5-0 win for the home side.

Centre-back: John Wark

The maiden Premier League season saw a disaster of a defence from reigning champions Leeds United. The last-ever winners of the old First Division managed to lose to all three promoted teams the following campaign, with Ipswich Town veteran John Wark scoring twice in a 4-2 win for the Tractor Boys.

Leeds also went down 4-1 to Middlesbrough and 3-1 to Blackburn Rovers.

Centre-back: Alan Stubbs

Blackburn Rovers ended up on the wrong side of a champions vs newbie tussle three years later, losing out to Bolton Wanderers early on in the 1995/96 season thanks to a late winner from Alan Stubbs.

Rovers had famously pipped Manchester United to the title a few months earlier but started the defence of their crown in dreadful fashion, losing four of their first six games.

READ MORE: Top 10 run-in moments in Premier League title race history has obvious No. 1

Left-back: Stuart Pearce

Brian Clough’s final season at Nottingham Forest ended in relegation to the second tier but one the iconic manager’s former players took the club back to the promised land at the first attempt. Forest’s first year back in the top-flight saw Frank Clark guiding his men to an incredible third-place finish in the 1994/95 season, with one of the highlights a 2-1 win at Old Trafford that saw captain Stuart Pearce bag the winner.

Right-wing: Steve Stone

Steve Stone was playing for Forest that day and nearly a decade later he scored his own winner for a promoted side against Manchester United.

Stone was a Portsmouth player in the 2003/04 season; the club’s first ever Premier League campaign, having not competed in the top tier for fifteen years. Harry Redknapp led the south coast outfit to a solid 13th place finish, with a 1-0 win over the Red Devils in April helping them to safety.

Central midfield: Mario Lemina

Fulham’s return to the top flight for the 2020/21 season ended in relegation, but the Cottagers did pick up an impressive three points at Anfield before slipping back into the Championship.

Liverpool held the Premier League crown at the time, following the Reds’ remarkable campaign the previous year but six consecutive home losses left Jurgen Klopp’s men eighth in the table come March. Fulham inflicted the last of those defeats, with on-loan midfielder Mario Lemina scoring the only goal of the game.

Central midfield: Steven Davis

Strange to think that Nathan Jones’ Southampton was the only side to knock Manchester City out of a cup competition last season, but the Saints did actually have form for upsetting the odds in this fixture.

The opening day of the 2012/13 campaign saw newly promoted Southampton visit the Etihad to play the newest name on the Premier League trophy, with Roberto Mancini’s men still high on that ‘Aguerooooo’ moment. City ran out 3-2 winners but the reverse fixture at St. Mary’s in February ended in defeat for the champions, with Steven Davis scoring in a game that marked Mauricio Pochettino’s first win in English football.

Left-wing: Robert Snodgrass

Leicester City’s title win in 2016 was perhaps the most astonishing feat in Premier League history, but their hopes of retaining the crown took a knock on the first day of the 2016/17 season.

Hull City seemed like easy prey for the Foxes as the newly promoted side faced struggles on and off the pitch, with no manager, a depleted squad and fans protesting against the owner. However, the Tigers emerged victorious at the KCOM stadium after Robert Snodgrass struck in the second half to make it 2-1 to the home team.

Striker: Glenn Murray

Claudio Ranieri’s triumph with Leicester saw the former Chelsea boss seize the Premier League crown from his old club, with the Stamford Bridge outfit putting up one of the most feeble title defences in recent history.

Chelsea hadn’t lost to a promoted side since Charlton in 2001, but third-season Jose Mourinho syndrome kicked in and resulted in Bournemouth (making their top-flight debut) inflicting an eighth defeat of the season on the champions.

Substitute Glenn Murray scored the only goal of the game, with the striker finding the net after being on the pitch for just two minutes. Two weeks was all it took for Mourinho to be out of a job after that result.

Striker: Teemu Pukki

If Luton need any inspiration, Norwich City might just be the unlikely source, as the Canaries remain the last promoted side to defeat Manchester City.

Early on in the COVID hit 2019/20 season, Pep Guardiola’s men travelled south to Carrow Road in fine fettle, having picked up ten points from their opening four games, scoring fourteen goals along the way. However, a coupon-busting 3-2 triumph for the home team saw star striker Teemu Pukki grab the decisive goal as the champions slumped to their first loss of the campaign.

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