Throwback Thursday: Man City vs Chelsea (May 4, 1984)

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This Sunday features one of the biggest match-ups of the Premier League season— Manchester City vs Chelsea. The defending champions will travel to face the team they unseated last season, and this match, while still very early in the campaign, could do a lot to set the tone for the title race to come.

Though City and Chelsea are two of the richest clubs and Europe and perennial frontrunners for the Premier League title, it’s easy to forget that these two teams have history that goes beyond 2008. In the past, their matches have been notable for tension and high stakes.

This week, we look back at one of their memorable games, from May 4th, 1984.

During the 1983-84 season, City and Chelsea were both in the second division. Chelsea, who in the year before had only barely escaped relegation to Division 3, had already secured promotion to the top flight. City were still in the hunt but had dropped some crucial points over the past month or so and were running out of time. For the Sky Blues, their home match against the West Londoners was a must-win.

The video above—taken from BBC Match Of The Day—is incomplete and does not show the goals or the result. Chelsea went on to win 2-0, thanks to goals from Kerry Dixon and Pat Nevin. But the film is still worthwhile for the aesthetics. The 80s-era MOTD titles. The stands at Maine Road. The ad boards. The mud in front of City’s goal. The very, very short shorts. These TBT posts are as much a visual tour of football’s past as it is a revisiting of famous scorelines. With this weekend’s meeting between the two teams constituting a clash between clubs with access to unfathomable amounts of money and the ability to sign just about any player they want, it’s worthwhile to remember a time when they were playing at more humble grounds with much more modest resources and being satisfied with getting out of the second division.

(As it happened, the loss presented too high a hurdle for City to overcome, and the Citizens ended up waiting another season before getting back into the first division.)

Sunday’s game between the two early title contenders kicks off at 11am EST on NBC Sports Network.

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