Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are known for playing some of the classiest football in the modern game.
Under the watchful eye of boss Pep Guardiola, City boast the best possession statistics of any side in the English top-flight this season, routinely stroking the ball around with an elegance few can match.
However, as footage that has recently resurfaced on social media proves, it hasn’t always been that way.
During its inaugural 1992/93 season, the Premier League offered a far scrappier spectacle than fans are treated to today, with the overall quality paling in comparison to that of La Liga and Serie A at the time.
The rough and ready nature of English football back then is summed up by a 20-second passage of play from City’s all-Premier League FA Cup fourth-round clash with QPR in January 1993.
A complete mess from start to finish, the clip features dreadful clearances, last-gasp challenges and a truly shocking miss from former England striker Les Ferdinand.
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The Loftus Road debacle starts out with a QPR corner that the visitors make a hash of dealing with. Rather than simply trying to clear the danger, City midfielder Steve McMahon instead opts to play the ball back to his goalkeeper.
This catches keeper Tony Coton by surprise, who then has to scramble to try and get to the ball. He fails, leaving McMahon to have to clear the ball off his own line.
Coton then has another crack at hoofing the ball away, only for his clearance to reflect off a QPR player and into the path of Hoops frontman Ferdinand.
Somehow, from two yards out in front of an open goal, Ferdinand couldn’t find the net, ultimately scuffing the ball wide.
You can check out the baffling sequence of events below.
VIDEO: When Man City and QPR combined to produce the worst 20 seconds of play in English football history
Lacking much in the way of technical ability from either side, this clip illustrates perfectly the vast improvement in the quality of English football over the past three decades – with the influences of foreign players and coaches having raised the standard dramatically.
It’s almost unthinkable that these same two sides would play out one of the most iconic games in Premier League history 19 years later when City defeated QPR 3-2 in the dying seconds of the season to claim their first top-flight title since 1968.
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