FourFourTwo's best 100 Premier League matches ever: 100-91
100. Sunderland 1-3 Charlton Athletic, 01/02/2003
Sunderland had dropped to 19th place in the Premier League after a home defeat to Southampton, but the visit of Charlton to the Stadium of Light just four days later gave them the chance to break out of the bottom three. They didn’t take it.
Instead, they proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot – three times. On an afternoon chock-full of farce, the suitably unlucky Black Cats put through their own net not once, not twice, but thrice. Full-back Stephen Wright was first on the scoresheet, deflecting Charlton defender Mark Fish’s shot past Thomas Sorensen. Michael Proctor inadvertently bundled over the line after a save from the Dane, before again prodding one in at the wrong end to leave the home fans raging as their side trailed 3-0.
Kevin Phillips pulled one back late on, but Charlton were soon laughing all the way back down to London. Literally, we presume. JM
99. West Brom 5-5 Man United, 19/05/2013
The end of an era for Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson – but it wouldn't end with the Scot getting things his own way. By this point the Reds had already wrapped up a 20th top-flight title, but wanted to ensure their long-serving boss went out on a high in his 1,500th and final game. As it turned out, however, this was perhaps the kind of match that made Fergie glad he'd be putting his feet up.
As it turned out, however, this was perhaps the kind of match that made Fergie glad he'd be putting his feet up
After nine minutes the Old Trafford side had cruised into a two-goal lead through Shinji Kagawa and a Jonas Olsson own goal. After half an hour it was three through Alexander Buttner's lashed effort, but James Morrison stole one back for West Brom before half-time. Still, the Baggies looked dead and buried.
That was until the introduction of Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, playing his last game at The Hawthorns and on a run of just one goal from his last eight games. Five minutes after the restart he clawed it back to 3-2, but the game still seemed lost when Robin van Persie added No.4 for United – his 26th of a fruitful campaign – and Javier Hernandez made it five 10 minutes later.
This, however, was Lukaku's day. He grabbed his second with a fine drive from outside the box on 81 minutes, watched on as Youssouf Mulumbu pulled another back inside the same minute, and completed a memorable comeback (and his hat-trick) with four minutes to spare. One final moment of drama for Fergie before a last wave down the tunnel. JB
98. Burnley 1-0 Man United, 19/08/2009
The Clarets made quite an impression in their debut Premier League campaign: taking out the champions in their first home match.
With United winning their opening game of the season and the Clarets losing theirs, there was little suggestion on the radar that a storm was coming. But Burnley produced a perfect smash-and-grab victory, enjoying just 37% possession and producing 10 fewer shots than their more illustrious rivals.
The only goal was a thing of beauty, as Robbie Blake showed top-flight technique to hammer a 17th-minute volley past Ben Foster. Brian ‘the Beast’ Jensen saved a Michael Carrick penalty and produced several other fine stops to deny the frustrated visitors. PH
97. Norwich 4-4 Middlesborough, 22/01/2005
The Canaries were struggling through their first top-flight campaign in a decade, but the visit of high-flying Middlesbrough (it sounded less funny at the time) gave them a chance to hoist themselves out of the drop zone.
Norwich took the lead through Damian Francis, but seasoned campaigner Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink soon had Boro back on level terms. A second-half double from Franck Queudrue and a fantastic 77th-minute free-kick from Hasselbaink looked to have wrapped up three points for the visitors, but Norwich weren't done just yet. Dean Ashton pulled one back almost immediately, and Leon McKenzie reduced the deficit to one with a minute of normal time to play.
It was Adam Drury who completed a remarkable comeback, heading home in the 92nd minute to give Norwich a well-deserved point. Sadly it was all in vain – they were relegated four months later. SW
Next: HT: 0-3... FT: 4-3