Glory, goal-fests and goodbyes: The Premier League's most thrilling 'dead rubbers'

Games with nothing riding on them can sometimes be the best, as Nick Harper discovers…

Reaching the final games of the season with most issues resolved at the top and bottom of the table, you'd be forgiven for thinking that many of Sunday's fixtures will see teams simply going through the motions for 90 minutes. And yet, recent history teaches us that some supposedly dead rubbers have thrown up some of the most entertaining games in Premier League's history...

1. West Brom 5-5 Manchester United, 19 May 2013

The stage was set for Sir Alex to receive a fitting farewell on the final day of last season. Having already secured the title, Fergie took his champions to The Hawthorns for his 1,500th and final game in charge, keen to end on a high. Clearly West Brom and Romelu Lukaku in particular had missed the memo.

A second-half sub, Lukaku became only the fifth substitute to score a Premier League hat-trick, striking after 50 minutes (to make it 2-3), 81 (3-5) and 86 (5-5) in a ridiculously entertaining encounter. West Brom finished 8th, the champions were still champions, but as he shuffled off smiling towards retirement, Fergie was no doubt effing and jeffing on the inside. (And those other hat-trick scoring subs: Emmanuel Adebayor, Robert Earnshaw, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.)

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