The Top 100 Premier League matches: Thrill providers, city dividers and title deciders

90. Man United 0-0 Arsenal, 21/09/2003

Who can forget those lingering images of Martin Keown jumping around wildly, mouth open and arms aloft? We imagine not Ruud van Nistelrooy…

The closest the Gunners came to defeat in their 'Invincibles' year was this early-season clash at Old Trafford. The former PSV striker had been penalised for jumping into Vieira but then recoiled as the Arsenal midfielder flicked out a foot, getting the Frenchman sent off in the process. Arsenal players reacted furiously and after Van Nistelrooy had slammed his stoppage-time penalty against the crossbar, Wenger’s men (most notably Keown) jumped around in the Dutchman’s face shouting abuse, an act that cost the club a fine and several suspensions. JG

89. Charlton 4-4 West Ham, 19/11/2001

In what must go down as one of the most entertaining 'Monday Night Football' encounters in Premier League history, Charlton grabbed a dramatic late equaliser through a spectacular overhead kick from Swedish striker Jonatan Johansson to share the spoils with their London rivals.

West Ham had taken the lead through Paul Kitson - making his first start for the Hammers in almost two years - before two defensive errors from West Ham then allowed Charlton to take a 2-1 lead. However Kitson grabbed his second goal of the game with a tidy finish to level things up at the break.

Soon after the restart, the Addicks’ had regained the lead when Scott Parker’s neat through ball found Johnasson, who slotted home past Shaka Hislop. Back came West Ham, however, and Kitson claimed a remarkable hat-trick after good work from Trevor Sinclair on the byline. It looked like Glenn Roeder’s side had won it when former Charlton trainee Jermain Defoe rifled home a volley late-on, but Johansson’s acrobatics saved the day for Alan Curbishley’s side. MV

88. Chelsea 5-0 Man United, 03/10/1999

Going into the match, Manchester United hadn't been beaten in 29 league games going back to the previous December. But Chelsea scored after 27 seconds as Manchester United goalkeeper Massimo Taibi, who the previous week had let in a shocker against Southampton – scuttled off his line and crashed into Dennis Irwin, allowing Gus Poyet to nod into the empty net.

It was two when Chris Sutton scored his only goal in 29 league appearances for Chelsea, heading Albert Ferrer’s cross into the far corner. Nicky Butt was then dismissed for kicking out at perennial mischief-maker Dennis Wise, before Poyet knocked in the third, following good work from Celestine Babayaro. A Henning Berg own goal and Jody Morris’s drilled strike were the cherries on Chelsea’s cake. RS

87. Southampton 3-2 Arsenal, 19/05/2001

Saints were determined to make their last game at The Dell a special one, and they did just that with a spectacular win over Arsenal. The fairytale ending looked unlikely when Ashley Cole gave the Londoners a half-time lead, but Southampton battled well after the break, and two Hassan Kachloul goals either side of a Freddy Ljunberg effort left the scores tied at 2-2 as the match headed towards stoppage time.

With just moments left, the by now veteran Southampton hero Matt Le Tissier thwacked home a thunderous 89th minute shot on the turn, sending The Dell into raptures for one last time. Textbook. PH

86. Man Utd 4-4 Everton, 22/04/2012

With Manchester City's title bid seemingly on the rocks, United entertained Everton five points clear at the top, with four games to play. One of those fixtures was a trip to City, but United knew they had some wiggle room.
 
Nikica Jelavic headed the Toffees ahead, but United soon stamped their authority with goals from Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Nani. Even a Marouane Fellaini volley couldn't knock the reigning champions out of their stride, with Rooney sweeping home a fourth.
 
Few United fans were concerned when Patrice Evra headed against the post from close range, but it was to prove the turning point in not only the match, but United's season. Jelavic walloped home his second, before Steven Pienaar waltzed onto the end of Fellaini's reverse pass and slotted home the equaliser.
 
City promptly won at Wolves to close the gap to three points. Game on... JM
 

85. Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham, 26/02/2012

Heading into this crucial top-four tussle at the Emirates Stadium, Tottenham looked good for a second Champions League qualification in three seasons – not least because their old foes were floundering.
 
Up to this point, Arsenal's season had been one of disappointment. They had recovered from a dismal first half of the campaign which took in defeats to the likes of Blackburn, Fulham and Swansea, as well as an 8-2 thrashing at Manchester United. Tottenham were looking strong in third, meanwhile, seven points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea with a game in hand, and 10 ahead of the Gunners. 
 
Early in this game they threatened to strengthen their hold on a top-four slot: Louis Saha's deflected effort gave them the lead and Emmanuel Adebayor's penalty put Spurs in charge inside 34 minutes. But then came the implosion. 
 
Bacary Sagna's bullet header halved the deficit five minutes before the break, and within three Arsenal were level when Robin van Persie curled home a brilliant equaliser. After half-time there was only one winner: Tomas Rosicky poked home to nudge Arsenal ahead, and Theo Walcott notched twice in three minutes to cap a memorable afternoon for Arsene Wenger's men.
 
The result was pivotal for both sides: Arsenal won seven of their remaining 12 games to finish third, while Tottenham were forced to settle for fourth after picking up just five wins before the season's end. To make matters worse, Chelsea winning the Champions League condemned Spurs to the Europa League once more. JB

84. Chelsea 3-3 Man United, 05/02/2012

Even for a club with Lazarus-like powers of recovery, Manchester United’s 3-3 draw with Chelsea in February 2012 was a pretty remarkable comeback. Trailing 3-0 with just over half an hour remaining, United battled courageously back into the match through two possible dubious Rooney penalties and a Hernandez bullet header from close range. Taking off Daniel Sturridge, who’d terrorised Patrice Evra all afternoon, with the score at 3-1 was the like waving a white flag. United managed to get level with seven minutes still remaining and perhaps the real surprise was that Fergie’s men couldn’t carve out a fourth goal with Chelsea and their beleaguered fans on the ropes. DC

83. Leicester 0-5 Bolton, 18/08/2001

Bolton announced their Premier League arrival with an annihilation of Leicester. The Foxes had the better of the opening exchanges but Bolton dealt with the flurry of long balls and Kevin Nolan scored the new season's first top-flight goal with a looped header from a Per Frandsen cross.

Michael Ricketts outmuscled Gary Rowett to larrup in a second before a well-worked Frandsen set-piece was finished by Nolan. In first-half stoppage time Frandsen powered home a free-kick, and the Dane completed the demolition late on by curling a free-kick into Tim Flowers' top corner. Sam Allardyce's side had arrived but Leicester, who left the Filbert Street pitch to calls for Peter Taylor's resignation, were on a slide that would include two relegations and administration. GP

82. Crystal Palace 1-1 Man United, 25/01/1995

You remember this one, right? David May's first league goal for United put the title-chasing visitors in front before Gareth Southgate levelled with 10 minutes left. But the main story happened before either goal: the exit of Eric Cantona, four minutes after half-time.

The Frenchman got his fifth red card in 16 months after hoofing Richard Shaw in apparent retaliation for a tackle from behind, but he wasn't done. Assailed from the cheap seats by one Matthew Simmons, Cantona responded with a kung-fu kick to the chest. Cantona – who claimed Simmons' abuse was racist – was sentenced to 14 nights in chokey, later reduced to 120 hours of community service, and banned from football for eight months. In the Frenchman's absence, United conceded the league title to Blackburn Rovers, but they won the Double the following season – and guess who scored the FA Cup Final winner? GP

81. West Ham 5-4 Bradford City, 12/02/2000

Harry Redknapp’s West Ham seemed to be beaten as they trailed 4-2 with only 20 minutes to go, in a game marred by a broken leg for Hammers keeper Shaka Hislop after just five minutes. He collided with Dean Saunders and had to be replaced by debutant Stephen Bywater, who endured a torrid introduction to top flight football.

Dean Windass headed the opener past the rookie stopper, before West Ham turned it around thanks to Trevor Sinclair and a John Moncur screamer. But Moncur quickly turned from hero to villain by shoving over Saunders in the box, and Peter Beagrie dispatched the penalty with aplomb. The bright-red-haired Jamie Lawrence then rattled a quick-fire double past a bewildered Bywater, before West Ham staged an unlikely fightback.

Frank Lampard and Paulo di Canio argued over who should take a penalty; the Italian eventually won and converted successfully. Joe Cole grabbed his first Premier League goal to bring the Irons level, before Lampard smashed in a stunner from the edge of the box to blow Bradford away. RS


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