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

80. Sheff United 6-0 Tottenham, 02/03/1993

Spurs arrived at Bramall Lane off the back of six straight wins and looking to go fourth in the Premier League (though this was in the days before that meant anything). Conversely, the Blades had just lost 3-2 at Southampton and had dropped into the bottom three.

United manager Dave Bassett rang the changes from the defeat at The Dell – seven to be precise, but not even the most ardent Blades fan would have given their side hope of a comfortable win. The catalyst for the rout was Franz Carr, who ran rings around the Spurs defence on what was a rare impressive showing for the midfielder in a Blades shirt. Carr scored twice and laid on two more as Spurs were comprehensively and surprisingly put to the sword. DC

79. Man United 1-2 Bolton, 20/10/2001

After winning their first three league games, top-flight newbies Bolton had only gained three points from their next six, culminating in a 4-0 home hammering by Newcastle. They could have done without a trip to the team their fans hate more than any other, and although United rotated on the weekend between Champions League group games, they still started with 11 internationals and took the lead through £28.1m Juan Sebastian Veron's unstoppable free-kick.

Bolton's new signing was a loanee, French centre-back Bruno N'Gotty, and his floated cross was nodded down by Michael Ricketts for Kevin Nolan to sweetly volley home. United pressed, Jussi Jaaskelainen pulling out what proved to be the BBC's Save of the Season with a double stop from Paul Scholes and Andy Cole, but Bolton rallied and with six minutes left Michael Ricketts controlled a clearance, outmuscled Wes Brown and drove past Fabien Barthez for his sixth goal of a season that would bring him England recognition – and bring Bolton fans memories to treasure. GP

78. Arsenal 4-0 Everton, 03/05/1998

Victory against Everton would ensure the Gunners wrapped up their first ever Premier League title in front of their own fans at Highbury. Having seen Arsene Wenger’s side raced into a 3-0 lead though a Slaven Bilic own goal and a double from flying Dutchman Marc Overmars, Arsenal fans were already getting the party started.

Then Steve Bould delicately chipped a through ball for legendary captain Tony Adams to blast home and put the icing on the cake. It encapsulated the way Wenger's continental revolution had even spread as far as the English yeomen at the back; as Martin Tyler enthused, “Would you believe it?” MV

77. Newcastle 8-0 Sheff Weds, 19/09/1999

It was a game between the Premier League’s bottom two, but the sides looked worlds apart on a memorable afternoon at St James’ Park. Sir Bobby Robson had taken the reins from Ruud Gullit just a week earlier and had promised to get England captain Alan Shearer scoring again.

Big Al duly obliged in what was Sir Bobby's first home game. Newcastle’s No.9 netted five of United’s eight to kick-start the season for himself and his team. Robson led Newcastle into the Champions League just two years later, by which time Wednesday were languishing towards the bottom of what is now the Championship. JO

76. Swindon 2-2 Man United, 19/03/1994

To say this County Ground clash was feisty would be an understatement. This match had just about everything and epitomised the hare ‘em scare ‘em style of the early days of the Premier League.

At times it was like a basketball match, with both sides flowing forward at every opportunity, but it was United who netted first through a Roy Keane header from a sublime Mark Hughes cross. Hughes then tangled with a fan on the touchline before Luc Nijholt’s deflected effort brought Town level. Paul Ince then smashed United back in front with a stunning drive before Jan Åge Fjørtoft finally bundled home a late goal to rescue a deserved point. In between the net bulging action, Eric Cantona was sent off for a deliberate stamp on John Moncur, while there was also a healthy bout of handbags between Nijholt and Keane (no, really…). DC

75. Man City 3-2 Tottenham, 22/01/2012

With over half the season gone, Spurs had perhaps exceeded expectations by staying within touching distance of the two Manchester clubs at the Premier League summit. Avenging an early season 5-1 battering at White Hart Lane with a win at the Etihad Stadium would put them firmly in the title picture. 

After a stale and goalless first half, Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott struck to put City into a seemingly comfortable 2-0 lead. But Tottenham almost immediately roared back, with Jermain Defoe capitalising on a defensive mix-up, and Gareth Bale brilliantly blasting in the leveler. The same players combined to give the visitors the chance of a last-minute winner, but Defoe couldn’t quite get onto the end of Bale’s cross with the goal gaping.

Mario Balotelli, who had already assured himself headlines when he appeared to stamp on Scott Parker’s head, proved the match winner. The Italian was felled in the box by Ledley King, and dusted himself down to effortlessly convert the resultant penalty with almost the last kick of the match. JO

74. Newcastle 4-3 Leicester, 02/02/1997

When the home side took an early lead through Robbie Elliot, it looked like being a routine day at the office for Newcastle and their manager Kenny Dalglish, just three weeks into his new job. The Magpies should have been out of sight by the time Matt Elliot headed Leicester levelled shortly after the break, and it went from bad to worse for the Geordies, as Steve Claridge and then Emile Heskey gave the Foxes an unlikely 3-1 lead with little over 20 minutes left.

The home team looked deflated, but arrival of substitute David Ginola helped turn the tide. Alan Shearer thundered home a free kick, then quickly notched the equaliser with a brilliantly placed shot from 18 yards. The darling of the St James’ Park crowd completed his hat-trick and a memorable comeback by tapping in Rob Lee’s low cross to the far post in the dying seconds. RS

 

73. Man United 3-3 Southampton, 25/09/1999

Goalkeeper Massimo Taibi made four appearances for United during a year with the then European champions, but most people will remember just the one. Despite Southamptosn breaching the United defence twice through Matt Le Tissier and a brilliant goal from Latvian striker Marian Pahars, a Teddy Sheringham goal and a brace from Dwight Yorke looked to be sending Dave Jones’ side back to the south coast empty-handed. 

However, seventeen minutes from time, Taibi inexplicably fumbled a tame Le Tissier strike. As the Italian bent low to gather the shot, the ball slipped through his grasp, between his legs and into the back of the net. He later blamed the howler on his studs getting stuck in the turf. If you say so, Massimo. JG

72. Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal, 21/09/1997

Unbeaten in his first full season as Gunners boss, Arsene Wenger took his Arsenal side to Stamford Bridge. Uruguayan Gus Poyet put the Blues ahead, only for Dennis Bergkamp to score a brace to give Arsenal the lead just after the hour-mark. Chelsea then responded through Italian maestro Gianfranco Zola to leave the game delicately poised.

It was always going to take something special to settle the contest and it dually arrived in spectacular fashion. Arsenal left-back Nigel Winterburn picked up the ball just inside the Blues half and when the defended wasn’t promptly closed down, he let fly from all of 30 yards – sending the ball crashing past Chelsea keeper Ed de Goey into the top corner to secure a memorable away win for the north London club. MV

71. Man United 2-3 Derby, 05/04/1997

This match was immortalised by the dramatic introduction of Costa Rican striker Paulo Wanchope to the Premier League. With Derby fighting to stay in the division, the long-legged target man turned himself into a cult legend with Rams fans after his Old Trafford heroics by effortlessly gliding past five United players and calmly slotting the ball into Peter Schmeichel’s bottom corner. That goal was so mesmerising that it overshadowed fantastic strikes by Eric Cantona and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as well as the truly awful howler from United’s Danish keeper which gifted Derby all three points and another season of Premier League football. DC


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