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

70. Norwich 4-5 Southampton, 09/04/1994

Southampton recorded a last-gasp away win at Carrow Road in a swinging pendulum of a game. Norwich had taken the lead through Mark Robins, but then Robert Ullathorne scored an own goal to leave the teams level at half-time. Jeremy Goss struck after the break, before Chris Sutton put Norwich 3-1 up.

Then Matt Le Tissier intervened. He scored a hat-trick in 14 minutes, with Sutton grabbing another for the Canaries, leaving the score poised at 4-4 – a seemingly fair conclusion to a gripping game. But Ken Monkou had other ideas, his last-minute winner giving Southampton fans something to grin about on the long journey back to the south coast. RS

69. Man United 0-3 Chelsea, 01/12/2001

Manchester United suffered the fifth defeat of their opening 14 league games as visitors Chelsea made sure of all three points with a clinical display. Mario Melchiot opened the scoring before a mistake by Juan Sebastein Veron handed Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink a free shot on goal, which the Dutchman duly dispatched past Fabien Barthez. 

United’s centre-back pairing of Roy Keane and Laurent Blanc looked all at sea and with just three minutes to play Eidur Gudjohnsen completed the rout. The result led Sir Alex Ferguson to concede “I don’t think we’ll win the title now. Not after five defeats” while a popular tabloid ran the headline ‘BLANC’, spelling out the names of each team United had lost to - Bolton, Leeds, Arsenal, Newcastle and Chelsea. JG

68. Bolton 0-0 Everton, 01/09/1997

At first glance, an early-season stalemate between two relegation-battlers may not seem one for the scrap-book, but this proved to be one of the decisive games of the 1997/98 season. Bolton’s first competitive match in the new Reebok Stadium should have been a time for celebration, but instead the Trotters endured an evening of frustration, with dire consequences come the end of the campaign.

Both sides spurned presentable opportunities in an open first half, with the second period’s best chance falling to Bolton defender Gerry Taggart, who saw his header cleared off the line by Everton’s Terry Phelan. At least that’s what referee Steve Lodge thought, with pretty much everybody else in the stadium (and all those watching at home) noticing the ball had in fact bounced about six inches behind the Everton goal-line. The game finished goalless, but the full force of the injustice wasn’t felt until the final day of the season, when Everton stayed up on goal difference at the expense of, you guessed it, Bolton. JM

67. Man City 4-2 Arsenal, 12/09/2009

Emmanuel Adebayor infuriated the Arsenal fans with a provocative solo goal celebration in this heated clash. The Togolese striker caused chaotic scenes in the away end when he raced the length of the pitch to slide on his knees in front of his former side’s raging fans.

City took the lead after 20 minutes through Micah Richards' header, but Robin van Persie put Arsenal back in contention before a late flurry of goals from Craig Bellamy, Adebayor and then Shaun Wright-Phillips sealed the points. Thomas Rosicky nabbed a late consolation, but the game will only be remembered for Adebayor’s manic celebration. JG

66. West Ham 3-4 Tottenham, 04/03/2007

Everybody knows football can be a cruel game, but rarely has that been more evident than when Spurs broke West Ham hearts at Upton Park in this topsy-turvy thriller.

The Hammers, severely threatened by relegation, went in at half-time with an unlikely 2-0 lead and bubbles were well and truly being blown. It didn’t last though, as Jermaine Defoe and Teemu Tainio redressed the balance within 20 minutes of the restart. Spurs had the momentum but couldn’t find a third, and it was the Irons who grabbed the lead again through a Bobby Zamora header.

Surely that was it? Surely Alan Curbishley’s relegation fears were eased? No. Dimitar Berbatov curled in an 89th minute free-kick before Paul Stalteri won it for Martin Jol's side in the fourth minute of injury time. Cruel indeed. PH

65. Charlton 3-2 Blackburn, 21/02/2004

In a simply incredible climax, Blackburn, and especially Brad Friedel, went from delight to devastation in a matter of seconds. First-half goals from Carlton Cole and Jason Euell left the Addicks looking good for a comfortable home win, but things got nervy when Andy Cole pulled one back for Blackburn with a quarter of an hour to go.

With Rovers still trailing in injury time, Friedel galloped forward in a desperate attempt to attack a corner. With Charlton failing to clear their lines, the American keeper majestically swept home from six-yards to nab an unlikely point. Or so he thought. Claus Jensen’s superb volley even deeper into injury time won it for Charlton, leaving the Yankee feeling less than dandy. PH

64. West Ham 3-4 Wimbledon, 09/09/1998

In what is widely recognised as one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history, Joe Kinnear’s Wimbledon travelled across London to face West Ham in a midweek fixture under the floodlights at Upton Park. Ian Wright's opener and a John Hartson double put Harry Redknapp’s side in cruise control. However, Wimbledon quickly rallied and pulled a goal back through Jamaican striker Marcus Gayle.

Joe Kinnear's presumably expletive-laden half time team-talk certainly had the desired impact, as the Dons went on the rampage in the second half. Strikes from Jason Euell and another from Gayle pulled them level, before Nigerian forward Efan Ekoku headed a dramatic late winner for Wimbledon. MV

63. Man United 2-1 Tottenham, 16/05/1999

United sealed the first leg of their historic treble in a slightly bizarre game at Old Trafford. With Arsenal playing Aston Villa at Highbury knowing a win would see them retain their title if United dropped points, many of the Spurs fans who had travelled to Old Trafford were cheering on United.

It looked as though Spurs might actually do the unthinkable and hand their bitter rivals the title when Les Ferdinand looped a shot over Peter Schmeichel, to send those at Highbury listening intently to their radios potty. But a wonderful David Beckham effort drew United level, and Andy Cole won it for the Red Devils much to the relief of literally almost everyone inside Old Trafford. DC

62. Arsenal 3-3 Sheff Weds, 09/05/2000

Wednesday entered fortress Highbury knowing only a victory would be enough to see them stave off the drop. When the Gunners took the lead through Lee Dixon, it appeared the Owls’ race was run, that was until caretaker manager Peter Shreeves made an inspired double change at half time.

Substitutes Gerarld Sibon and Giles De Bilde turned the game dramatically with a goal apiece. Wednesday could hardly believe it when Alan Quinn made it 3-1 with just 12 minutes left.

Their dreams were dashed, however, when Silvinho and then Thierry Henry netted to level things up in the dying minutes, and condemn the Owls to relegation to the Football League. MV

61. Tottenham 1-2 Coventry, 11/05/1997

The original top-flight last-day escapologists – they'd already survived final-game scrapes nine times in 30 years – Coventry went to White Hart Lane knowing they had to win and hope Sunderland and Middlesbrough dropped points in order to survive. An early twist, brought about by traffic on the M25 and M1, meant that the game kicked off 15 minutes late, with the rest of the matches starting at the prescribed time. 

Dion Dublin headed Gordon Strachan’s side into the lead after 12 minutes, before Paul Williams volleyed in another on 38 minutes, with Gary McAllister assisting both goals. However Spurs got a goal back before half time – Paul McVeigh following up a Teddy Sheringham free-kick that cannoned off the post – to ensure a nervy second half. Given the delay, Coventry knew with 14 minutes still left to play that a win would keep them up, and promptly retreated deep into their own half, inviting Spurs to attack them incessantly. Thanks to veteran keeper Steve Ogrizovic, Gerry Francis' side were kept at bay, and Coventry went on to celebrate yet another last-gasp escape act. VE


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