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

40. Everton 2-3 Aston Villa, 07/12/2008

A five-goal thriller culminating in an injury time Ashley Young winner saw the Midlands side take all three points at Goodison Park as Martin O’Neill’s pushed for a Champions League berth. Steve Sidwell had rattled one in from 20 yards in the first minute, but Joleon Lescott prodded home a deserved equaliser for the Merseysiders. Fellaini then had a header cleared off the line and hit the bar with another before Jagielka's woeful back-pass allowed Young to slot home. Lescott scored with an acrobatic volley to bring Everton level again in injury time.

But just as the Toffees thought they’d nabbed a point, Young snatched all three just seconds later with a last-gasp breakaway. JG

39. Wigan 3-2 Arsenal, 18/04/2010

This match will be remembered for an incredible 11 minutes which simultaneously ended one side’s title challenge and the other’s fight against relegation – guess which team was which…

Arsenal were title outsiders, but with leaders Chelsea losing at Tottenham 24 hours previously, they had the chance to move within three points of the summit with a win, and looked set to do so as they entered the final 10 minutes with a 2-0 lead. But the Latics had other ideas, and when Ben Watson pulled one back in the 80th minute, they suddenly found hope.

Lukasz Fabianski gifted Titus Bramble an equaliser as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, and it was left to Charles N’Zogbia to curl home a sensational last-gasp winner. PH

38. Man United 0-1 Arsenal, 08/05/2002

There are few more satisfying ways to secure a title than by winning at the home of the defending champions, and that’s exactly what Arsenal did in 2002. It had been a keenly contested title race for much of the season, but 11 wins on the spin had given Arsenal the opportunity to seal the deal at Old Trafford with a game to spare.

Sylvain Wiltord scored the only goal of the game ensuring his place in Gunners folklore forevermore. The victory was all the more sweet for Arsenal as it came four days after their FA Cup final win over Chelsea, meaning the second ‘double’ of the Arsene Wenger era was in the bag. PH

37. Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn, 14/05/1995

On the final day of the league season, Kenny Dalglish's Blackburn went to Anfield two points clear of Manchester United, who had a better goal difference and an easier fixture at safely mid-table West Ham. However, the first half went well for Rovers as Alan Shearer swept in a Paul Warhurst cross and Michael Hughes scored for the Hammers – a goal greeted warmly by all at Anfield.

After the break, though, John Barnes tapped in for Liverpool and Brian McClair levelled for United, who then dominated a determined West Ham but were denied by a string of Andy Cole misses and what Alex Ferguson described as an "obscene effort" from the Irons. Then, in the last minute, Liverpool's Jamie Redknapp whipped home a free-kick, prompting commentator Alan Green to incorrectly scream "Liverpool have handed the title to Manchester United!". They hadn't – and as West Ham held out for a 1-1 draw, Blackburn were champions by a point. GP

36. Man United 2-0 Arsenal, 24/10/2004

After 49 unbeaten league games, the Invincibles were finally, er, vinced in a match now better remembered for what happened after it – the ‘Battle of the Buffet’.

Never a man to shy from a battle, Sir Alex Ferguson sent out his side to ruffle Arsenal feathers, with Jose Antonio Reyes targeted in what Arsene Wenger called "bully-boy tactics". It was United who got the key decision, Ruud van Nistelrooy converting a penalty contentiously awarded for a Sol Campbell challenge on Wayne Rooney, before Rooney finished an injury-time counter-attack to mark his 19th birthday in style. Fittingly enough for a teenage celebration, pizza appeared soon after. GP

35. Arsenal 2-3 Leeds, 04/05/2003

For the sixth season in a row, the title race had come down to a straight battle between Arsenal and Manchester United. The Red Devils’ win over Charlton on the penultimate weekend of the season meant the Gunners had to beat Leeds 24 hours later to keep themselves in contention. It looked a relatively simple task, with the Yorkshire side struggling towards the bottom of the Premier League, but with the threat of relegation a real one, Leeds were fired-up for the battle.

Harry Kewell gave Leeds an early lead after a glorious ball from Jason Wilcox, before Thierry tapped in the equaliser on the half hour after Paul Robinson tipped Ray Parlour's shot onto the bar. The teams exchanged blows again through an Ian Harte freekick and a clever finish from Dennis Bergkamp, and the Gunners pushed hard for a winner. But with just two minutes remaining Leeds hit Arsenal on the break, with Dominic Matteo playing in Mark Viduka, who sold Oleg Luzhny a dummy before guiding the ball past David Seaman. It's not often Manchester United fans will celebrate a Leeds goal, but they did it three times this day. JM

34. Man City 0-1 Tottenham, 05/05/2010

The timing and table meant this was effectively a fourth-place play-off – and Peter Crouch’s goal earned Harry Redknapp's team a Champions League spot while holding up the Manchester City project for a season. As well as being important, it was also tactically fascinating, with Spurs’ staunch defence repelling City’s fierce attack: Ledley King excelled at the back, foiling dangerous forwards Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez, with much-maligned keeper Heurelho Gomes producing a few splendid saves.

The winner, from a Younes Kaboul cross palmed by Martin Fulop onto Crouch’s head, prompted post-game hi-jinks when David Bentley doused manager Harry Redknapp with a barrelful of water. Almost exactly a year later City would win the rematch by the reverse score to qualify themselves for Europe's top competition – but in the meantime Spurs had had a glorious journey. RS

33. Man United 1-4 Liverpool 14/03/2009

When old rivals United and Liverpool met in the spring of 2009, the Merseysiders knew defeat would all but end their faint title hopes. But by full time it was United whose championship credentials were being questioned, as the Reds left Old Trafford with the points and local pride after an emphatic victory.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side looked on course to stretch their advantage at the top of the table when Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty gave them an early lead, but Fernando Torres hounded Nemanja Vidic into a mistake eight minutes later and raced through to coolly beat Edwin van der Sar. The quick turnaround was complete a minute before the interval, when Steven Gerrard scored from the spot having been upended in the box by Patrice Evra - cue slobbery camera snog.

United's day of misery was summed up 15 minutes from time when Vidic, who had been given the run-around by Torres all afternoon, was sent off for a foul on Gerrard, with Fabio Aurelio brilliantly curling home the resulting free-kick from 25 yards. Things got worse still for United in stoppage time, when Liverpool substitute Andrea Dossena lobbed over Van der Sar to complete the rout.

Sadly for Liverpool, United had the last laugh by going on to win a third successive title – equaling the Anfield side’s record of 18 domestic crowns. JG

32. Portsmouth 4-1 Southampton, 24/04/2005

Five months after leaving Pompey and four after taking over at bitter rivals Southampton, Harry Redknapp returned to Fratton Park, only to see his new team shredded within the first half-hour. After only four minutes Antti Niemii crashed into Lomano LuaLua and Yakubu converted the spot-kick in his usual cool fashion.

Arjan de Zeeuw doubled Pompey’s lead by nodding home a Patrik Berger cross at the back post, and although Henri Camara pulled one back for the Saints, LuaLua got the better of keeper Niemi once again, challenging him after he ran out of the box, and tucking the ball home into an empty net. He got Portsmouth’s fourth as well, bending the ball home from 20 yards to give his side an unassailable lead.

The win all but guaranteed Portsmouth’s Premier League survival. The following month, Southampton ended their 27-year stay in the top flight by finishing the season in bottom place. Six months after relegation, Redknapp resigned and returned to Fratton Park with his tail between his legs. RS

31. Man City 6-3 Arsenal, 14/12/2013

In a season of bonkers matches between the Premier League’s top seven sides (Liverpool walloped Spurs 5-0 on the same weekend), this ranks as the craziest.
 
Arsenal started the game top of the Premier League with the best defensive record in the division, having shipped just 11 goals in their first 15 matches. Although they still ended the weekend top of the pile, their defensive record was severely dented.
 
Sergio Aguero volleyed City into an early lead, but Theo Walcott tucked home the equaliser. City re-took the lead through Alvaro Negredo, with Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny picking up a knee injury in the process. The visitors suddenly looked far less stable at the back, and Fernandinho swept home a third shortly after half-time. Walcott pulled one back, but David Silva made it 4-2 minutes later.
 
A frantic end saw Fernandinho slot in a fifth for City, Mertesacker head in Arsenal’s third and Yaya Toure tuck in an injury-time penalty. JM


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