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

10. Bradford 1-0 Liverpool, 14/05/2000

Bradford and Wimbledon both went into the final day of the season on 33 points, but the Dons held a clear goal difference advantage in the fight to avoid the drop.

Wimbledon’s trip to Southampton may have looked a little easier than a home tie with a Liverpool side pushing for a Champions League spot, but the Bantams took an early lead as David Wetherall thumped a header past Sander Westerveld. Wimbledon conceded two second half goals at the Dell while Bradford just about held on at Valley Parade and retained their Premier League status to the delight of manager Paul Jewell. PH

9. Newcastle 5-0 Man United, 20/10/1996

Any heavy Manchester United defeat is remembered by fans of the victors, but this loss suffered by the Double winners was so glorious in its magnitude that it was celebrated far more widely than just on Tyneside. Darren Peacock scored the first, his header crossing the line despite the protestations of Peter Schmeichel – who had kept clean sheets in five of the previous nine league games.

David Ginola’s outrageous second set the tone. Les Ferdinand and Alan Shearer doubled the lead after the break and Magpies fans thought it couldn't get any better. How wrong they were, as defender Philippe Albert sealed the deal with a 25-yard lob – not bad for a defender. As Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan said without false deflation: “Undoubtedly, the most enjoyable day I have ever had as a manager.” RS

8. Leicester 3-3 Arsenal, 27/08/1997

Although Arsenal would ultimately go on to win the title in 1997/98, it wasn’t all plain sailing. They endured a stuttering start to the campaign, including this classic draw at Filbert Street. Dennis Bergkamp was the star of the show, putting the Gunners 2-0 up with an hour played. Arsenal were untroubled until Emile Heskey pulled one back late on and then Matt Elliot scored what looked to be the final goal to equalise in the 93rd minute.

Bergkamp was not done though and had time to score one of the great Premier League goals as he brought down a cross, beat his man and gloriously slotted the ball past Kasey Keller with the inside of his right foot. But this was STILL not the end of the goal action. The match endured long enough for Foxes skipper Steve Walsh to head home the latest of levelers. PH

7. Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal, 05/02/2011

At the half way stage of this fixture, Newcastle had been battered black and blue (not black and white, which they presumably wouldn't have minded as much). Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou put Arsenal two up before the fourth minute, before Robin van Persie grabbed two for himself, sending the Magpies into the dressing room 4-0 down at half time. With much lauded No.9 Andy Carroll having just been sold and not replaced, the locals were feeling more than a little restless. But pity the foolish fans who left at the interval, for Alan Pardew’s men had something special in-store for the second half.

One moment of pure stupidity from Abou Diaby let the Toon team back in the game; the midfielder was sent off for a foolish shove on Joey Barton, then another push on Kevin Nolan. Two penalties from Barton and Leon Best strike saw Newcastle thrust themselves back into the game, and Arsenal were teetering on the brink. And then it came, a truly magnificent left-footed volley from the most unlikely of sources, Cheik Tiote. The Ivorian, as stunned as anyone to see the net ripple, ran halfway down the pitch in wild celebration – a jubilance shared by Newcastle’s amazed fans. RS

6. Aston Villa 1-2 Man United, 23/08/1993

Early in the Premier League's second season, the champions visited the runners-up for an evening game that displayed exactly what the competition was capable of: absorbing football played at breakneck speed. Ron Atkinson's hosts went for the jugular from the off, but it was boyhood Villa fan Lee Sharpe who opened the scoring after good work from Ryan Giggs (remember him?) and Paul Ince.

Dalian Atkinson outstripped Steve Bruce to level just before the break, and after the oranges Villa again started the stronger, with Dean Saunders going close and Kevin Richardson whacking a half-volley off the post. However, United overcame the absence of the injured talisman Eric Cantona, with Paul Ince stepping up to the plate: his long pass set Giggs free to hit the post before his slide-rule through-ball allowed Sharpe to coolly net the winner. GP

5. Wigan 3-2 West Ham, 15/05/2011

The result which sent West Ham down with a game to spare was indicative of a particularly poor campaign for the East Londoners. To stand a chance of extending their six-year top-flight run they needed three points at fellow relegation scrappers Wigan and a Fulham win at Birmingham. All looked rosy for Avram Grant’s side for nearly an hour, as both they and Fulham went two goals clear – but where the Cottagers held on to win, the Hammers collapsed into ignominy despite Demba Ba's first-half double.

Charles N’Zogbia took charge to start and finish an inspired Wigan comeback. Twelve minutes into the second half, the Frenchman curled a delightful free-kick into the top corner, before Connor Sammon – thrown on at half-time with Victor Moses by Roberto Martinez – equalised half-way through the second period. With a draw no use to either side – and neither side much use at defending – the two teams exchanged blows like punch-drunk boxers before N’Zogbia cut in from the right and squeezed a shot under Rob Green in the fourth minute of added time. Wigan got the win, West Ham got that sinking feeling and Avram Grant got the sack. VE

4. Tottenham 3-5 Man United, 01/10/2001

Rarely has that rotten old cliché 'a game of two halves' been a more appropriate way to describe a footballer match than when said of this momentous Manchester United fightback. Spurs romped into a 3-0 half time lead thanks to a debut goal from Dean Richards and one each from Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege. But Sir Alex Ferguson worked his magic in the champions’ dressing room during the break, and United returned to the pitch for the second half like a wounded animal. No need to contact the RSPCA, it's just a metaphor.

Andy Cole scored within a minute of the restart, and from that moment the tide turned. Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastien Veron and finally David Beckham transformed Tottenham’s day of ecstasy to one of agony. PH

3. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, 03/04/1996

Voted the finest match of the Premier League’s first decade and pored over by Keys and Gray more often than Charlotte Jackon’s backside, this high-octane humdinger is widely renowned as one of the definitive matches of the Premier League era. Both sides were pushing Manchester United for the title, with the visitors knowing a win would take them level on points with the leaders.

The game started at a frantic pace, with Robbie Fowler giving the Reds an early lead, only for Les Ferdinand and David Ginola to quickly strike back for the Toon. Fowler’s well-taken second put Liverpool back level early in the second half, but within two minutes Faustino Asprilla had put Newcastle back in front. With just over 20 minutes to play, Stanley Victor Collymore popped up with another equaliser, and from then on both teams went hell for leather looking for a winner.

It was Liverpool, and Collymore, who got it, after a neat passing moving involving veteran duo John Barnes and Ian Rush. Although Magpies boss Kevin Keegan dejectedly slumping forward in the dugout is one of the Premier League’s most enduring images, rather than bemoan his side’s defeat, Kev said after the match; “I know I should be disappointed, but I’m elated.” JM

2. Arsenal 3-2 Man United, 09/11/1997

A little over one year after Arsene Wenger arrived in North London, the French revolution was really starting to take shape. The Gunners had started the 1997/98 season well, with just one defeat in their first 13 matches, but the visit of champions and league leaders Manchester United to Highbury was by far their sternest test yet.

Arsenal were ahead when an 18-year-old Nicolas Anelka brilliantly blasted the ball past Peter Schmeichel for his first Premier League goal. The lead was doubled before the half-hour mark, when Patrick Vieira brilliantly swept a loose ball back across the Dane's head and into the net. But in typical fashion, United fought back, former Tottenham man Teddy Sheringham netting a quickfire double to enrage the locals and level the scores before half time.

But it was those same fans who had the last laugh, thanks to David Platt's late header. United pushed hard but were unable to find another equaliser. The win moved Arsenal to within a point of the top, and by May they would be champions for the first time in the Wenger era, sowing the seeds for one of the fiercest rivalries in Premier League history. JM

1. Manchester City 3-2 QPR, 13/05/2012

Top at kick-off on the last day, all Manchester City had to do was beat QPR – managed by former City boss Mark Hughes, who had his own reasons for wanting an unlikely win: not only had he been rather brusquely shoved out for City to hire Roberto Mancini, but the 17th-placed Rs were only two points above relegation. 
 
A tense first half got even nervier when Wayne Rooney's goal put title rivals Man United ahead at Sunderland, and although Pablo Zabaleta scored before the break, Djibril Cisse's equaliser early in the second half ramped up the blood pressure. Red-carded Joey Barton tried to take some City players with him but Jamie Mackie put the Hoops into an unlikely 66th-minute lead. 
 
City entered the five minutes' added time 2-1 down, but Edin Dzeko's 92nd-minute leveller gave hope. Three minutes later Mario Balotelli's first assist of the season was larruped home by Sergio Aguero. City were champions at the very death. GP


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