FourFourTwo names the 100 greatest Premier League matches (Yes, that one's in there. No, not that one, it was rubbish.)
1. 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 of the Premier League era. JM
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2. 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
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
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
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
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
7. Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 29/10/2008
Despite ending their eight-match winless start to the season in Harry Redknapp’s first match in charge three days beforehand, Spurs were still bottom of the pile and huge underdogs for this North London derby. But former Gunner David Bentley gave them a shock lead in sensational fashion, looping a shot over Manuel Almunia from fully 40 yards.
Spurs led for most of the first half, only for Mikael Silvestre and William Gallas to give the Gunners the lead with goals either side of the interval. Emmanuel Adebayor and Darren Bent made it 3-1 then 3-2, before Robin van Persie appeared to settle matters with the Gunners’ fourth. But with Spurs fans streaming from the away end, Jermaine Jenas’ fantastic individual effort set up a frantic finale. With seconds of injury time remaining, Aaron Lennon reacted quickest when Luka Modric’s shot rebounded off the upright, and coolly slotted home the visitors’ fourth of the evening, sending Redknapp potty on the sidelines. JM
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
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
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
11. Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal, 23/10/1999
“Kanu believe it!” bellowed Sky commentator Martin Tyler as Kanu’s remarkable late hat-trick turned the game on its head at Stamford Bridge.
After headed goals from giant Norwegian Tore Andre Flo and Romanian Dan Petrescu had given Chelsea the lead, Kanu pulled two back for the Gunners in the final 15 minutes of the regulation 90, first prodding home from close range, then beating Marcel Desailly to the ball to screw an effort low past Ed de Goey in the Blues goal.
Nobody could have predicted what would happen next, as the mercurial Nigerian broke free in injury time, striding past the onrushing De Goey by the corner flag and curling an almost impossible effort past the covering Frank Leboeuf and Desailly from the tightest of angles. JG
12. Man City 2-3 Fulham, 26/04/2008
With three games to go, Roy Hodgson's Fulham were five points from safety while Manchester City's erratic form was making hard work of a European spot. This game was typical of Sven-Goran Eriksson's side that season. A sumptuous curling effort from Stephen Ireland and a smart finish from Benjani put City 2-0 up after 20 minutes – while Fulham's relegation rivals Birmingham and Bolton both went in front.
In the second half, sub Diomansy Kamara halved the deficit by squeezing the ball through Joe Hart’s legs. Hart then saved Danny Murphy's penalty but the midfielder scored on the rebound. Then, with both sides pushing for the winner, Murphy slipped in Kamara, who carried the ball into the penalty area and fired into the roof of the net in the second of three added minutes to steal a precious win. Fulham went on to survive with a last-day win at Portsmouth. VE
13. Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool, 11/05/2003
A fixture billed as the "£20m game" ushered in an era which massively changed English football. Liverpool visited Chelsea on the final day of the Premiership season with the victors guaranteed fourth place and subsequently lucrative Champions League qualification.
Behind on goal difference, Liverpool had to win and went in front through Sami Hyypia but Marcel Desailly equalised a minute later and soon after Jesper Gronkjaer scored what turned out to be the winner. More importantly, the Dane's goal secured the destination of Roman Abramovich’s millions: with the Russian reportedly considering a move for London rivals Tottenham at the time, this Chelsea victory may have been their biggest yet. MC
14. Man Utd 1-6 Man City, 23/10/2011
For the third season running, City went to Old Trafford in October 2011 looking to make a bold statement and really demonstrate their title credentials. But unlike the previous two Premier League trips across Manchester, that’s exactly what they did.
After a cagey start, firework-loving loon Mario Balotelli helped swing the balance in City’s favour, calmly slotting home from the edge of the box to put the visitors ahead. The Italian was later hauled down by Johnny Evans, resulting in a red-card for the United defender. From that point onwards, everything for those of a United persuasion will be a horrible blur. Balotelli quickly made it 2-0, and it began to look a bit embarrassing for the champions when Sergio Aguero made it three.
But United just don’t know when they’re beaten, do they? Darren Fletcher pulled one back with ten minutes left, and the home fans suddenly started to believe in a comeback. But instead, City waltzed through a dazed and confused United backline, scoring three quick-fire goals to complete United’s worse home defeat since 1955. PH
15. Aston Villa 0-1 Oldham, 02/05/1993
The Premier League’s original Latics went into the final three games of 1992/93 knowing maximum points were needed to secure survival. Aston Villa, meanwhile, were desperately trying to keep pace with Manchester United in the title race.
Despite possessing the attacking talents of Dalian Atkinson and Dean Saunders, Villa were unable to make the breakthrough, and on a dramatic afternoon at Villa Park, Nick Henry grabbed the winner for the visitors. The result handed the title to Manchester United and ultimately proved to be the catalyst for Oldham’s survival, with the Boundary Park side eventually avoiding the drop on goal difference at the expense of Crystal Palace. JO
16. Southampton 6-3 Man United, 26/10/1996
Having been beaten 5-0 at Newcastle the week before, Manchester United were expected to take their frustrations out on lowly Southampton, especially given the embarrassing nature of their 3-1 defeat at the Dell the previous season, ‘invisible’ grey shirts and all. But Saints stunned the football world again by going one better than the Magpies and putting six past Peter Schmeichel.
Graeme Souness’ side led 3-1 at the break, with goals from Eyal Berkovic, Matt Le Tissier and Egil Ostenstad, putting the Hampshire side in the driving seat. David May pulled one back for the Red Devils to create a nervy second half, in which United long threatened to equalise, despite being reduced to ten men when Roy Keane was sent off. But Berkovic and Ostenstad struck again to settle south coast nerves. Paul Scholes got another for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, but a nicely finished Gary Neville own goal rounded off the perfect day for the Saints. RS
17. Liverpool 1-4 Chelsea, 02/10/2005
The two sides met regularly in this period, with most fixtures something of a war of attrition, but this fixture was different. Chelsea laid down an early marker during their defence of the Premier League title with this thumping win at Anfield, Liverpool’s only home defeat of the season.
Didier Drogba was in an exceptionally generous mood, winning the penalty for Frank Lampard to rattle in Chelsea’s first, then setting up goals for Damien Duff, Joe Cole and Geremi in a fine performance.
Liverpool had been level at 1-1 thanks to Steven Gerrard but the quality of Jose Mourinho’s Blues - and the Ivorian in particular - proved too much for the European Champions, as it did for the rest of the Premier League over the months that followed. PH
18. Man United 8-2 Arsenal, 28/08/2011
Yes, Arsenal may have been forced to field a weakened side thanks to yet another injury crisis, but that was no excuse for this pitiful surrender at Old Trafford. Danny Welbeck put United in front, before Robin van Persie saw his spot kick saved by David de Gea. Ashley Young made him pay the penalty (ho ho) by scoring soon afterwards and Wayne Rooney banged in a free kick to make it three.
Theo Walcott’s goal seemed to suggest Arsenal were up for the battle, but another Rooney free kick and a Nani special put out the Gunners’ brief spark. Park Ji-Sung got in on the action before Van Persie pulled another consolation back for the miserable Gunners. Carl Jenkinson was sent off for two bookings, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side did not sit back and instead rounded off the rout with Rooney’s hat-trick and an Ashley Young masterpiece.
The hammering forced Arsene Wenger to delve into to the transfer marker and sign Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos, but the Gunners were never quite able to recover their stride until springtime. RS
19. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, 10/03/1997
Lightning struck twice, as Liverpool and Newcastle played out a second 4-3 thriller in as many seasons. Both sides had designs on the Premier League title, with Liverpool four points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand, and Newcastle five points and one match behind. The Reds marched into a 3-0 lead, with Steve McManaman, Patrik Berger and Robbie Fowler all on the scoresheet.
But Kenny Dalglish’s Newcastle were resilient, and thanks in part to some suitably calamitous goalkeeping from David James, they were able to drag the score back to 3-3. James failed to keep out a tame Keith Gillespie shot, and then later rushed off his line, allowing Faustino Asprilla to lob the ball over his head and into the net. Perhaps now feeling a tad edgy, James again rushed off his line in an attempt to gather a loose ball after Asprilla was dispossessed by Bjørn Tore Kvarme, but Warren Barton got their first and prodded an equaliser past the befuddled keeper.
Yet James was let off the hook when Fowler headed home at the death to send Newcastle home from Anfield ruing their luck once again. RS
20. Liverpool 3-3 Man United, 04/01/1994
United were riding high at the top of the table and on a 17-game unbeaten run when they travelled to Liverpool, themselves languishing in ninth place. The form book looked to be a trusty guide when Steve Bruce, Ryan Giggs and Dennis Irwin put the Red Devils 3-0 up after just 23 minutes with three stunning goals leaving the home side shell-shocked.
However, Liverpool were not to be deterred, and re-grouped quickly enough for a Nigel Clough double to put them back within touching distance before half time. Both sides peppered the target throughout the second half, before Neil Ruddock powered in a header late on to complete the scoring, almost knocking himself unconscious in the process. PH
21. 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
22. Everton 2-4 Man United, 28/04/2007
After an absence of four years the Premier League trophy was within reach for Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United; a win at Everton would all but secure the title. However, the Toffees – perhaps fired up by a pre-match remembrance of the recently deceased Alan Ball – had other ideas.
First Alan Stubbs rattled a 30-yard free-kick past Edwin van der Sar, then Manuel Fernandes added another spectacular goal in the second half. United, however, responded in the style of champions by slamming four past stand-in keeper Iain Turner, who was replacing United loanee Tim Howard. John O’Shea tapped home from a corner then former United stalwart Phil Neville put past his own keeper trying to clear an effort from sub Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ex-Toffee Wayne Rooney put his team in front on 78 minutes before youngster Chris Eagles sealed the points with a classy finish at the death. United were five points clear and – after three seasons without the league title – in sight of a trophy they wouldn't relinquish until 2010. JO
23. Man United 4-3 Man City, 20/09/2009
United prospered in this classic Manchester derby, but it took them until the 96th minute to do it.
Although Mark Hughes’ City had strengthened heavily in the summer of 2009, the reigning champions were still favourites to win the match. Everything seemed to be going to script when Wayne Rooney put United ahead after two minutes, but Gareth Barry capitalised on a Ben Foster error to ensure the sides were level at the break.
Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy grabbed two goals each with the Welshman’s second being a sumptuous curling effort to equalise in the 90th minute. That looked to be the end of the action, but substitute Michael Owen popped up to win it deep – and we mean deep - into injury time.
The season ultimately ended in frustration for both sides, with United pipped to the title by Chelsea and City beaten to fourth place by Spurs. PH
24. Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal, 21/04/2009
The Reds haven’t often found themselves in the Premier League title race come the dying weeks of a season, but still had title ambitions in April 2009. They went into a midweek fixture against Arsenal knowing a win would put them two points clear of Manchester United at the top.
The Gunners had little to play for, but it didn’t show, with Russian new boy Andrey Arshavin giving them a half-time lead. Liverpool fought back, with Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun putting the home side in front, but the Russian came to the fore again, netting twice more to secure a hat-trick and regain the lead for the Gunners.
Torres leveled matters again, and with Liverpool going all out for the win, Arshavin struck an incredible fourth on the break. Benayoun just about had time to equalise once again, but Liverpool were unable to find a win to get United sweating. PH
25. Sheff United 1-2 Wigan, 13/05/2007
With Charlton and Watford already down, Sheffield United and Wigan were two of three teams battling to avoid filling the final relegation spot. Wigan knew only a win would be enough to survive, with the Blades safe unless they lost and fellow scrappers West Ham got a point from their match at Old Trafford.
Paul Scharner’s early opener for Wigan was cancelled out by Jon Stead, but the visitors were back in front just before the break thanks to a David Unsworth penalty. At the same moment, Carlos Tevez was giving West Ham the lead at Old Trafford.
Despite great pressure, the Blades were unable to force a second half equaliser and, with West Ham holding on in Manchester, they were down. To rub salt into United’s already gaping wounds, Wigan match-winner Unsworth had been allowed to move from Brammall Lane to the Latics on a free transfer just five months earlier. They presumably regretted it. PH
26. Oldham 4-3 Southampton, 08/05/1993
The first ever Premier League relegation dog fight came to a head at Boundary Park. Oldham needed to win and hope Crystal Palace lost at Arsenal to have any chance of survival. The Latics were going all out for the required three points, and as Southampton had nothing to lose it made for a thrilling contest.
Neil Pointon gave Oldham the lead on the half hour, scoring directly from a corner, only for Matt Le Tissier to volley Saints level just minutes later. Ian Olney put the Latics back in front just before the break, with Andy Ritchie heading in a third not long after the interval. When Gunnar Halle made if four it seemed as though it would be a smooth ride from there on in, but Le Tissier had other ideas.
The Saints hero quickly pulled one back, placing a 25-yard free-kick in the bottom corner, before heading in his third with five minutes left.
But not even Le Tissier could prevent an Oldham win, and with Palace succumbing to a 3-0 defeat at Highbury, Joe Royle’s side remained in the top flight. PH
27. Man United 9-0 Ipswich, 04/03/1995
This was a cold-blooded revenge killing. Ipswich had beaten Manchester United 3-2 earlier in the season, and Alex Ferguson’s side were out for payback. Roy Keane made clear United’s intentions by opened the scoring after just 15 minutes, and then Andy Cole decided to score five goals. As you do.
Mark Hughes also chipped in with two, and Paul Ince even found himself on the score sheet. It was a particularly bad day at the office for Ipswich goalkeeper Craig Forrest, who would later suffer a 7-1 battering at the hands of United while playing for West Ham.
Though this emphatic victory saw the Red Devils wipe out Blackburn’s goal difference advantage at the top of the league, they still ended up finishing second to the men from Ewood Park come May. RS
28. Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal, 13/11/2004
Martin Jol’s first game after being confirmed as Tottenham’s new ‘permanent’ manager was one to remember for neutrals, if not Spurs' beleaguered defenders.
Veteran defender Noureddine Naybet put Tottenham in front as the Lilywhites started well, only for Thierry Henry to grab the equaliser with the last kick of the first half. Arsenal then took the lead shortly after the break, with Lauren scoring from the spot after Noe Pamorot bundled over Freddie Ljungberg in the box. Patrick Vieira made it three when he barged his way through the home defence, but Jermain Defoe almost immediately scored an even better goal to keep Spurs’ hopes alive.
Ljungberg and Robert Pires goals either side of Ledley King’s header left Arsenal ahead in a pulsating encounter, although there was still time for Frederic Kanoute to score one final goal for Tottenham. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho dismissed the game as nonsense, sneering: “That is not a football score, it is a hockey score.” Hockey or football, it was brilliant. RS
29. Everton 3-2 Wimbledon, 09/05/1994
The last day of the 93/94 season was a complex affair which saw six teams fighting to avoid the remaining two relegation places. Everton and Oldham filled those places at the start of the day, but the Toffees avoided the drop with a win so incredible it was later linked to allegations of match-fixing – strongly denied and wholly unproven, of course.
Never the most welcome guests – and buoyed by the offer of a trip to Las Vegas if they could improve on their sixth-place standing – Wimbledon stormed into a two-goal lead through Dean Holdsworth's third-minute penalty and a Gary Ablett own-goal, but the fightback started with Graham Stuart's penalty and continued after half-time with a 30-yard Barry Horne leveller – his first goal of the season. Stuart's second of the game clinched it and Sheffield United's 3-2 loss to Chelsea sent them down with Oldham instead. PH
30. 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 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. Chelsea 2-4 Man City, 27/02/2010
Although Roberto Mancini’s 2010 vintage would ultimately fail to clinch Champions League qualification, this win in the capital really signaled the potential in his side – though it was the lack of a hand-shake between John Terry and Wayne Bridge which garnered most headlines.
Despite falling behind, the Citizens were not discouraged and proceeded to fire four goals past Hilario, with Carlos Tevez and Craig Bellamy both notching twice as the league leaders with comprehensively brushed aside. Chelsea weren’t helped by some ill-discipline which saw Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti share an early bath.
Chelsea may have gone on to win the title, but this match was perhaps a sign of things to come. PH
33. 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
34. 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
35. 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
36. 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
37. 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
38. Blackpool 2-3 Man United, 25/01/2011
This Bloomfield Road clash was Blackpool’s whirlwind Premier League season in microcosm: spirited, thoroughly entertaining and ultimately unsuccessful. Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell gave the midtable Seasiders a half-time lead over the league leaders which lasted until the 72nd minute, but then United did what they do best.
Dimitar Berbatov and sub Javier Hernandez restored parity with two goals in three minutes before the Bulgarian popped up again in the last throes of the contest to win it for the visitors. This was an early nail in Blackpool’s coffin and United hammered in the final one on the last day of the season. PH
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
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
41. Portsmouth 7-4 Reading, 29/09/2007
Any match which features 11 goals is likely to be high on entertainment – if not defending, of any standard - and this thriller between two of the Premier League’s lesser-heralded sides was exceptionally compelling.
Benjani Mwaruwari fired Portsmouth two goals ahead, but Reading got one back just before the break through Stephen Hunt and were level shortly after the interval when Dave Kitson capitalised on a David James blunder. Hermann Hreidarsson struck again for Pompey, before James made amends for his error by repelling a Nicky Shorey penalty.
Benjani grabbed his hat-trick before Niko Kranjcar, Sean Davis and Sulley Muntari got in on the action. Goals for Shane Long and Shorey were enough to restore a smidgen of Reading’s pride, with manager Steve Coppell saying: “It must have been great for the impartial observer.” He wasn’t wrong. RS
42. Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham, 20/11/2010
Two down at half-time and without a win at their greatest rivals since 1993, Tottenham produced a remarkable comeback. Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh had put Arsene Wenger's side in control, but the turnaround started five minutes into the second period.
Half-time sub Jermain Defoe's knockdown found Rafael van der Vaart, who set up Gareth Bale for a clinical finish. Then Van der Vaart's free-kick was inexcusably handled by Cesc Fabregas, giving the Dutchman the chance to level from the spot. And with five minutes left, Van der Vaart's cross was headed in by Younes Kaboul to reduce the home sections of The Emirates to silence – no jokes, please. GP
43. Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal, 25/04/2004
Given the 2003/04 Premier League campaign was such a procession for Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, the venue of their inevitable coronation could have been insignificant. But then defeats for title rivals Manchester United and Chelsea gave them the chance to secure their crown at the home of their fiercest rivals.
It looked as though Spurs would be swept aside as they fell 2-0 behind before half time thanks to Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires goals, but they weren’t about to let their neighbours have things all their own way. Jamie Redknapp swept home from distance to make things interesting, and when Jens Lehman got himself caught up in a spot of six-yard box handbags with Robbie Keane, the Irishman was given the chance to level from the spot. He obliged, but the point was enough for Arsenal to reclaim the title from Manchester United and give their fans local bragging rights for eight years and counting. PH
44. Everton 3-4 Man United, 07/02/2004
The David Moyes era at Goodison Park has been epitomised by hard work and this performance was full of it, although ultimately with no reward.
Newly signed striker Louis Saha was in a purple patch since arriving at United; he netted twice and Ruud van Nistelrooy once to give the away side a three-goal half-time lead. Insurmountable you would think, but in half an hour the Toffees were level thanks to David Unsworth, a John O’Shea own goal and Kevin Kilbane.
With the momentum well and truly swung in the Toffees’ favour, you would think there could now be only one. Wrong again. Van Nistelrooy flicked a header past Nigel Martyn with a minute left to win it for United. PH
45. Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal, 29/10/2011
In a season of enthralling high-scoring encounters between the uppermost sides, two teams trying to keep pace with the two Manchester clubs seemed to throw caution to the wind in pursuit of a crucial three points.
Goals from warhorses Frank Lampard and John Terry gave the hosts a 2-1 half-time lead against struggling Arsenal, but goals from Theo Walcott and Andre Santos put them in front for the first time. Juan Mata evened things up again with just 10 minutes left, but two late goals from Robin van Persie completed his hat-trick and a famous win for the Gunners. PH
46. Arsenal 1-2 Hull, 27/09/2008
High-flying Premier League new boys Hull continued to climb the division with this fine win at Arsenal, which took them up to sixth place after half a dozen games.
The Gunners took the lead with a Paul McShane own goal, bundled against the player by Cesc Fabregas, but Giovanni’s wonderful long-distance strike just after the hour mark put Phil Brown’s team back on terms – and within four minutes Daniel Cousin headed home an inswinging Andy Dawson corner. William Gallas hit the bar in a late Arsenal onslaught, which saw Boaz Myhill make a few splendid saves, including one from Fabregas.
Arsene Wenger said it was "a shocking defeat", and who are we to disagree? Arsenal couldn’t even blame the loss on fatigue: they had made 11 changes from the young Carling Cup side that had beaten Sheffield United 6-0 in midweek. RS
47. Tottenham 6-4 Reading, 29/12/2007
Brilliant Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov bagged four goals for Spurs as they played out a topsy-turvy game with Reading. The moody marksman opened the scoring early on, before the Royals stunned White Hart Lane with goals from Kalifa Cisse and Ivar Ingimarsson either side of half time.
Reading then proceeded to miss a string of great chances before Berbatov smashed home the equaliser. Dave Kitson nodded his side back in front before Berbatov scored again with a neat volley on the turn. Not to be outdone, Kitson dinked the ball over Paul Robinson when through on goal, to put Reading 4-3 up. But Steed Malbranque struck back for Spurs, with Jermaine Defoe putting them ahead by turning in the rebound after Marcus Hahnemann had saved Robbie Keane’s penalty.
Berbatov then lashed home his fourth to seal the game and rub salt in Reading’s wounds. “If you were impartial it would have been a magnificent game to watch,” said Royals boss Steve Coppell. He wasn’t wrong (again - see No.41). RS
48. Arsenal 4-2 Liverpool, 09/04/2004
A Thierry Henry hat-trick, including a wonder goal labelled his ‘most important’ in an Arsenal shirt by the man himself, saw the Gunners emerge victorious in this pulsating clash that proved to be a key moment in Arsenal's unbeaten season. The result saw Wenger’s men move seven points clear at the top of the Premiership table, but in a week where they were dumped out of both the FA Cup and Champions League, it could have all been so different.
Strikes from Sami Hyypia and Michael Owen had put Liverpool 2-1 up at the break, but after Robert Pires’ equaliser early in the second half, Henry struck back with a double to complete his hat-trick, the second a mazy dribble from the half-way line, taking the ball past several defenders and finishing neatly past Jerzy Dudek.
"Thierry Henry's second goal was amazing, but I think the whole team was amazing,” Arsene Wenger said after the game. JG
49. Arsenal 3-1 Man United, 25/11/2001
Two comical Fabien Barthez errors gave Arsenal the points at Highbury, as the Gunners moved clear of their fierce rivals on the way to capturing the 2001/02 league title.
Against the run of play, Paul Scholes had fired past Stuart Taylor to give United the lead. But after Freddie Ljungberg had equalised with a superb chip, Barthez seemed to lose his cool, with two late howlers from the Frenchman handing the Gunners a huge victory.
First, a scuffed clearance went straight to the feet of compatriot Thierry Henry, allowing the striker to put the hosts ahead. Then, just five minutes later, Barthez's nightmare continued when he failed to deal with Patrick Vieira’s through pass, leaving Henry with the easy task of rolling the ball into the empty net. JG
50. Birmingham 3-0 Aston Villa, 16/09/2002
It had been 15 years since the second cities two foremost football clubs had done battle in a league match, so Villa’s trip to St Andrew’s during Birmingham’s debut Premier League season was, to say the least, eagerly anticipated. Curiously, West Midlands Police had no issue with the match being shifted to a Monday night rather than a less pub-friendly Sunday noon kick off, and this perhaps added to a particularly rowdy atmosphere.
Both sides had made a slow start to the season, but Blues flew out of the traps, and found the opener through Clinton Morrison. But Villa’s greater top level experience began to tell, and by the second half they had taken control of the game, but couldn’t find a goal. So instead, they gifted one to Birmingham, with keeper Peter Enckelman allowing Olof Mellburg’s throw to roll under his foot and into the net.
Ignoring the fact the goal shouldn’t have stood, as nobody touched the ball betwixt throw and net-bulge, Brum fans went doolally, one baseball cap wearing oik taking to the pitch to get in the Finn’s face with a gesture popular among angry motorists. Geoff Horsfield scored a third, but with minimal comedic value. JM
51. Man United 0-1 Arsenal, 14/03/1998
This pivotal clash was perhaps the moment United realised the Gunners would be more than just a thorn in their side in the coming years.
Arsenal, chasing the Premier League and FA Cup double in Arsene Wenger’s first full season, arrived in Manchester without a string of big names, yet left Old Trafford having closed the gap between themselves and leaders United to just six points. More crucially, with three games in hand, their title destiny was in their own hands for the first time.
Marc Overmars’ goal in the 79th minute not only won the game, it seemed to dent United’s confidence on their own patch, with Fergie’s side dropping points at home to Liverpool and Newcastle and allowing Arsenal to win the title with two games to spare. JG
52. Leeds 4-3 Liverpool, 04/11/2000
Welcome to the Mark Viduka show. The Australian hit-man scored all four of Leeds’ goals as they stunned Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool.
Sami Hyypia and Christian Ziege put Liverpool 2-0 up, but they wasted a whole host of chances to extend their lead, and Viduka made them pay. He lofted the ball over Sander Westerveld after a Ziege error to put Leeds back in the game. Lee Bowyer was lucky not to be sent off after a hideous foul on Emile Heskey, before his team-mate Viduka equalised.
Chances were spurned at both ends, with Jamie Carragher clearing off the line for Liverpool and Ian Harte hitting the post with a free-kick. Vladimir Smicer put the Reds ahead for the final time, before Viduka grabbed two more, the fourth another fine chip over the poor Liverpool goalkeeper. RS
53. Nottm Forest 1-8 Man United, 06/02/1999
Manchester United broke a couple of records with this seismic win over Nottingham Forest. They laid claim to the biggest away win in Premier League history, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer picked up the accolade of most goals scored by a substitute in one match. Fitting really, as the Norwegian is famed for his exploits from the bench.
Astonishingly there were only ten shots on target in the entire game – the nine goals and a tenth that was parried by Forest keeper Dave Beasant, only to be banged in by Solskjaer. Dwight Yorke scored after two minutes before Forest equalised through Alan Rogers, but it was one-way traffic from there. Yorke scored another, with strike partner Andy Cole grabbing two for his troubles. But it was Solskjaer who really put Forest to the sword after coming on with 20 minutes to go.
United famously went on to complete the Treble, Forest were unsurprisingly relegated. RS
54. Man City 2-2 Liverpool, 05/05/1996
Facing final-day relegation, Alan Ball's City went 2-0 down through an unfortunate Steve Lomas own goal and Ian Rush's final Liverpool strike. However, a late rally saw the home side draw level thanks to goals from Uwe Rosler and Kit Symons.
Wrongly believing a draw would keep City up, boss Alan Ball told his players to keep the ball in the corners, but rivals Coventry and Ball's previous club Southampton had better goal difference. By the time Ball realised his dreadful blunder, it was too late and City were relegated. RS
55. Man City 4-1 Man United, 14/03/2004
Manchester City crushed their neighbours in the first ever Manchester derby to be played at Eastlands, with former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler inspiring Kevin Keegan’s side to a memorable win.
United looked forlorn from the off and were soon behind thanks to Fowler’s third minute strike. Jon Macken then swiveled and sent a volley into the corner of the net before Paul Scholes gave the visitors hope with a trademark 20-yarder.
But Trevor Sinclair pounced after a Mikael Silvestre error and Shaun Wright-Phillips hit a stunning drive to compound United, and Ferguson’s misery. JG
56. Tottenham 4-4 Aston Villa, 01/10/2007
In a game which marked Tottenham’s 125th anniversary it took an outrageous comeback to send Spurs fans home happy, as they came back from 4-1 down to pinch a point against Aston Villa.
Dimitar Berbatov delighted the White Hart Lane crowd by opening the scoring, but an unlikely double from Villa defender Martin Laursen turned the game on its head, with Spurs keeper Paul Robinson more than a little culpable for his side losing their lead. Gabriel Agbonlahor and Craig Gardner punished Jol’s Tottenham further still. With a magnificent away victory seemingly on the cards, the visiting Villa fans tauntingly serenaded the locals with a few blasts of 'Happy Birthday Tottenham Hotspur'.
But when Pascal Chimbonda popped up with a rare goal, it sparked a Tottenham comeback. Robbie Keane halved the deficit from the penalty spot after Darren Bent had been felled in the area and, as the game drew to a breathless and desperate finale, Younes Kaboul slammed home the equaliser at the death. Amazingly, both clubs would go on to draw 4-4 with Chelsea later in the same season. RS
57. Stoke 2-1 Arsenal, 01/11/2008
Tony Pulis' Stoke arrived in the Premier League with a reputation for being physical, pragmatic and well-drilled, and this stirring win over Arsenal did little to disprove that notion.
The Potters' storm-armed approach had already done for Aston Villa and Tottenham, and sensing it may be a day for brawn rather than brain, Arsene Wenger left Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott on the bench. But the Gunners just could cope with Stoke's directness, with Rory Delap's trademark long-throws particularly problematic. Ricardo Fuller and Seyi Olofinjana both scored as a result of the midfielder's lengthy hurls into the box, as Arsenal became frustrated to the point of substitute Van Persie being dismissed for barging into Thomas Sorensen.
Gael Clichy's late deflected strike was mere consolation, as the Gunners became the first elite club to lose a Premier League match to the Potters - but certainly not the last. JM
58. Man City 3-1 Man United, 09/11/2002
Gary Neville was rarely a man to give pleasure to opposition fans, but perhaps the biggest exception was the last top-flight derby at Maine Road. Under pressure from City's Shaun Goater, the United captain scuffed a pass which was snaffled up by the cult Bermudian for a crucial goal to put Kevin Keegan's side back in front.
Ironic home cheers greeted every Red Nev touch thereafter until his substitution on the hour. By which time Goater had made it 3-1 in a boisterous match which had started with Nicolas Anelka and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer swapping goals in the opening eight minutes. But – with respect to Goater – the match will forever be remembered for the visiting captain, whose name was sung loud and long by the joyous City fans. GP
59. Man United 6-1 Arsenal, 25/02/2001
Their 8-2 horror show of August 2011 wasn’t the first time Arsene Wenger’s side suffered an afternoon of utter embarrassment at Old Trafford. A decade earlier, his injury-ravaged team suffered another nightmare the Theatre of Dreams.
A makeshift Gunners centre back pairing of Igor Stepanovs and Gilles Grimandi unsurprisingly struggled to cope with a rejuvenated Dwight Yorke, who almost effortlessly bagged a hat-trick. Though Thierry Henry pulled one back, further first-half goals from Roy Keane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ended the game as a contest before the break.
Former (and future) Spurs striker Teddy Sheringham rubbed salt into the Gunners’ wounds with the sixth, as United effectively ended their rivals’ title hopes a full three months before the end of the season. JG
60. Tottenham 9-1 Wigan, 22/11/2009
The second half of this fixture was surely the most one sided in Premier League history, as Spurs shredded hapless Wigan and walloped in eight. Jermain Defoe, meanwhile, became the third player in Premier League history to score five goals in one game, including a breath-taking seven-minute hat-trick.
A Peter Crouch header was all that separated the teams at the interval, before Defoe stepped up to the plate. Paul Scharner got Wigan’s consolation, but with Aaron Lennon pulling the strings, Spurs romped to victory. Lennon, David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar grabbed the other goals as Wigan capitulated, with left back Erik Edman particularly culpable for their demise. The Latics refunded their travelling fans, with embarrassed captain Mario Melchiot admitting: “We feel that as a group of players we badly let down our supporters.” Well, yes. RS
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
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
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
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
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
66. 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
67. 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
68. 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
69. 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
70. 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
71. 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
72. 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
73. 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
74. 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
75. Leeds 3-4 Newcastle, 22/12/2001
As Christmas 2001 approached, Newcastle were leading the Premier League. But before Bobby Robson’s boys could knock back any celebratory egg-nog, they first had to face David ‘Scrooge’ O’Leary’s Leeds United. The Yorkshiremen, having invested heavily in the likes of Mark Viduka and Rio Ferdinand, were looking to make an impact against the league leaders.
Craig Bellamy finished off a lightning quick break to put the visitors ahead on 38 minutes, but goals from Lee Bowyer, Viduka and Ian Harte meant Leeds were ahead and looking comfortable with under an hour played.
A Robbie Elliot diving header gave the Toon Army hope of a Christmas miracle, and when Alan Shearer hammered home a penalty with 20 minutes to go it was anyone’s game. In the final minute Nobby Solano raced through and finished with aplomb to provide much festive delight to Dear Old Bobby and the Geordie nation. PH
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
85. 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. Sheff Weds 1-7 Nottm Forest, 01/04/1995
Wednesday were virtually mere bystanders as Frank Clark’s impressive Forest side waltzed to a huge away victory. The Owls simply couldn’t get to grips with Stan Collymore, who dragged the hosts’ defensive duo all over the pitch to allow Bryan Roy the freedom to run riot.
Roy and Collymore scored two brilliant goals apiece, with Ian Woan, Lars Bohinen and Stuart Pearce - the latter via a masterful trademark freekick - also getting in on the act. Clark’s newly-promoted side eventually finished the season in a more than creditable third place. DC
87. 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
88. 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
89. 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
90. Swansea 3-2 Arsenal, 15/01/2012
Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea had quickly built a reputation for being a slick passing side, and Arsenal first ever visit to the Liberty Stadium was billed as young pretenders against pass masters.
Robin van Persie gave the Gunners the lead by slotting home at Michel Vorm’s near post, but the North Londoners were soon pegged back when Scott Sinclair scored from the spot after Aaron Ramsey was perhaps harshly adjudged to have felled Nathan Dyer in the box. It was a nightmare return to Wales for Ramsey, and the former Cardiff man’s every touch was jeered by the baying home crowd. Things got even worse for the midfielder when he was dispossessed by Joe Allen, who teed up Dyer to blast the Swans ahead.
Theo Walcott slotted home an equaliser, but a lack of concentration from Arsene Wenger’s side – not to mention a sloppy pass from Thierry Henry – saw the newly-promoted Welsh side immediately go back in front through Danny Graham. Arsenal huffed and puffed, but couldn’t draw level, with Per Mertesacker guilty of spurning the best chance. JM
91. Sunderland 4-1 Chelsea, 04/12/1999
The archetypal big man-little man partnership worked wonders for Peter Reid during the more succesful years of his tenure at the Stadium of Light, and one of the highlights for his front two was in this match against Chelsea.
The Black Cats were eager to reverse the 4-0 scoreline inflicted on them on the opening day of the season, and within 40 minutes found themselves four goals to the good. Two Kevin Phillips strikes, one a glorious dipping 35-yard half-volley, sandwiched a Niall Quinn double, sealing the deal for the Wearsiders, before Gustavo Poyet notched a late consolation for the shamed Blues. JG
92. Blackburn 3-2 Burnley, 18/10/2009
The two fierce Lancashire rivals' first top-flight meeting since New Year's Day 1966 produced a perhaps surprisingly good game. Any chance of a cautious stalemate went out of the window after four minutes when Robbie Blake's curler sent the away end wild, and Blackburn skipper David Dunn levelled for Rovers less than five minutes later with his own curled effort.
Relishing the derby, lifelong Rovers fan Dunn drove Sam Allardyce's side on and on-loan Chelsea striker Franco di Santo profited from calamitous errors by generously-proportioned goalkeeper Brian Jensen and ageless defender Graham Alexander. Pascal Chimbonda scored again before half-time and there was no way back for Owen Coyle's side, despite Chris Eagles' late consolation. GP
93. Arsenal 2-4 Charlton, 04/11/2001
When Thierry Henry put Arsenal ahead after six minutes it seemed like it would be business as usual for the Gunners, who would’ve gone within a point of the summit with a win.
However, Steve Brown soon equalised for the Addicks, before Arsenal keeper Richard Wright bizarrely punched the ball into his own net from a Paul Konchesky free-kick shortly before half time. After the break, Claus Jensen scored one of the goals of the season with a wonderful lob, before Jason Euell slotted past Wright to amazingly make it 1-4 to the away side.
By this stage, Arsenal had 25 shots on target to Charlton’s five. Henry scored with a penalty on the hour mark, and such was Arsenal’s domination that most of the Highbury crowd firmly believed a comeback was on the cards. Charlton stood firm, however, and held out for a memorable victory. DC
94. Man United 2-3 Blackburn, 31/12/2011
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t receive the 70th birthday present he’d hoped for when bottom of the table Blackburn pooped the party by pulling off one of the shocks of the season and stopping United gaining top spot.
Yakubu gave the visitors the lead, firing home a penalty after being clumsily pulled down by Dimitar Berbatov in the box. The Yak was on target again after a blunder from Michael Carrick allowed the Nigerian striker the opening to slot past David De Gea.
Berbatov made amends for his earlier error by nodding in Rafael’s mishit shot, then drawing the hosts level after some great work from Antonio Valencia down the right. A winner seemed inevitable, but it was Blackburn’s Grant Hanley’s who got it, capitalising on some confusion in the United defence to head Rovers into a late lead.
The result left all at Old Trafford stunned, and helped keep Rovers boss Steve Kean in a job. Which was surely good news for all concerned... SW
95. Wolves 4-3 Leicester City, 25/10/2003
A seven-goal six-pointer with all the goals at the same end. Leicester stormed into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to a Les Ferdinand double and a rare Riccardo Scimeca goal. But Wolves gained heart from two Colin Cameron strikes in the first 15 minutes of the second half, and Alex Rae's header set up the heroic comeback. Sure enough, in the 86th minute, Henri Camara met Dennis Irwin's cross to cap a truly memorable Molineux day. GP
96. Norwich 4-4 Middlesborough, 22/01/2005
The Canaries were struggling through their first top flight campaign in a decade, but the visit of high-flying Middlesbrough (it sounded less funny at the time) gave them a chance to hoist themselves out of the drop zone.
Norwich took the lead through Damian Francis, but seasoned campaigner Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink soon had Boro back on terms. A second half double from Franck Queudrue and a fantastic 77th minute free kick from Hasslebaink looked to have wrapped up the points for the visitors, but Norwich were not done just yet.
Dean Ashton pulled one back almost immediately, and Leon Mckenzie reduced the deficit to one with a minute of normal time to play. Adam Drury completed a remarkable comeback heading home in the 92nd minute to give Norwich a well-deserved point. Sadly, it was all in vain, as they were relegated four months later. SW
97. Burnley 1-0 Man United, 19/08/2009
The Clarets made quite an impression in their debut (and to date, only) year in the Premier League by taking out the champions in their first home match.
With United winning their opening game of the season and the Clarets losing theirs, there was little suggestion on the radar that a storm was coming. But Burnley produced a perfect smash-and-grab victory, enjoying just 37% possession and producing 10 fewer shots than their more illustrious rivals.
The only goal was a thing of beauty, as Robbie Blake showed top-flight technique to hammer a 17th minute volley past Ben Foster. Brian ‘the Beast’ Jensen saved a Michael Carrick penalty and produced several other fine stops to deny the frustrated visitors. PH
98. Chelsea 8-0 Wigan, 09/05/2010
Rarely has a League title been secured in as emphatic a fashion as Chelsea’s rout of Wigan on the final day of the 2009/10 season. The West Londoners needed to win to secure their third Premier League crown, with Manchester United snapping at their heels a point behind. The Blues didn’t mess about in completing the task in hand.
Nicolas Anelka settled any nerves after just six minutes, and from there they never looked back, with Didier Drogba even completing a hat-trick in just 17 second-half minutes. Carlo Ancelotti’s side had already smashed seven goals past Sunderland, Aston Villa and Stoke that season and wrapped up the campaign with the prettiest bow in town with eight in front of their own fans. PH
99. Arsenal 5-3 Middlesbrough, 22/08/2004
Still basking in the glory of their unbeaten season of 2003/04, Arsenal’s Invincibles continued where they had left off in 2004/05, winning their opener at Everton 4-1.
After Thierry Henry chipped in an early goal in this, their first home game of the new season, it seemed like business as usual for the rampant champions, but Steve McClaren’s Boro had other ideas. Joseph-Desire Job, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Franck Queudrue blasted three great strikes past Jens Lehmann to leave Arsenal rocking at 3-1 down.
But the visitors just couldn’t keep the quality of Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Jose Antonio Reyes at bay, with the trio scoring one apiece within 11 minutes to turn the game on its head. Thierry Henry capped off the win with a late fifth. PH
100. Sunderland 1-3 Charlton Athletic, 01/02/2003
A home defeat to Southampton had seen Sunderland drop to 19th place in the Premier League, but the visit of Charlton to the Stadium of Light just four days later gave them the chance to break out of the bottom three. They didn’t take it. Instead, the proceeded to shoot themselves in foot – three times.
On an afternoon chock-full of farce, the suitably unlucky Black Cats put through their own net not once, not twice, but thrice. Fullback Stephen Wright was first on the score-sheet, deflecting Charlton defender Mark Fish’s shot past Thomas Sorensen. Michael Proctor inadvertently bundled over the line after a save from the Dane, before again prodding one in at the wrong end to leave the home fans raging as their side trailed 3-0.
Kevin Phillips pulled one back late on, but Charlton were soon laughing all the way back down to London. Literally, we presume. JM