This wasn't in the script...
Bournemouth’s 4-0 thumping of Chelsea on Wednesday night came as a real surprise, particularly as Maurizio Sarri’s side seemed to have turned a corner with cup victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield Wednesday.
The Cherries also beat the Blues 3-0 at Stamford Bridge last term, but neither of those upsets made the cut in our slideshow documenting the 10 most shocking results in Premier League history…
Southampton 6-3 Man United (1996)
Premier League champions Manchester United headed into this clash at The Dell on the back of a 5-0 thrashing by Newcastle, and were widely expected to take out their frustration on a struggling Southampton side. Yet this quickly turned into a nightmare afternoon for Alex Ferguson’s men, who fell to fifth in the table after a humbling 90 minutes on the south coast.
The visitors were already 1-0 down when Roy Keane was sent off midway through the first half, and things went from bad to worse when Matt Le Tissier doubled Southampton’s lead in the 35th minute. David Beckham halved the deficit soon after, only for Egil Ostenstad to restore the hosts’ two-goal cushion on the stroke of half-time.
David May pulled another back for United nine minutes after the restart, but three Southampton goals in the final 10 minutes put the game beyond them despite Paul Scholes’ late consolation.
Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland (2010)
Although Sunderland had made a promising start to the 2010/11 campaign, few anticipated anything other than a routine home win when they made the long trip down to west London in mid-November.
Chelsea were league leaders having taken 28 points from the first 36 available, while Stamford Bridge season-ticket holders had seen their side lose only three of the last 126 league games on their own patch.
The Black Cats drew first blood just before half-time, Nedum Onuoha scoring a fine solo goal to give his team a shock lead. The anticipated second-half fightback didn’t materialise, and further efforts from Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck gave Sunderland a famous victory.
Middlesbrough 8-1 Man City (2008)
Everything changed for Manchester City when the Abu Dhabi United Group completed their takeover of the club in summer 2008. A few months prior, Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men were on the wrong end of a stunning demolition at the Riverside Stadium.
Neither team had anything to play for on the final day of the season, yet it was clear from the opening exchanges that they didn’t share similar levels of motivation. An early Richard Dunne red card certainly didn’t help the visitors, but losing 8-1 to a team who finished just six points clear of the drop zone represented one of the most embarrassing results in the club’s history.
Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough (2001)
Things were looking pretty bleak for Middlesbrough as they prepared to take on Arsenal in April 2001; having won only one of their last 10 top-flight fixtures, a side jointly managed by Terry Venables and Bryan Robson found themselves just one place and two points above the dreaded dotted line.
The Gunners needed all three points to prevent Manchester United from wrapping up the title with five games to spare, but they were powerless to resist as Boro ran riot at Highbury. A pair of own goals from Edu and Sylvinho sent the visitors on their way in the first half, before Ricard’s 58th-minute strike put the gloss on a fine victory for the relegation battlers.
Liverpool 0-1 Barnsley (1997)
Little was expected of Barnsley in their debut top-flight campaign of 1997/98 following their surprise promotion the previous year. Early home triumphs over Crystal Palace and Bolton gave the Tykes hope, but they had collected only four points from a possible 30 before a daunting trip to Anfield in November.
Liverpool had made an inconsistent start to a season in which they were expected to push for the title, but a team featuring the talents of Michael Owen, Jamie Redknapp and Steve McManaman was expected to make light work of Danny Wilson’s underdogs. Instead, Ashley Ward’s first-half effort was enough to give Barnsley their first ever away win in the top tier.
Arsenal 2-4 Norwich (1992)
In hindsight this perhaps wasn’t as much of a surprise as it seemed at the time, but the shock value of Norwich’s opening-day victory over Arsenal shouldn’t be underestimated. The Canaries had only narrowly avoided relegation in 1991/92, while their north London opponents were among the favourites to win the inaugural Premier League.
It was Norwich who ultimately launched a title tilt as Arsenal finished 10th, with this August triumph setting the Norfolk club on their way to their best ever season. Steve Bould and Kevin Campbell had given the hosts a 2-0 advantage at the interval, but four Norwich goals in 15 crazy second-half minutes turned the match on its head in remarkable fashion.
Arsenal 2-3 West Brom (2010)
The scoreline suggests that this was a tight game with little to choose between the sides, but a 3-2 loss to unfancied West Brom flattered Arsene Wenger’s side. The Baggies had failed to win any of their 19 away league encounters before this trip to the Emirates in September 2010, while Arsenal looked set to mount a title challenge having gone unbeaten in their first five games of the campaign.
Roberto Di Matteo’s charges tore up the script, though, as Peter Odemwingie, Gonzalo Jara and Jerome Thomas gave them a spectacular 3-0 lead. A Samir Nasri brace made the result look a little more respectable, but there was no doubt that West Brom fully deserved their famous win.
Chelsea 0-1 QPR (2013)
It’s often claimed that the form book goes out of the window in derby games, but there seemed little chance of an upset when Chelsea entertained their fellow west Londoners in January 2013. After all, QPR had emerged victorious from just one of their 20 league matches before the turn of the year, and title challengers Chelsea had won their last four assignments by an aggregate score of 14-2.
Rafael Benitez’s men enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and had 26 shots to their opponents’ seven, but a failure to break down QPR’s packed defence came back to haunt them when Shaun Wright-Phillips smashed home a late winner against his former employers.
Man United 2-3 Blackburn (2011)
With Blackburn embroiled in a civil war which turned the majority of the club’s supporters against owners Venky’s and manager Steve Kean, any suggestions of an away win at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve 2011 would have been laughed out of the room.
Rovers were propping up the table having won just one of their last 13 matches, while United knew a victory would see them leapfrog Manchester City at the summit of the standings as they prepared to welcome 2012 in with a bang.
Even when Yakubu scored his and Blackburn’s second in the 51st minute, a Blackburn win looked improbable – a feeling which only intensified when Dimitar Berbatov’s double made it 2-2. Kean’s side weren’t done there, though, and Grant Hanley popped up with 10 minutes left on the clock to settle this five-goal thriller in the underdogs’ favour.
Liverpool 1-2 Blackpool (2010)
While Liverpool had made a stuttering start to the season under Roy Hodgson, this game was earmarked as the one in which they would belatedly kick-start their season.
Blackpool may have amassed one more point than their opponents in the first six games of 2010/11, but their two previous meetings with members of the big five had seen them thrashed 6-0 at Arsenal and 4-0 at Chelsea.
A similar scoreline in Liverpool’s favour was considered more likely than an away win, but Blackpool upset the odds in magnificent fashion. Charlie Adam and Luke Varney put Ian Holloway’s entertainers 2-0 up at the break, with Liverpool unable to find an equaliser after Sotirios Kyrgiakos had pulled one back in the 53rd minute.