Chelsea 5-0 Manchester United (1999)
Twenty years ago this week, Manchester United were on the wrong end of a mauling at Stamford Bridge. Alex Ferguson's side had won an unprecedented treble a few months earlier and were on a lengthy 29-match unbeaten run in the top flight when they headed to west London in October 1999.
The hosts were ahead within 27 seconds as Gus Poyet drew first blood, before Chris Sutton doubled their lead in the 16th minute. Henning Berg was sent off for United soon after, and Chelsea scored three more goals to register one of their most impressive victories of the pre-Roman Abramovich Premier League era.
Bournemouth 4-0 Chelsea (2019)
It's easy to forget now, but Chelsea made an excellent start to the season under Maurizio Sarri in 2018/19. The Italian's departure at the end of the campaign was mourned by few Blues fans, but his side were the Premier League's early pace-setters and remained within touching distance of eventual champions Manchester City in mid-January.
The wheels came off thereafter, though, most conspicuously in a 4-0 humbling by Bournemouth. The Cherries have a fine record against Chelsea since their promotion to the top flight, but no one saw such a comprehensive demolition coming.
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.
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal (2011)
Arsenal fans were filled with pessimism as they headed to Old Trafford in August 2011. With the parsimonious Arsene Wenger carefully guarding his piggy bank, the Gunners had made just two major signings with a few days of the transfer window remaining, while their first two games of the Premier League season had yielded a single point.
Even so, not even those supporters with half-empty glasses saw this coming. Arsenal were brutally put to the sword by a rampant Manchester United, who didn't even have to be at their best to administer an 8-2 massacre. "It is terribly painful," Wenger said afterwards.
Manchester United 1-2 Bolton (2001)
Sam Allardyce's best work remains his eight-year tenure with Bolton, who rose from the Championship to the UEFA Cup under his management. Promoted to the Premier League in 2001, the Trotters endured a sensational start to life in the top flight, beating Leicester, Middlesbrough and Liverpool to lead the way after three games.
The honeymoon period didn't last much longer, though, and Bolton were without a victory in six when they headed to Old Trafford in October. Manchester United had won each of the last three Premier League titles but were stunned by their visitors, as goals from Kevin Nolan and Michael Ricketts earned Allardyce's upstarts all three points.
Chelsea 2-3 Burnley (2017)
Most pundits and punters felt second-season syndrome would bite for Burnley in 2017/18; Sean Dyche had done a brilliant job in guiding them to safety the previous year, but the summer sales of Andre Gray and Michael Keane were likely to hit the Clarets hard.
Instead, they went on to enjoy their most successful top-flight campaign since 1971, with Burnley's run to seventh place and the Europa League beginning with an incredible victory at Stamford Bridge on the opening day. Dyche's side stormed into a 3-0 lead in west London, and although the deficit was eventually cut to one, the visitors held on for all three points.
Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City (2011)
Manchester City's superb start to the 2011/12 season showed that they were ready to mount a sustained title tilt for the first time under their Abu Dhabi ownership. Roberto Mancini's men had collected 22 points from a possible 24 ahead of their October trip to Old Trafford, but Manchester United were hot on their heels having won six and drawn two of their first eight encounters.
The match was pretty tight until the second half, with City entering the interval with a 1-0 lead provided by Mario Balotelli. But the challengers ran riot against the champions after the break, with Balotelli, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Edin Dzeko (two) all on target to produce a jaw-dropping result.
Arsenal 1-2 Hull (2008)
Hull's eventual 17th-place finish didn't tell the full story of their topsy-turvy 2008/09, in which the Tigers sunk from sixth in December to the brink of the relegation zone in May. It was a spectacular collapse from Phil Brown's side in the second half of the season, but they owed their survival to a fantastic start in which the newly promoted outfit made a habit of taking the game to whoever stood in their way.
Indeed, a trip to the Emirates Stadium in late September didn't faze a Hull side who had avoided defeat in four of their first five fixtures. Arsenal took the lead through a Paul McShane own goal, only to be left stunned when goals from Geovanni and Daniel Cousin turned the match on its head.
Manchester City 2-3 Crystal Palace (2018)
Crystal Palace have developed a reputation as coupon busters since their promotion in 2013, routinely upsetting the big boys away from home. The Eagles have won at Old Trafford, the Emirates Stadium, White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge and Anfield in recent years, but their most unlikely triumph came at the Etihad Stadium in December 2018.
City looked to be headed for a routine win when Ilkay Gundogan gave them a first-half lead, but Jeff Schlupp levelled the scores within five minutes and Andros Townsend then unleashed one of the most magnificent volleyed goals in Premier League history to edge Roy Hodgson's side ahead. They later made it 3-1 from the penalty spot, with City unable to find an equaliser after Kevin De Bruyne's 85th-minute effort.
Burnley 1-0 Manchester United (2009)
A 2-0 away defeat by Stoke on the opening day of 2009/10 demonstrated the size of the task ahead for newly promoted Burnley. The Clarets were heavy favourites for relegation that season, but in their second game of the campaign they showed that demotion was far from a foregone conclusion.
Robbie Blake gave Owen Coyle's men the lead after 19 minutes, and Burnley defended stoically thereafter to keep the Premier League champions at bay. United had reached the Champions League final a few months earlier, but Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and co. were left with egg on their faces at Turf Moor.
Liverpool 0-1 Watford (1999)
There weren't too many highlights in Graham Taylor's first and only Premier League season in charge of Watford, with the Hornets winning just six games and suffering relegation in last place.
One of those victories must go down as one of the biggest upsets in Premier League history, however, as Watford shocked Liverpool in August. Tommy Mooney grabbed the only goal of the game in the 14th minute, capitalising on some uncharacteristically sloppy defending to send the away end at Anfield into raptures.
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