The best Premier League night games
For reasons which aren't entirely clear, football always feels more special when the floodlights are on. The atmosphere tends to crackle that bit more when the sun has set, with the fans’ excitement allowed to steadily build throughout the day.
It certainly helps when the two teams involved produce an entertaining game, too. In this slideshow, we count down eight of the most brilliant night matches in Premier League history.
8. West Ham 3-4 Wimbledon (September 9, 1998)
The 1998-99 season began well for West Ham and Wimbledon, who both went into this London derby unbeaten. The Hammers raced into a three-goal lead after only 27 minutes thanks to goals from ex-Arsenal team-mates John Hartson and Ian Wright (two), but Marcus Gayle pulled one back before half-time.
That gave the Dons hope, and they came out firing after the break. An error from West Ham centre-back Javier Margas was gobbled up by Jason Euell, before another goal from Gayle brought the teams level. Then, with nine minutes remaining, Wimbledon substitute Efan Ekoku found the net to complete a remarkable turnaround.
7. Arsenal 4-3 Leicester (August 11, 2017)
A new Premier League season began on a Friday night for the first time in 2017-18, with Arsenal playing host to Leicester on a mild August evening. Any fears of a cagey encounter on the opening weekend were dispelled within five minutes: Alexandre Lacazette got his Gunners career off to the perfect start by drawing first blood, before Shinji Okazaki hit back to make it 1-1.
Leicester then went 2-1 and 3-2 up as Jamie Vardy scored either side of half-time to wipe out Danny Welbeck’s leveller. The Foxes remained a threat on the counter-attack and had opportunitites to grab a decisive fourth, but their failure to do so allowed Arsene Wenger’s men to turn the game on its head with late efforts from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.
6. Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham (May 5, 2010)
This was essentially a play-off for the final Champions League spot in 2009-10, with Tottenham holding a one-point advantage over Manchester City ahead of their midweek trip to the Eithad.
Excellent performances from Ledley King and Heurelho Gomes kept Manchester City strikers Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez at bay, and Spurs were in control from the start. Peter Crouch hit the post, before City's on-loan keeper Marton Fulop denied Jermain Defoe.
Crouch later atoned for his missed chances, heading in from a Younes Kaboul cross and sparking bedlam in the away end. The celebrations carried on in the tunnel afterwards, with David Bentley interrupting Harry Redknapp’s post-match interview to pour a bucket of ice water over his head before dancing around in his Y-fronts.
5. Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool (May 5, 2014)
Liverpool had lost control of the Premier League title race a week before their trip to Selhurst Park. A 2-0 home defeat by Chelsea left Manchester City as favourites to claim the crown, but the Reds had the chance to pile the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini’s charges in south London.
Brendan Rodgers’ swashbuckling side stormed into a three-goal lead against a Palace team who had already secured survival thanks to a fine Tony Pulis-led escape job. The game looked done and dusted after an hour, and Damien Delaney’s deflected strike in the 78th minute seemed to be nothing more than a consolation.
Yet Palace didn’t give up there, and a late double from Dwight Gayle almost took the roof off Selhurst Park. Liverpool’s title dreams lay in tatters.
4. Liverpool 3-3 Man United (January 4, 1994)
Manchester United had just won their first title in 26 years, and Alex Ferguson’s quest to overcome Liverpool’s historical dominance was just beginning. But this game arguably demonstrated as big a difference in quality between these two teams as has ever existed in the Premier League era.
Liverpool were languishing in seventh – some 21 points adrift of their rivals, who were on a 17-game unbeaten run. United looked like strolling to No.18 after racking up a 3-0 lead within 23 minutes, but Nigel Clough immediately chopped the deficit to two, then grabbed another before the break to give the Reds a fighting chance.
With 10 minutes left, Neil Ruddock headed past Peter Schmeichel to ensure Graeme Souness' side grabbed a point. The United goalkeeper later revealed he was temporarily sacked by a finger-pointing Ferguson after the game, to which the Dane responded with “a lot of abuse”.
3. Leicester 3-3 Arsenal (August 27, 1997)
Dutch dynamo Dennis Bergkamp was the star of the show in this early-season classic at Filbert Street, opening the scoring with a beautiful curled effort from a short corner, before adding another in the second half with a deft (if deflected) dink over Foxes keeper Kasey Keller.
The Gunners were coasting at 2-0 with six minutes of normal time remaining, until a botched attempt to clear a high ball fell to Emile Heskey, who duly pulled one back in the 84th minute. When Matt Elliott scuffed in a deflected 93rd-minute equaliser, Leicester thought they'd secured themselves a point – but an even later moment of dazzling Bergkamp magic edged Arsenal back ahead.
Yet still the drama wasn’t over, as Arsenal’s failure to defend a 96th-minute corner allowed Foxes captain Steve Walsh to power home a dramatic equaliser.
2. Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal (April 21, 2009)
Arsenal new boy Andrey Arshavin put the Gunners 1-0 up against Rafael Benitez’s title-challenging Liverpool in April 2009, before two Dirk Kuyt crosses – one finding Fernando Torres, another Yossi Benayoun – edged the hosts in front.
Two blunders from full-backs allowed Arshavin to complete his hat-trick, though, the Russian maestro dispossessing Alvaro Arbeloa and then capitalising on a poor clearance from Fabio Aurelio. Torres scored his second equaliser soon after to tee up a nervy final 20 minutes.
In the 90th minute, Liverpool won a corner at the Kop end. The stage was set. But instead of sending the home faithful into raptures, the ball was cleared to a 20-year-old Theo Walcott, who sped the length of the pitch before providing for Arshavin to score his fourth. Benayoun rescued a draw for the Reds, but this was still a case of two points dropped.
1. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle (April 3, 1996)
Before Sergio Aguero scored a certain goal in the 93rd minute, Martin Tyler’s most memorable line of commentary came from a late Stan Collymore winner. Even losing manager Kevin Keegan enjoyed it, confessing he was “elated” after the match despite the fact Newcastle’s title challenge had suffered as a result.
Robbie Fowler gave the Reds an early lead inside two minutes, but they soon found themselves behind thanks to goals from Les Ferdinand and David Ginola. Fowler scored his second to level things after half-time, but Newcastle replied again through Faustino Asprilla. Collymore then equalised with 20 minutes remaining, getting on the end of a Jason McAteer cross.
Cue the injury-time drama: Ian Rush and John Barnes' interplay, “Collymore closing in” and Keegan slumped over the advertising hoardings. An instant classic.
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