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FourFourTwo's best 100 Premier League matches ever: 40-31

Words: James MawGary Parkinson,Phil HaighRik SharmaJake Gable

40. Wigan 3-2 Arsenal, 18/04/2010

This match will be remembered for an incredible 11 minutes that simultaneously ended one side’s championship challenge and the other’s fight against relegation – we bet you can't 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. The Gunners looked set to do exactly that as they entered the final 10 minutes with a 2-0 lead; the Latics had other ideas, though, and when Ben Watson pulled one back in the 80th minute they suddenly found hope.

Lukasz Fabianski then gifted Titus Bramble an equaliser as the clock ticked towards 90, leaving the path clear for Charles N’Zogbia to curl home a sensational last-gasp winner. PH

39. Man United 0-1 Arsenal, 08/05/2002

There are few more satisfying ways to wrap up a title than by winning at the home of the defending champions, which is exactly what Arsenal did in 2002. It had been a keenly-contested race for much of the season, but 11 wins on the spin gave the Gunners the chance to seal the deal at Old Trafford with a game to spare.

Sylvain Wiltord scored the only goal of a tense encounter, ensuring his place in Arsenal folklore for evermore. The victory was made all the more sweet as it came four days after Arsene Wenger's men's FA Cup final defeat of Chelsea, with the north Londoners therefore able to celebrate another Double on the pitch of their rivals. PH

38. Liverpool 2-1 Blackburn, 14/05/1995

On the final day of the league season, Kenny Dalglish's Blackburn headed 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 – West Ham held out for a 1-1 draw and Blackburn were champions by a point. GP

Next: 'Arry drenched

37. 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 the England striker 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. Arsenal 2-3 Leeds, 04/05/2003

For the sixth season in a row, the title race came 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; the threat of relegation was a real one, though, and Leeds were duly fired up for the battle.

Harry Kewell gave the visitors an early lead following a glorious pass from Jason Wilcox, before Thierry Henry tapped in an equaliser after Paul Robinson had tipped Ray Parlour's effort onto the bar.

The teams exchanged blows again through an Ian Harte free-kick and a clever finish from Dennis Bergkamp, with the Gunners pushing hard for a winner thereafter. Leeds hit the hosts on the break with just two minutes remaining, however, Mark Viduka selling 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 in May 2003. JM

35. 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, while much-maligned keeper Heurelho Gomes produced a string of 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 – although Spurs had enjoyed a glorious journey in the meantime. RS

34. 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. By full-time, though, it was United whose championship credentials were being questioned, as the Reds left Old Trafford with the points and pride after an emphatic victory.

Sir Alex Ferguson's charges 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 and raced through to beat Edwin van der Sar eight minutes later. 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 runaround 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 (remember him?) lobbed Van der Sar to complete the rout.

Sadly for Liverpool, United had the last laugh by going on to win a third successive title – equalling the Anfield side’s record of 18 domestic crowns. JG

Next: Safety secured at the death

33. Portsmouth 4-1 Southampton, 24/04/2005

Five months after leaving Pompey for 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 Niemi crashed into Lomano LuaLua, with Yakubu converting the spot-kick in his usual cool fashion.

Arjan de Zeeuw then 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 into an empty net. He also grabbed Portsmouth’s fourth, bending home from 20 yards to give his side an unassailable lead.

This victory all but guaranteed Portsmouth’s Premier League survival, while Southampton's 27-year stay in the top flight was ended the following month. Six months later, Redknapp resigned and returned to Fratton Park with his tail between his legs. RS

32. Man City 6-3 Arsenal, 14/12/2013

In a season of bonkers matches between the Premier League’s top seven (Liverpool walloped Spurs 5-0 on the same weekend), this ranks as the craziest.

Arsenal started the game top of the Premier League with the best defensive record in the division, having shipped just 11 goals in their first 15 matches. While they still ended the weekend at the summit of the standings, their defensive record was severely dented.

Sergio Aguero volleyed City into an early lead, before Theo Walcott tucked home an equaliser; City then retook the lead through Alvaro Negredo, with Gunners defender Laurent Koscielny picking up a knee injury in the process. The visitors suddenly looked far less stable at the back, and Fernandinho swept home a third shortly after half-time. Walcott pulled one back, but David Silva made it 4-2 minutes later.

A frantic end saw Fernandinho slot in a fifth for City, Mertesacker head in Arsenal’s third and Yaya Toure tuck in an injury-time penalty. Utter madness. JM

31. Everton 3-2 Wimbledon, 09/05/1994

The last day of the 1993/94 season was a complex affair, with six teams fighting to avoid the remaining two relegation spots. 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 Everton fightback started with Graham Stuart's penalty and continued after half-time with a 30-yard Barry Horne leveller – his first of the season. Stuart's second of the game clinched it, with Sheffield United's 3-2 loss to Chelsea sending them down with Oldham instead. PH

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