Category Archives: Memorable Matches

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 1-2 Sunderland (August 1999)

Goalscorers: Kieron Dyer 28, Niall Quinn 64, Kevin Phillips 75

Teams:

Newcastle United: Tommy Wright, Nikos Dabizas, Didier Domi, Alain Goma, Warren Barton, Jamie McClen, Gary Speed, Kieron Dyer, Nolberto Solano, Paul Robinson (Duncan Ferguson 57), Silvio Maric (Alan Shearer 72)

Sunderland: Thomas Sorensen, Michael Gray, Steve Bould, Paul Butler, Chris Makin, Alex Rae, Stefan Schwarz (Kevin Ball 69), Gavin McCann, Nicky Summerbee, Niall Quinn, Kevin Phillips

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 36,420

The Tyne & Wear derby has always been a passionate battle for supremacy and in August 1999, Newcastle United boss Ruud Gullit was under tremendous pressure. His side had made a terrible start to the season, conceding 11 goals in four matches and collecting just one point; a 3-3 draw with Wimbledon days earlier. His next move would ultimately seal his fate.

Captain Alan Shearer had been suspended for the Wimbledon match following a controversial red card on the opening day of the season at home to Aston Villa. He was expected to lead the line for this massive confrontation. However, Gullit incredibly took the decision to bench his skipper along with his strike partner Duncan Ferguson. In came rookie Paul Robinson and the untried Silvio Maric. It was a baffling decision amidst reports of a power struggle for supremacy at the club between the manager and his skipper.

Shearer could only watch on during a match that was played at a high-tempo despite the filthy weather conditions. Newcastle started well and took the lead in the 27th minute. Robinson did a good job in difficult circumstances and he created the opening goal for Kieron Dyer. Dyer, a summer signing from Ipswich Town was played in by Robinson and he chipped the ball over Thomas Sorensen as the Dane came out to block down the angle. It was his first Newcastle goal and good enough to ensure the home side went into the half-time interval 1-0 ahead.

It was the fourth time in a row that Newcastle had led a match this season and on all three previous occasions, they’d thrown away that position. The crowd must have feared the worst then when Sunderland equalised midway through the second half. The towering presence of Niall Quinn was too much for Newcastle’s defenders. His header flew into the back of the net from Nicky Summerbee’s free-kick delivery.

By now, Shearer had been thrown on by Gullit as he finally withdrew Maric who looked completely overawed by the occasion. Less than two minutes after the change, Sunderland were ahead through a wonderful moment provided by Quinn’s strike partner, Kevin Phillips. Back-up goalkeeper Tommy Wright came out from his goal to smother Phillips’ first attempt at goal. The ball returned to Phillips and he produced a swerving lob from an improbable angle that beat Wright all ends up and ended in the top corner.

Although Kevin Ball almost spared the Magpies’ blushes with a spectacular own goal in the final moments, Newcastle general response after going behind was lacklustre. Sunderland had the bragging rights and Gullit was out of a job. He resigned two days later. Sir Bobby Robson was his successor and guided the club to a safe mid-table finish, whilst getting Shearer back in the goals.

This was Sunderland’s night. It was the evening where Ruud Gullit gambled and lost big time.

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Memorable Matches: Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Newcastle United (January 2007)

Goalscorers: Jermain Defoe 14, Paul Huntington 16, Dimitar Berbatov 54, Obafemi Martins 72, Nicky Butt 73

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Paul Robinson, Lee-Young Pyo, Calum Davenport (Hossam Ghaly 88), Michael Dawson, Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio (Didier Zokora 79), Tom Huddlestone, Steed Malbranque (Robbie Keane 75), Aaron Lennon, Dimitar Berbatov, Jermain Defoe

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Paul Huntington, Matty Pattison, Peter Ramage, Steven Taylor, Nicky Butt, James Milner, Antoine Sibierski, Kieron Dyer, Nolberto Solano, Obafemi Martins

Referee: Steve Bennett, Attendance: 35,942

This was a match in January 2007 that promised much and certainly delivered. Neither Tottenham Hotspur, nor Newcastle United were in sparkling form ahead of this encounter between two mid-table sides. Newcastle arrived with a threadbare squad but ultimately finished the afternoon as the happier side, taking all three points for their first win at White Hart Lane since January 2003.

Tottenham completely dominated their opponents in the first 15 minutes but ran into an inspired Shay Given, who put in another blockbuster performance. He made early saves to deny Jermain Defoe, Dimitar Berbatov and Steed Malbranque. Eventually, the pressure told and Spurs got a deserved lead. Malbranque made a surging run down the left-hand side and played in Defoe to convert in a position where he normally takes his chances. Television replays later showed a potential for an offside in the build-up but the goal stood and at this stage, it looked being a long afternoon for the Magpies’.

Perhaps Tottenham switched off completely because concentration levels dropped just two minutes later. James Milner curled in a free-kick. Youngster Paul Huntington had a header blocked. However, he reacted quickest to the loose ball and squirmed a shot in-between the legs of Paul Robinson for an unexpected leveller. It was Newcastle’s very first attack of the match.

As Steve Bennett blew the half-time whistle, trouble flared up between both sets of players. Pascal Chimbonda of Tottenham and Newcastle’s Nicky Butt were booked for their part in a scuffle where Chimbonda appeared to slap Butt in the face. The Frenchman was very fortunate to avoid more severe sanction. Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder was not impressed with Chimbonda’s conduct and nine minutes into the second half, his anger was bound to have grown. The right-back made an impressive run to meet Malbranque’s pass. Nolberto Solano was able to deny Teemu Tainio but Berbatov was instinctive enough to volley the ball into the floor and into the net.

Tottenham continued to control the match but failed to convert their opportunities and in the space of 94 seconds, saw the potential of three points turn into the probability of getting nothing. Obafemi Martins was having a quiet afternoon but in the 72nd minute, he burst into life. Playing a one-two with a colleague, the Nigerian forced Michael Dawson into backing off on him. Martins then delivered an unstoppable left-foot drive that sped into the top corner, giving Robinson absolutely no chance.

Moments later, Martins turned provider for what turned out to be the winner. He played a delightful ball for Butt who made a run from midfield and angled a shot across Robinson’s bows and into the net. It was a nice moment for the ex-Manchester United youngster who had been suffering from flu all week and missed a high proportion of training. Newcastle held the hosts off for an improbable and unlikely victory.

Memorable Matches: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Manchester United (February 2006)

Goalscorers: David Bentley 35, 41, 56, Louis Saha 37, Lucas Neill 45 PEN, Ruud van Nistelrooy 63, 68

Teams:

Blackburn Rovers: Brad Friedel, Michael Gray, Andy Todd, Ryan Nelsen, Lucas Neill, Tugay (Brett Emerton 45), Robbie Savage (Aaron Mokoena 90), Steven Reid, Morten Gamst Pedersen, David Bentley (Jemal Johnson 90), Shefki Kuqi

Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra. Wes Brown (Mikael Silvestre 76), Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville, Darren Fletcher, Kieran Richardson (Ruud van Nistelrooy 54), Cristiano Ronaldo, Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 25,484

Manchester United travelled to Ewood Park in early February 2006 still with hopes of catching Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table. Trouble was – the gap was a yawning 14 points between the two teams. By the end of the evening, those distant dreams had evaporated through a marvellous and unexpected hat-trick by David Bentley. Bentley had been on-loan to Blackburn Rovers for the first half of the 2005-2006 season and just 24 hours earlier, had made his move into a permanent transfer from Arsenal. The midfielder was above to prove to worth to manager Mark Hughes.

On a cold Lancastrian evening, the home crowd were about to be treated to wonderful entertainment which started with Bentley’s opener on 35 minutes. Blackburn won a free-kick which Morten Gamst Pedersen took. Pedersen was one of the best set-piece takers at the time in the Premier League and he forced a save from Edwin van der Sar. The goalkeeper couldn’t hold on and Bentley pounced on the rebound to put the home side infront.

It started a crazy period of four goals in 10 minutes and Blackburn’s first lead lasted just a couple of minutes. Louis Saha, preferred to Ruud van Nistelrooy in attack equalised after Wayne Rooney forced Brad Friedel into an excellent save. Like his counterpart Van der Sar, Friedel was unlucky. Saha simply reacted quicker than the defenders to strike an immediate reply.

If Van der Sar was unfortunate with the first goal, he had to take accountability for Bentley’s second. A complete breakdown in communication between the Dutchman and Rio Ferdinand saw the England defender flick the ball over his head. Bentley was left with an open goal to finish off this unexpected gift. United’s woeful defensive display continued before half-time. Wes Brown stopped Steven Reid’s cross with his hand and Phil Dowd gave a penalty to Blackburn, converted by Lucas Neill.

11 minutes into the second half, it was 4-1. Robbie Savage picked out Bentley who had time and space to pick out his shot and find the bottom corner. Bentley became the first player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United. The last had been Dennis Bailey for Queens Park Rangers in the old first division on New Years’ Day 1992.

Just before that goal, United had thrown Van Nistelrooy on and he scored his 20th Premier League goal of the season shortly after his arrival. Andy Todd’s slip allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to pick out Van Nistelrooy who finished deftly from close range. Five minutes later, he was sent clear by Brown’s flick and drilled a shot past Friedel to make it 4-3. However, Blackburn held on to complete a league double over the Red Devils for the first time in the Premier League era.

Memorable Matches: Queens Park Rangers 2-3 Liverpool FC (October 2014)

Goalscorers: Richard Dunne 67 OG, Eduardo Vargas 87, Philippe Coutinho 90, Steven Gerrard 90+1 OG, Steven Caulker 90+5 OG

Teams:

Queens Park Rangers: Alex McCarthy, Yun Suk-Young, Nedum Onuoha (Matt Phillips 45), Richard Dunne, Steven Caulker, Mauricio Isla, Sandro (Armand Traore 60), Karl Henry, Leroy Fer, Charlie Austin, Bobby Zamora (Eduardo Vargas 79)

Liverpool FC: Simon Mignolet, Jose Enrique, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Emre Can (Joe Allen 66), Jordan Henderson, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling (Kolo Toure 90), Adam Lallana (Philippe Coutinho 66), Mario Balotelli

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 18,069

Bottom of the table with just four points from eight matches, Queens Park Rangers were struggling for form and confidence ahead of this meeting with Liverpool FC. At the end, they came off the field wondering how they’d lost a game they’d largely controlled.

Brendan Rodgers recalled Mario Balotelli after he had been dropped for the home win over West Bromwich Albion before the international break. Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp made six alterations to his QPR side following their dreary display and 2-0 defeat to West Ham United. One player reintroduced to the fold was Bobby Zamora and he was a pest all afternoon. Zamora played a part in the best moments of a scoreless first half. Twice he set-up Dutch international Leroy Fer and on both occasions, Fer was desperately unlucky not to score with his efforts bouncing off the woodwork.

Liverpool looked disjointed and stuck for ideas without the injured Daniel Sturridge. Raheem Sterling, who had complained to England boss Roy Hodgson a week earlier to rest him because of fatigue, was largely non-existent. That was until the arrival of Philippe Coutinho off the bench which set-up a barnstorming final 25 minutes.

The visitors’ took the lead on 67 minutes. Quick thinking from a free-kick saw Sterling guide in a low cross that Richard Dunne turned into his own net. It was the 10th own goal of Dunne’s Premier League career – an unwanted record. Redknapp’s response was to remove Zamora from the action and play his wildcard in the Chilean forward Eduardo Vargas.

With four minutes remaining, it looked like the decision would work wonders. Charlie Austin’s knockdown gave Vargas the opportunity to level the scores with his first Queens Park Rangers goal since joining on-loan from Napoli. The least the home side deserved was a share of the spoils but it looked like Liverpool FC were going to luck into victory as the clock struck 90 minutes.

Coutinho produced a superb finish which via a deflection off Steven Caulker’s boot, left Alex McCarthy powerless to stop the shot. Coutinho had scored the winner between these sides at Anfield when they last played each other in May 2013 and he was having the final say here.

That was until an almighty goalmouth scramble led to a second QPR equaliser. Vargas scrambled in his second goal although it was officially credited as an own goal off the Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. Simon Mignolet’s goalkeeping left a lot to be desired.

Just when it looked like the drama was over, Liverpool flew forward and Sterling did the damage. His attempted pass was cut-out by Caulker who was desperately unfortunate to see his clearance end up in the back of the net.

Liverpool climbed upto fifth spot but this match would be the paradox for both of the club’s retrospective seasons. The Reds’ looked off-form and failed to sparkle on their way to a distant sixth spot, whilst Queens Park Rangers were relegated back to the Championship through a mixture of poor luck and naïve defending.

Memorable Matches: Everton 1-5 Norwich City (September 1993)

Goalscorers: Paul Rideout 13, Efan Ekoku 44, 57, 63, 69, Chris Sutton 77

Teams:

Everton: Neville Southall, Gary Ablett, Matt Jackson, Andy Hinchcliffe, Paul Holmes (Preki 66), John Ebbrell, Barry Horne, Mark Ward (Brett Angell 66), Peter Beagrie, Tony Cottee, Paul Rideout

Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Rob Newman, John Polston, Ian Culverhouse, Mark Bowen, Ian Crook, Ian Butterworth, Jeremy Goss, Ruel Fox, Efan Ekoku, Chris Sutton

Referee: Paul Durkin, Attendance: 20,631

Fans of Everton had gone through peaks and troughs throughout the early 1990s. Once considered one of the main powerhouses in English football, they were now going through times of struggle. However, there seemed to be some hope in the early weeks of the 1993-1994 Premier League season. Howard Kendall’s side topped the table after winning their first three matches and were sitting in the top six ahead of this match. Norwich City were one of the most exciting sides to watch in the Premier League. Their attack line was capable of goals and they’d already beaten Leeds and Blackburn away from East Anglia this season. However, this result would top their lot for the campaign.

Everton started the quicker team and fresh from a hat-trick in the League Cup in midweek, Paul Rideout found the net again, reacting quickest to a long ball from Andy Hinchcliffe in the 13th minute. The home side had the better of the first half but couldn’t convert their chances and against the run of play, were pegged back right on the stroke of half-time. Nigerian forward and Liverpool FC fan Efan Ekoku escaped the attentions of Hinchcliffe and drove an equaliser into the far corner of the net leaving Neville Southall furious with the marking from his defenders.

As the game wore on, the timing of that goal become very significant. Norwich grew in confidence and the home side looked a bit shell-shocked. Ekoku was completely reinvigorated by his opening goal and he doubled his tally just before the hour mark. He found space in the penalty area and rose unchallenged to Chris Sutton’s cross, powering a header past Southall.

Kendall tried to change the course of the match. On came Preki and centre forward Brett Angell. Angell was making his debut on-loan from Southend United. The pattern of the game though wouldn’t change. Now infront, Norwich looked to do what they had done to Leeds a month earlier and destroy their opposition. This they managed to do, with some help from their opponents. Ekoku completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute. A long ball over the top of the Everton defence caught them completely off-guard. Ruel Fox remained onside and bared down on goal. Southall was able to save his effort but the rebound fell gleefully to Ekoku who made no mistake and ended the game as a contest. That wasn’t the end of the scoring though.

On 69 minutes, the scoreline stretched to 4-1. Ekoku again exposed the lack of pace from Everton central defenders Dave Watson and Gary Ablett. He charged clear, rounded Southall, and then guided his fourth goal of the afternoon into the net despite Barry Horne’s vain attempt to stop it on the line. In doing so, he became the first player in Premier League history to score four times in one match. Sutton completed the scoring with 13 minutes remaining.

The loss remains one of Everton’s heaviest at home in their history. Kendall won just one more match in charge in the league and quit in early December. He would ironically be replaced in January by Mike Walker, the manager of Norwich on this day. The Canaries’ would finish in mid-table whilst Everton only just survived on the final day of the season.

Memorable Matches: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Swansea City (May 2013)

Goalscorers: Roger Espinoza 45, Angel Rangel 49, James McCarthy 52, Itay Shechter 58, Dwight Tiendalli 75

Teams:

Wigan Athletic: Joel Robles, Emmerson Boyce (Ronnie Stam 86), Paul Scharner, Gary Caldwell, Roger Espinoza, James McArthur, James McCarthy, Ben Watson, Shaun Maloney, Callum McManaman (Franco di Santo 64), Arouna Kone

Swansea City: Michel Vorm (Gerhard Tremmel 85), Angel Rangel, Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, Garry Monk, Dwight Tiendalli, Wayne Routledge, Leon Britton, Pablo Hernandez (Kemy Agustein 77), Jonathan de Guzman, Itay Shechter (Nathan Dyer 69)

Referee: Kevin Friend, Attendance: 18,850

They might have been gearing up for an upcoming FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium against Manchester City but Premier League survival was at stake for Wigan Athletic when they entertained Swansea City in a midweek match towards the end of the 2012-2013 season.

Wigan made three changes to the team that had won a five-goal thriller against West Bromwich Albion a few days earlier with skipper Gary Caldwell returning to the side.

Swansea were having a great season. The League Cup was already in their trophy cabinet and Michael Laudrup’s side were looking good for a top 10 finish. They started well with Wayne Routledge pouncing on a misplaced pass by stand-in left-back Roger Espinoza. Only the reflexes of Joel Robles spared Espinoza’s blushes. The visitors’ were missing their top goalscorer Michu, who was being rested with a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon at the weekend.

As the first half wore on, Wigan grew into the game and Roberto Martinez’s side grabbed a priceless lead right on the stroke of half-time. Ben Watson’s cross into the box wasn’t dealt with cleanly by Michel Vorm. The Dutchman’s punch only fell to Espinoza, who drove the ball home to open the scoring. What a great time it was for Espinoza to score his first goal for the club.

Swansea increased the pressure after the restart and quickly levelled the match. Routledge’s wonderfully measured cross found Angel Rangel and the full-back finished like a forward, with his crisp shot going into the net off the post. Wigan needed to respond quickly to this setback and they did. Just three minutes later, they were back infront. Caldwell’s pass found James McCarthy who broke from midfield. He just beat Ashley Williams to the decisive final contact and his shot was placed nicely out of Vorm’s reach. Wigan were back ahead.

Defensive errors though had cost Martinez’s side all season and they didn’t stop here. A sloppy pass from Caldwell in the 58th minute allowed Pablo Hernandez to pick out Itay Shechter. His shot took a deflection off the unfortunate Emmerson Boyce to beat Robles and make it 2-2. There always looked like a winner would emerge and it would be a devastating blow for the home side. With 15 minutes remaining, Shaun Maloney and James McArthur got in each other’s way at the back post. With neither taking decisive action, Dwight Tiendalli was in the right position to punish Wigan. His goal sealed the three points for Michael Laudrup’s team.

Wigan did enjoy an unbelievable day at Wembley to stun Manchester City and win the FA Cup final but were relegated the following Tuesday at Arsenal. This defeat was the crucial blow in their fight to survive.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (March 1998)

Goalscorer: Marc Overmars 79

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, John Curtis (Ben Thornley 52), Denis Irwin, Henning Berg, Gary Neville, Phil Neville (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 77), Ronny Johnsen (David May 79), David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole

Arsenal: Alex Manninger, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour (Remi Garde 70), Marc Overmars, Christopher Wreh (Nicolas Anelka 66), Dennis Bergkamp

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 55,174

It wasn’t quite a title decider but this match between Manchester United and Arsenal in March 1998 was a pivotal one in deciding who would claim the advantage in the season. Two weeks earlier, United had beaten Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Most bookmakers’ stopped taking bets and some even started paying out on another title for the men from Old Trafford.

However, Arsenal dug in and were starting to be rewarded. Three days earlier, they had won at Wimbledon to close the gap at the top to nine points with three games in-hand. Defeat at the Theatre of Dreams would all but end their aspirations for a title tilt. Victory would put them within striking distance of their opponents, who still had European action on their minds.

Alex Ferguson’s options were restricted by injuries. Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt were among those on the treatment table whilst Alex Manninger passed a late fitness test to keep his spot in-goal for the Gunners’ with David Seaman still absent through injury.

After early pressure from the home side, it was Arsenal who looked the more energised. Marc Overmars was the most threatening player to Manchester United. His best chance of the first half was a shot into the side netting after splitting the defence. Gary Neville and youngster John Curtis were struggling to handle the pace of Overmars throughout. United’s best opening came seven minutes before the interval. Andy Cole looked in an offside position but the flag stayed down. This meant Cole was played through but he was to be thwarted by Manninger.

There was little change in terms of the momentum in the second half. Arsenal were the more likely side to score but were passing up opportunities to inflict the damage. Finally, they broke the deadlock 11 minutes from full-time. Substitute Nicolas Anelka flicked the ball onto Overmars, who once again ran beyond Gary Neville. His header gave him the advantage to run onto the ball and saw him beat Peter Schmeichel as the Dane started to close down his angles. It was the first goal Arsenal had scored at Old Trafford since 1991 and what a crucial one it was.

As they tried to rescue the game, there was worse to come for Manchester United. Schmeichel decided to make a run into the Arsenal penalty area for a corner but when the move broke down and he tried to sprint back, he pulled his hamstring, ruling him out of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg with French side AS Monaco.

Arsenal had done it and became just the second side to double Manchester United in a season in Premier League history. They wouldn’t drop another point before wrapping up the title in early May. Arsene Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the Premier League and the platform for this success was this result at Old Trafford.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 3-2 Sunderland (October 2005)

Goalscorers: Shola Ameobi 34, 37, Liam Lawrence 35, Stephen Elliott 41, Emre 63

Teams:

Newcastle United: Shay Given, Peter Ramage, Jean-Alain Boumsong, Steven Taylor, Stephen Carr, Emre (Amdy Faye 81), Scott Parker, Charles N’Zogbia, Nolberto Solano (Lee Clark 80), Shola Ameobi (Michael Chopra 79), Alan Shearer

Sunderland: Kelvin Davis, Justin Hoyte, Steven Caldwell, Gary Breen (Alan Stubbs 42), Nyron Nosworthy, John Welsh (Julio Arca 45), Dean Whitehead, Liam Miller, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Elliott, Andy Gray (Anthony Le Tallec 79)

Referee: Rob Styles, Attendance: 52,302

In October 2005, both Newcastle United and Sunderland were struggling in the lower reaches of the Premier League. Sunderland had just one victory to their name all season, which had come in their last away match ironically at fellow north east rivals Middlesbrough. Newcastle didn’t even score a goal in their first four matches of the campaign and only Manchester City had left Tyneside pointless so far. This was a massive match for both where more than just local pride was at stake.

Graeme Souness was the Newcastle manager at the time and he was missing his summer arrival Michael Owen who was injured. Shola Ameobi was therefore recalled to the starting XI to partner Alan Shearer. He was a menace all afternoon and showed Geordie supporters that there was more to the team than just Shearer & Owen. Newcastle were the better side before taking the lead in the 34th minute. Ameobi connected with Emre’s inch-perfect corner and his header beat Kelvin Davis. It would trigger an incredible spell of four goals in just seven minutes.

Considering how low on confidence Sunderland must have been with just five points registered from nine matches, they didn’t show it. Liam Lawrence equalised almost straightaway with a precise drive that left Shay Given helpless. Sunderland were showing character. Unfortunately, their defending was not upto to scratch. Ameobi lost his marker again to nod in Charles N’Zogbia’s hooked cross just three minutes later. Ameobi always seemed to save his best football for derby days against the Black Cats.

Moments later, parity was restored once again. Stephen Elliott curled an absolute beauty into the net from 25-yards out. It silenced the St James’ Park faithful. Despite having bossed possession and having the better of the chances, Newcastle were not leading at half-time. They weren’t ahead at the interval but they would be by the full-time whistle. The excellent and energetic Emre crashed in a free-kick from distance that bounced off Davis’ left-hand post and into the net. The excitable Turkish midfielder then ran to the touchline to leap into Souness’ arms. This was a moment he would never forget.

Sunderland kept pressing as they looked to equalise for a third time in this see-saw battle. Elliott managed to lob Given when played in by Anthony Le Tallec but this time, the crossbar intervened. The Irish goalkeeper then managed to parry another effort from Elliott around the post.

Afterwards, Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy said: “I think we could have done better than to concede from corner kicks but my players are giving me, the club and the supporters’ value for money.”

Sunderland would win only two more matches all season and went down with just 15 points. Newcastle sacked Souness in February 2006 but rallied to finish seventh in Shearer’s final season as a professional footballer.

Memorable Matches: Manchester City 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur (May 2010)

Goalscorer: Peter Crouch 82

Teams:

Manchester City: Marton Fulop, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Kolo Toure, Wayne Bridge, Nigel de Jong, Gareth Barry (Patrick Vieira 57), Adam Johnson (Shaun Wright-Phillips 71), Craig Bellamy (Roque Santa Cruz 84), Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor

Tottenham Hotspur: Heurelho Gomes, Michael Dawson, Ledley King, Younes Kaboul, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Tom Huddlestone, Luka Modric (Wilson Palacios 88), Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon (David Bentley 71), Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe (Roman Pavlyuchenko 81)

Referee: Steve Bennett, Attendance: 47,370

This was effectively a shootout for a UEFA Champions League qualification spot. Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Eastlands for their penultimate game of the season knowing that a victory would clinch their place in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since the Champions League had been reformed in 1992. A win for their rivals Manchester City would put them into the driving seat for fourth place going into the final day. The prize was estimated to be worth £30 million.

Roberto Mancini had to rely on ex-Spurs shot-stopper Marton Fulop as his goalkeeper. Injury to Shay Given and with Joe Hart unable to be recalled from his loan period at Birmingham City, it meant the cash-rich club had been forced to ask the Premier League to use the emergency loan system to bring a goalkeeper in. Fulop had been made available after being deemed surplus to requirements by Sunderland.

He would have a busy evening. Tottenham started the brighter and were by far, the most threatening side. Their first opportunity came in the 18th minute. Peter Crouch smashed a header off the crossbar having met Gareth Bale’s free-kick. Moments later, the visitors’ thought they had taken the lead when Ledley King connected with Bale’s corner and headed home. However, referee Steve Bennett had spotted King was stopping Gareth Barry from jumping fairly, so correctly disallowed the goal.

By contrast, City looked flat. Heurelho Gomes made an early save from Carlos Tevez and also reacted well to his left-hand side when Bale almost inadvertently turned Craig Bellamy’s cross over the line. Into the second half and the pattern didn’t change. Bale was causing huge problems for City’s full-backs in Pablo Zabaleta and Wayne Bridge. He played Jermain Defoe in on 58 minutes but Fulop came to the rescue with a fine save. By this point, Barry had been forced off the pitch by an ankle injury and former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira was brought on as his replacement.

Fulop was in great form. He denied Crouch from close-range, saving his header with his legs. As the game entered the last 10 minutes, it looked like the match was destined to finish goalless when Tottenham finally got the crucial breakthrough. Younes Kaboul made a run into the penalty area, skipping past Craig Bellamy. He fired a shot in from a tight angle. This time, Fulop parried the shot but only into the path of Crouch who was in the right position to head home and send the travelling supporters into exultation.

Spurs had done it. Harry Redknapp had guided them into the UEFA Champions League for the first time. Defeat for Manchester City meant their expensive squad would have to spend the 2010-2011 season playing in the UEFA Europa League. Redknapp’s only final worry was to get soaked with a bucket of water whilst finishing a post-match television interview. It will always remain one of the finest nights Tottenham Hotspur ever experienced in the Premier League.

Memorable Matches: Birmingham City 3-0 Aston Villa (September 2002)

Goalscorers: Clinton Morrison 31, Peter Enckleman OG 77, Geoff Horsfield 83

Teams:

Birmingham City: Nico Vaesen, Martin Grainger, Darren Purse, Kenny Cunningham, Jeff Kenna, Paul Devlin (Darryl Powell 79), Damien Johnson, Aliou Cisse, Robbie Savage (Bryan Hughes 87), Clinton Morrison (Geoff Horsfield 69), Stern John

Aston Villa: Peter Enckleman, Ulisses de la Cruz, Alpay, Olof Mellberg, Steve Staunton, Ronny Johnsen, Gareth Barry, Mark Kinsella, Jlloyd Samuel, Juan Pablo Angel (Darius Vassell 45), Marcus Allback (Dion Dublin 45)

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 29,502

This was the first meeting in the Premier League between these Midlands rivals and the first Second City Derby in the top-flight since 1986. It would turn out to be an evening that Birmingham City fans will remember forever and one that Peter Enckleman has never forgotten…for all the wrong reasons.

Birmingham had adjusted well to life in the big time. Managed by former title winner Steve Bruce, the Blues had already beaten Leeds United and came from 2-0 to grab a point at Anfield against Liverpool FC five days earlier. Graham Taylor was in the Villa dugout for his second stint in charge but his team weren’t exactly sparkling despite a home victory over Charlton Athletic last time out.

The home side were on the front foot from the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead in the first half. Paul Devlin played a ball into the box which deflected off Robbie Savage into the path of Clinton Morrison. The Villa defenders stood waiting for an officials’ flag that never came and the forward made no mistake from seven yards out in dispatching the ball past Enckleman. That was his third goal in two matches.

There was a reaction from the visitors. Ulisses de la Cruz smashed the crossbar and half-time substitute Darius Vassell had a goal chalked off for offside after Martin Grainger and Kenny Cunningham got in each other’s way. The game was still perfectly in the balance as the last 10 minutes approached, before one of the craziest goals we’ve ever seen in the Premier League.

Olof Mellberg took a throw-in and played it back to his goalkeeper. Enckleman took his eye off the ball for a split second, miscontrolled it and the ball trickled into the back of his net. The Finn looked rather sheepish and did well not to react to provocation from some excited supporters that ran onto the pitch to celebrate the goal. Bruce’s reaction on the touchline summed it up. There was a debate on whether the goalkeeper actually touched the ball but judging from Enckleman’s reaction, he clearly did.

Moments later, another calamitous mistake by a Villa defender, this time from Alpay allowed substitute Geoff Horsfield in to score a third goal and power Birmingham to a priceless and magnificent victory. They finished 13th in their debut season and became a stable Premier League side for the next four campaigns. Crucially, they won both matches that season against Aston Villa and finished three places higher in the table too.

Memorable Matches: Southampton 2-3 Manchester United (September 2012)

Goalscorers: Rickie Lambert 15, Robin van Persie 22, 86, 90, Morgan Schneiderlin 54

Teams:

Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Nathaniel Clyne, Jos Hooiveld, Jose Fonte, Daniel Fox, Morgan Schneiderlin, Steven Davis, James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana (Jay Rodriguez 78), Jason Puncheon (Emmanuel Mayuka 74), Rickie Lambert (Guly do Prado 75)

Manchester United: Anders Lindegaard, Rafael, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia, Tom Cleverley (Paul Scholes 61), Michael Carrick, Shinji Kagawa (Nani 61), Danny Welbeck (Javier Hernandez 71), Robin van Persie

Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 31,609

In the summer of 2012, Robin van Persie elected not to sign a new contract at Arsenal. With just a year left on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners’ had little choice but to sell him or risk losing him a year later for absolutely nothing. Both Manchester clubs expressed an interest in signing the Dutchman but it was United who beat City to his signature. It was the kind of move that Sir Alex Ferguson made which brought about echoes of his purchase of Eric Cantona 20 years earlier.

Van Persie had scored on his home debut a week earlier against Fulham and was hungry for more in the Red Devils’ next match which was a trip to newly-promoted Southampton. Wayne Rooney was missing through injury whilst David de Gea was dropped after two indifferent performances for Anders Lindegaard.

Lindegaard couldn’t keep a clean sheet though. Southampton started brightly and took the lead on 15 minutes. Rickie Lambert outjumped Rafael at the back post to nod home his second goal of the season. A fortnight earlier, Lambert had scored against Manchester City in a narrow 3-2 defeat. This time, he was hoping to be on the scoresheet in a winning contribution against a Manchester side.

The lead didn’t last long though. Antonio Valencia’s cross found Van Persie and displaying his usual predatory instincts; the marksman beat Kelvin Davis on the half-volley. It was a cracking game with chances at both ends and the scores even at half-time.

Like the first half, it was Nigel Adkins’ side that started stronger following a break in play. They caused Ferguson’s team huge problems on the counter-attack. Lambert’s cross headed into the back of Lindegaard’s net by the efficient Morgan Schneiderlin. With Tom Cleverley struggling against James Ward-Prowse in midfield, Ferguson decided to bring on experience in Paul Scholes in the 61st minute. It was another inspired move. Scholes immediately started to spray passes across the pitch and completely took control of the central midfield battle.

In the 68th minute, Jos Hooiveld made a clumsy challenge on Van Persie and Mike Dean had little option but to give a spot-kick. However, the usual reliable Dutchman was too casual with his penalty on this occasion. Davis was able to stop his chipped effort. Van Persie though would not be denied. His late double cruelly denying the Saints’ at least a point from a gripping encounter. His first Manchester United hat-trick meant he had already started repaying the £24m transfer fee spent on him by Ferguson.

Any debt had been welly and truly repaid by the season’s end. RVP was top scorer for the second season running and spearheaded Manchester United to a 20th league title in what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s swansong season. Southampton controversially dismissed Adkins in mid-January but comfortably survived under the guidance of a certain Mauricio Pochettino.

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal (February 2011)

Goalscorers: Theo Walcott 1, Johan Djourou 3, Robin van Persie 10, 26, Joey Barton 68 PEN, 83 PEN, Leon Best 75, Cheick Tiote 87

Teams:

Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson, Joey Barton, Cheick Tiote, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Danny Guthrie 89), Peter Lovenkrands (Nile Ranger 73)

Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Johan Djourou (Sebastien Squillaci 48), Laurent Koscielny, Gael Clichy, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby (SENT OFF), Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin (Tomas Rosicky 69), Theo Walcott (Emmanuel Eboue 79), Robin van Persie

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 51,561

Title-chasing Arsenal arrived on Tyneside for a fixture in February 2011 in confident mood. The Gunners’ were unbeaten at the start of the year and this looked like the perfect time to play their opposition. Newcastle were reeling from the sudden departure of top scorer and star player Andy Carroll on a crazy transfer deadline day.

Whilst they’d received £35million from Liverpool FC for Carroll’s services, fans were upset that the star asset could be sold and no replacement come in. Carroll had scored the winning goal when the teams’ met in November 2010 so at least Arsene Wenger didn’t have to worry about his physical prowess in the air. By full-time, he had to worry about the fragility of his side which was brutally exposed in the second half.

It had started so well in the first 45 minutes for the visitors’. They had simply blitzed their opponents. In fact, it looked like it could end up a cricket scoreline, such was the one-sided dominance. Theo Walcott stormed through the middle, outpaced Fabricio Coloccini and beat Steve Harper inside 44 seconds.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0. Andrey Arshavin’s free-kick was connected by the head of Johan Djourou. It was Djourou’s first-ever goal for Arsenal. Robin van Persie then added a quick-fire brace and Arsenal were 4-0 ahead inside 26 minutes. A combination of stylish attacking football from the Gunners’ and woeful Newcastle defending meant this was a scoreline that didn’t flatter either side.

Alan Pardew had to rouse his troops at half-time but they did get an early boost in the second half. Midfielder Abou Diaby lost control of his temperament. He pushed Joey Barton to the floor and also shoved Kevin Nolan right infront of the referee Phil Dowd. Dowd had no option but to give Diaby a straight red card.

Newcastle were lifted by this and they got on the scoreboard shortly afterwards. Laurent Koscielny’s clumsy tackle on Leon Best saw the home side given a penalty. Barton held his nerve to send goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way. The Pole’s refusal to give the ball back resulted in his own yellow card and suggested Arsenal nerves – despite still possessing a three-goal advantage.

Best had scored a hat-trick a month earlier against West Ham United and was giving Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci who had replaced Djourou early in the second half some major problems. He had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside, before beating Gael Clichy at the back post and squeezing a shot past Szczesny from eight yards out after fine work by Jose Enrique. Suddenly, Newcastle supporters really started to believe.

Hope turned to expectation when Barton scored his second penalty seven minutes from time. Koscielny was adjudged to have impeded Mike Williamson in an aerial contest. It looked a soft spot-kick but the home players and supporters were not complaining.

Arsenal had simply gone to pieces. They couldn’t cope with the barrage of attacks that the Magpies’ were throwing at them. Yet, it had to take something special to complete the comeback. Barton’s free-kick was cleared away but only to the path of Tiote who produced one of the most iconic moments in Premier League history.

His volley was sublime and it nestled into the bottom corner, giving Szczesny little chance of saving his shot. The whole place went berserk. Pardew’s passion clear to see; players chased Tiote down the field and started jumping on him. Meanwhile, Arsenal simply looked dazed and confused. How had they managed to let this advantage slip away?

We will see many great comebacks in years to come in the Premier League but they will do well to match Newcastle United’s incredible recovery in this match of February 2011.