Tag Archives: Comeback

Memorable Matches: Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool FC (May 2014)

Goalscorers: Joe Allen 18, Damien Delaney 53 OG, Luis Suarez 55, Damien Delaney 79, Dwight Gayle 81, 88


Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney, Adrian Mariappa, Joel Ward, Kagisho Dikgacoi (Tom Ince 85), Mile Jedinak, Jason Puncheon (Dwight Gayle 65), Joe Ledley, Yannick Bolasie, Marouane Chamakh (Glenn Murray 71)

Liverpool FC: Simon Mignolet, Jon Flanagan, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson, Lucas, Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling (Philippe Coutinho 78), Daniel Sturridge (Victor Moses 86), Luis Suarez

Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Attendance: 25,261

Following Manchester City’s win at Everton 48 hours earlier, Liverpool FC couldn’t afford any slip-ups in their penultimate match of the 2013-2014 season at Selhurst Park against an ever-improving Crystal Palace side. The Reds knew a victory would put them top of the table again, even if the destiny of the championship was out of their hands.

Goal difference was against the Reds but they were an attacking threat from all directions and this was shown early on when Glen Johnson made a deep run from full-back and only just headed wide of the post after being picked out beautifully by Joe Allen. On 18 minutes, Allen opened the scoring. The Welshman escaped his markers at the far post to guide home Steven Gerrard’s corner, scoring his first Premier League goal for the club in the process.

Palace came into the match having won five of their last six matches and certainly contributed to the contest. Both Jason Puncheon and Mile Jedinak forced Simon Mignolet into vital saves in the first half to preserve Liverpool’s lead at the interval.

That advantage was doubled eight minutes into the second half. Daniel Sturridge’s shot deflected off Damien Delaney and into the corner of Julian Speroni’s net. Two minutes later, Raheem Sterling picked out Luis Suarez and the Premier League’s top scorer bagged his 31st goal of the campaign from close-range. All of a sudden, Liverpool had raced clear into a 3-0 lead and sensed an opportunity to score more goals. They didn’t come and Brendan Rodgers’ side were about to be stunned in an amazing final 11 minutes.

First, Delaney’s fortunes changed. Given time to try his luck, the centre-back saw his own effort deflect off Johnson and rise into the top corner, giving Mignolet no chance. It was a time for Liverpool to stay calm and take the result they had but two minutes later, Palace grabbed another goal back. Yannick Bolasie’s searing pace on the counter-attack left the visitors short in defensive numbers. Bolasie picked out substitute Dwight Gayle who produced an excellent finish into the bottom corner.

The home supporters could sense the sudden shift in momentum and the remarkable comeback was completed in the 88th minute. A long ball up the field was chested on by Glenn Murray into the path of Gayle who scored his second of the evening to make it 3-3. In eight crazy minutes, the Reds had forfeited a three-goal lead and their title chances were all but gone. As Martin Tyler put it in his Sky Sports commentary: “Liverpool have caved in!”

Rodgers’ side had one final chance from a corner but Lucas was denied by Speroni and soon afterwards, the final whistle was blown. The point did actually take Liverpool top of the table but it was advantage Manchester City. The tears from Suarez at full-time said it all. Liverpool had thrown it away and six days later, Manchester City’s second Premier League title was confirmed.


Memorable Matches: Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa (December 2001)

Goalscorers: Paul Merson 21, Steve Stone 34, Sylvain Wiltord 46, Thierry Henry 72, 90


Arsenal: Stuart Taylor, Lauren, Sol Campbell, Matthew Upson (Martin Keown 45), Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour, Freddie Ljungberg (Sylvain Wiltord 45), Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp (Kanu 68), Thierry Henry

Aston Villa: Peter Enckelman, Alan Wright, Olof Mellberg, Jlloyd Samuel, Steve Staunton, Gareth Barry (Darius Vassell 78), George Boateng, Lee Hendrie, Paul Merson, Steve Stone, Dion Dublin

Referee: Alan Wiley, Attendance: 38,074

With Manchester United having already lost six times in the 2001-2002 Premier League campaign by early December, the race for the title was wide open. Arsenal were one of the main contenders whilst Aston Villa had topped the table in late October, although they had slipped off the pace in recent weeks.

The sides met at Highbury and produced a contest which was a game of two halves. In the opening 45 minutes, the Villans put in a clinical, decisive counter-attacking display which meant they went into the dressing rooms 2-0 ahead at half-time. After 21 minutes, they took the lead through a former Arsenal title winner.

Peter Enckelman’s long goal-kick was flicked on by Dion Dublin who had the measure of Sol Campbell. Campbell’s centre-back partner Matthew Upson was caught out of position and Paul Merson held him off before chipping the onrushing Stuart Taylor to give John Gregory’s side a deserved lead.

11 minutes before half-time, their lead had been doubled. Veteran Steve Staunton launched a deep free-kick into the penalty box and it caused plenty of confusion in the Arsenal backline. Lauren and Freddie Ljungberg failed to clear their lines, allowing Alan Wright to drive the ball back into the danger zone. Campbell produced a vital block to deny Lee Hendrie but the ball fell neatly into the path of Steve Stone and the midfielder took the opportunity with panache. Arsene Wenger needed to make some tactical adjustments to change the course of the match.

The struggling Upson was replaced by Martin Keown at half-time and Sylvain Wiltord was introduced for Ljungberg. Just a minute after his half-time introduction, Wiltord had halved Villa’s advantage with virtually his first touch of the contest. From Ray Parlour’s cross, a deflection off a Villa defender allowed the Frenchman to score with a left-footed volley.

Arsenal were now bossing proceedings and as the second half wore on, Villa started to drop deeper and deeper. With 18 minutes left, the equaliser arrived. Jlloyd Samuel was robbed of possession by Patrick Vieira and Vieira picked out Thierry Henry who kept his composure to equalise.

The pressure continued and Wiltord was denied a second goal by an offside flag but as stoppage-time approached, the winning goal finally arrived for the Gunners. Enckelman’s sloppy goal-kick gave the hosts one final opportunity. Robert Pires was stronger in a 50:50 challenge against a tentative George Boateng and he played Henry through. He made no mistake and scored his 21st goal of the season in all competitions to complete the stirring second half comeback.

The result took Arsenal into second place in the table and they eventually ended up winning the title by seven points – losing just one more Premier League match between this game and the end of the campaign. Gregory left Aston Villa six weeks later and they faded away to eighth in the final table.

Memorable Matches: Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United (September 2014)

Goalscorers: Robin van Persie 13, Angel Di Maria 16, Leonardo Ulloa 17, 83 PEN, Ander Herrera 57, David Nugent 62 PEN, Esteban Cambiasso 64, Jamie Vardy 79


Leicester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Ritchie de Laet, Paul Konchesky, Liam Moore, Wes Morgan, Esteban Cambiasso (Andy King 71), Danny Drinkwater, Dean Hammond, David Nugent (Matty James 75), Leonardo Ulloa, Jamie Vardy (Jeff Schlupp 85)

Manchester United: David de Gea, Tyler Blackett (SENT OFF), Jonny Evans (Chris Smalling 30), Rafael, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Angel Di Maria (Juan Mata 76), Radamel Falcao (Adnan Januzaj 72), Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie

Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Attendance: 31,784

Manchester United were under new management in 2014-2015 with Louis van Gaal having succeeded David Moyes after a dismal previous campaign which had seen the Red Devils finish in a disappointing seventh position. The Dutchman was still adjusting to life in Manchester and took his team to Leicester in September 2014 with just one win from his opening four matches.

He could field a bold attacking line-up of Radamel Falcao, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie and they made a blistering start to this eight-goal thriller at The King Power Stadium. Falcao escaped the attentions of Ritchie de Laet on the right-hand side. The Colombian picked out Van Persie whose header took a deflection on its way into the net. Two minutes later, Rooney played through club-record signing Angel Di Maria and the Argentine produced the most exquisite of lobs over the top of Kasper Schmeichel to double the Red Devils’ lead. At this point, it looked like being an easy afternoon for Van Gaal and his coaching staff. However, they were about to get a rude awakening.

Just over a minute later, Leicester had registered on the scoreboard. Jamie Vardy got to the by-line and delivered a brilliant cross for Leonardo Ulloa to head home his fourth goal of the season. The visitors were still creating more chances. The crossbar denied Falcao his first Manchester United goal moments before Ander Herrera restored the two-goal advantage. The Spaniard provided a lovely flick to guide in Di Maria’s attempted shot.

Leicester needed a response and again, they provided one. Five minutes after falling 3-1 behind, Vardy won a physical battle with Rafael and then drew an unnecessarily push from the Brazilian in the penalty area. David Nugent emphatically dispatched his first goal of the campaign. The home crowd sensed a real shift in momentum and two minutes later, the Foxes were level at 3-3. Esteban Cambiasso drilled home a shot from just inside the penalty area to score his first Premier League goal since his summer move from Italian giants Inter Milan.

It was an incredible turnaround and Manchester United were powerless to do anything about it. With 11 minutes left, de Laet spotted the run of Vardy who kept his composure to score his first-ever Premier League goal. Four minutes later, Vardy was hauled to the ground by youngster Tyler Blackett. Mark Clattenburg awarded a second penalty to the home side and sent Blackett off for denying a goalscoring opportunity. Ulloa scored his second of the afternoon to seal a famous victory for Leicester as Van Gaal watched his side crumble in spectacular fashion.

This win was to be Leicester’s last success in the top-flight until after Christmas. However, they produced a remarkable recovery in the last nine matches, winning seven of them to avoid relegation.

Memorable Matches: Norwich City 4-4 Middlesbrough (January 2005)

Goalscorers: Damien Francis 18, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 34, 78, Franck Queudrue 49, 55, Dean Ashton 80, Leon McKenzie 89, Adam Drury 90


Norwich City: Robert Green, Adam Drury, Gary Doherty, Marc Edworthy, Craig Fleming, Jim Brennan (Leon McKenzie 59), Phil Mulryne (Gary Holt 64), Damien Francis, Andreas Jonson (Paul McVeigh 60), Dean Ashton, Darren Huckerby

Middlesbrough: Mark Schwarzer, Gareth Southgate, Tony McMahon, Franck Queudrue, Michael Reiziger, Doriva (James Morrison 45), Ray Parlour, Stewart Downing, Bolo Zenden, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Joseph Desire-Job (Danny Graham 74)

Referee: Matt Messias, Attendance: 24,547

Middlesbrough were enjoying a strong 2004-2005 season in the Premier League and were favourites going into their match at Carrow Road against Norwich City. A remarkable match would follow and leave both managers sensing a missed opportunity by the full-time whistle.

Boro had only won once in their last five outings. Nevertheless, they made the better start to the contest. Midfielder Doriva fired a shot just wide of Robert Green’s goal before the England international closed down his angles to block a Stewart Downing effort. So, it was against the run of play that Norwich took the lead on 18 minutes. Darren Huckerby’s shot was saved by Mark Schwarzer but the ball fell perfectly to Damien Francis to tap home his sixth goal of the season as the visiting defence appealed for an offside that never came.

The Canaries had only won twice all season and hadn’t kept a clean sheet in the top-flight since mid-October. It was very unlikely they would keep one here and Middlesbrough’s pressure eventually told on 34 minutes. Downing’s shot on-goal was deflected into the net by the right foot of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. It was the Dutchman’s 10th goal of the season in his first campaign as a Boro player.

It was 1-1 at half-time but after the break, Middlesbrough took full advantage of some charitable defending from Norwich at set-pieces. In the 49th minute, Downing’s corner was powered home in the six-yard box by defender Franck Queudrue at the near post. Just six minutes had passed when Queudrue incredibly doubled his tally for the afternoon. From yet another Downing corner, Gareth Southgate won the first header at the near post and Queudrue ghosted clear without being spotted by any home defender to provide the simplest of finishes. The game looked comprehensively over with 12 minutes left. Hasselbaink’s terrific free-kick dipped over the wall and into Green’s net. 4-1 ahead, surely game over and Middlesbrough would head back to Teeside with all three points?

Nigel Worthington’s side weren’t going to roll over though and just two minutes later, reduced the deficit to 4-2. Huckerby crossed for Dean Ashton. The new club-record signing from Crewe Alexandra beat Schwarzer to the loose ball to score his first Canaries goal on his home debut. At this stage, it looked like a goal to add some respectability to the scoreline but hope was restored for the supporters when another Huckerby assist led to substitute Leon McKenzie scoring with a header in the 89th minute. All of a sudden, Middlesbrough became a bag of nerves.

Then in stoppage-time, Huckerby’s corner was delivered onto the head of club captain Adam Drury. He got a free header and equalised with his first-ever Premier League goal, saving Worthington’s team from a fourth successive defeat. It was a remarkable comeback but despite this fightback, Norwich were relegated back to Division One on the last day of the season.

Memorable Matches: Aston Villa 3-2 Arsenal (December 1998)

Goalscorers: Dennis Bergkamp 14, 45, Julian Joachim 62, Dion Dublin 65, 83


Aston Villa: Michael Oakes, Ugo Ehiogu, Gareth Southgate, Steve Watson, Alan Wright, Gareth Barry (Stan Collymore 54), Lee Hendrie, Ian Taylor, Alan Thompson, Dion Dublin, Julian Joachim (Simon Grayson 86)

Arsenal: David Seaman, Steve Bould, Nelson Vivas, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour (Luis Boa Morte 89), Freddie Ljungberg (Gilles Grimandi 68), Marc Overmars, Nicolas Anelka, Dennis Bergkamp

Referee: Stephen Lodge, Attendance: 39,217

Aston Villa were flying high in the first half of the 1998-1999 season and looked like a genuine contender for the Premier League title. John Gregory’s side had only been beaten twice all campaign by the time reigning champions Arsenal visited Villa Park. Villa had just been knocked off top spot by Manchester United after their 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur 24 hours earlier and were enduring their toughest run of the season – having collected just two points from their previous four fixtures.

Back after missing four matches with a thigh problem, Dennis Bergkamp gave the champions the lead after 14 minutes. Strike partner Nicolas Anelka won an aerial challenge and Bergkamp showed his class to sprint away from Gareth Barry. The Dutchman then provided a clinical finish with a volley from distance that surprised Michael Oakes. Although the home side were enjoying more possession, it was the Gunners who had more intent in attacking situations. Right on the stroke of half-time, the visitors doubled their advantage with Anelka and Bergkamp once again working brilliantly in tandem.

The Frenchman was once again the provider, getting to the by-line unchallenged, turning and producing a crisp pass which Bergkamp dispatched in commanding fashion with an instant first-touch finish. Gregory was now going to have to give a stiff half-time team talk to his players if they were going to turn this situation around. However, the interval would last for 30 minutes after a shocking incident at half-time.

RAF parachutist Nigel Rogoff was coming into the stadium in a Santa Claus outfit when his stunt went dreadfully wrong. He hit the roof of the Trinity Road stand and plunged to the ground. Rogoff sustained bad injuries to both of his legs and his left leg would later be amputated above the knee.

Once the football resumed, the Villa faithful put aside those events to help galvanise the players back into the contest. Gregory brought Stan Collymore on for Barry 10 minutes into the second half and his presence helped the Villans back into the match. On 62 minutes, it was his flick-on that played in Lee Hendrie. Hendrie then squared the ball to Julian Joachim and he beat David Seaman with a low shot.

Three minutes later, Arsenal’s lead had vanished. Dion Dublin scored his eighth goal for the club since arriving from Coventry City a month earlier. His first attempt at a shot was blocked but when Alan Thompson’s miscue fell neatly into his path, he made no mistake as Arsenal’s protests against an offside fell on deaf ears. Sensing a winner was on the cards, Villa continued to increase the tempo and they completed the comeback seven minutes from full-time. Martin Keown missed his attempt of a clearing header and the ball dropped beautifully for Dublin to thrash a shot beyond Seaman.

Villa would spend Christmas Day on top of the table but a dire run of 10 games without a win from mid-January saw them fade to sixth in the final standings. Arsenal won the return fixture 1-0 at Highbury on the last day of the season but missed out on retaining their title by just a single point.

Shock Results: Arsenal 2-4 Norwich City (August 1992)

Goalscorers: Steve Bould 28, Kevin Campbell 39, Mark Robins 69, 84, David Phillips 72, Ruel Fox 82


Arsenal: David Seaman, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, David Hillier, John Jensen, Anders Limpar, Paul Merson (Ian Wright 73), Kevin Campbell, Alan Smith

Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Ian Butterworth, Mark Bowen, Ian Culverhouse, Rob Newman, John Polston, Gary Megson (Ian Crook 87), David Phillips, Ruel Fox, Jeremy Goss, Chris Sutton (Mark Robins 58)

Referee: Alan Gunn, Attendance: 24,030

It was the opening weekend of the inaugural season of the FA Premier League and Arsenal were among the pre-season title favourites. The Gunners had won the First Division championship as recently as 1991 and many insiders believed George Graham’s team would be setting the pace along with reigning champions Leeds United and Manchester United.

Arsenal faced relegation favourites Norwich City at Highbury on a day where we got to see the first sightings of the Highbury mural. The North Bank terrace had been demolished that summer to be replaced by an all-seater stand and it was decided a giant mural should be put in place to hide the construction work taking place. By full-time, it would be Arsenal players feeling rather red.

Initially, everything went to the formbook and despite Ian Wright starting the game on the bench, he wasn’t needed in the first half. Arsenal took the lead after 28 minutes. Nigel Winterburn’s free-kick was glanced into the net by centre-back Steve Bould. 11 minutes later, the lead was doubled by Kevin Campbell. Picked out by Lee Dixon, Campbell found a bit of space in the penalty area and planted his effort beyond the reach of Bryan Gunn.

This was Mike Walker’s first match as Norwich manager having been promoted from involvement with the youth team in the summer and after 58 minutes, he decided to shuffle his strikeforce around and bring on Mark Robins. Robins had arrived at the club after being discarded by Manchester United. He was about to not only make an impact on this match but a huge one in the Canaries’ incredible season.

On 69 minutes, Robins had made the telling contribution by reducing Arsenal’s advantage to 2-1, powering in a header from a free-kick. Three minutes later and Walker’s side had drawn themselves onto level terms. David Seaman misjudged a cross and the experienced David Phillips capitalised to make this into an engrossing contest.

Arsenal’s nightmare was almost complete when Ruel Fox used his fantastic pace to leave Tony Adams behind, then he finished underneath Seaman to complete a quite stunning turnaround. Adams was having a very difficult afternoon and with six minutes left, his slip allowed Robins in. Spotting Seaman off his line, he lobbed him in spectacular fashion to complete a truly stunning period. Norwich had scored four goals in 15 minutes to claim all three points.

Arsenal became the cup kings in 1992-1993. They won the FA Cup and League Cup but never launched a serious title tilt and finished a low-key 10th in the final table. Norwich were the season’s surprise package, leading on Christmas Day. They were overtaken in the second half of the season by Aston Villa and Manchester United but still finished a fantastic third in the final standings.

Memorable Matches: Manchester City 2-3 Manchester United (April 2018)

Goalscorers: Vincent Kompany 25, Ilkay Gundogan 30, Paul Pogba 53, 55, Chris Smalling 69


Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Fabian Delph, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan (Sergio Aguero 76), David Silva (Kevin De Bruyne 72), Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva (Gabriel Jesus 72)

Manchester United: David de Gea, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera (Victor Lindelof 90), Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard (Scott McTominay 85), Alexis Sanchez (Marcus Rashford 82), Romelu Lukaku

Referee: Martin Atkinson, Attendance: 54,259

This was the day Manchester City supporters had been waiting for. Saturday 7th April 2018 was when they could wrap up the Premier League title for the third time. To make it even sweeter, the crowning could be completed by beating Manchester United. Whilst even the most ardent of Red Devils supporters had conceded the title to the Citizens, they were determined to make Pep Guardiola’s side wait a little while longer to celebrate.

With European commitments on the horizon, Guardiola elected to rest Kevin De Bruyne and kept Sergio Aguero in reserve too after his recent injury lay-off. It didn’t seem to matter after a breathless first half display that had the visitors chasing shadows. Five years after scoring the blockbuster header that set City up for a 1-0 victory and their first Premier League title, Vincent Kompany produced a carbon copy effort on 25 minutes. He escaped Chris Smalling’s woeful marking attempt to thrash a header past David de Gea.

Five minutes later, Ilkay Gundogan almost waltzed through a dazed backline to make it 2-0. The champagne corks were on the verge of being popped. It was almost a question of how many goals Guardiola’s side were going to get. In truth, they could have been 5-0 ahead by half-time. Gundogan had another glorious chance but he headed a tame effort straight into De Gea’s arms, whilst Raheem Sterling wasted two glorious opportunities when played through on-goal. These missed chances would cost the home side with a chaotic second half defensive display.

Sporting a new ‘blue’ haircut, Paul Pogba did his talking on-the-pitch with an electrifying second half display. The Frenchman reminded us all of just why United paid a world-record transfer fee to bring him back to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016. On 53 minutes, he reduced the deficit, playing a nice one-two with Alexis Sanchez and flicking the ball past Ederson. 97 seconds later, it was 2-2. Pogba made a run into the box and powered a header into the net, leaving The Etihad Stadium in silence.

United had recently come from 2-0 down to win against Crystal Palace and they completed another incredible fightback on 69 minutes. From Sanchez’s deep free-kick, Smalling made amends for his lame attempt at marking Kompany earlier in the match. He headed past Ederson to give Jose Mourinho’s side a shock lead. It almost defied logic.

Guardiola sent both De Bruyne and Aguero on soon afterwards and the Argentine was unlucky not to win a penalty when Ashley Young wildly lunged in on him. Referee Martin Atkinson ignored the protests. There were some feisty clashes between both sets of players as the temperature rose in the closing stages but United held on to delay the inevitable for a little longer.

They ultimately ceded their challenge with an embarrassing home loss to West Bromwich Albion a week later, confirming Manchester City as champions. At least they managed to stop their city rivals from winning it against them in a direct head-to-head battle with one of the comebacks of the 2017-2018 season.

Memorable Matches: Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United (March 2018)

Goalscorers: Andros Townsend 11, Patrick van Aanholt 48, Chris Smalling 59, Romelu Lukaku 78, Nemanja Matic 90


Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Patrick van Aanholt, Martin Kelly, James Tomkins, James McArthur, Luka Milivojevic, Jeff Schlupp (Jairo Riedewald 80), Andros Townsend, Christian Benteke, Alexander Sorloth

Manchester United: David de Gea, Antonio Valencia (Luke Shaw 67), Ashley Young (Juan Mata 67), Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay (Marcus Rashford 45), Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez

Referee: Neil Swarbrick, Attendance: 25,840

Crystal Palace’s 2017-2018 season had been one of contrasting fortunes. Pointless and goalless after seven matches, they had reached the dizzying heights of 12th position in the table when they defeated Burnley 1-0 in mid-January. Now, they were in a tailspin of alarming results. Five games without a win, Roy Hodgson’s side kicked off this match against Manchester United back in the relegation zone.

The home side looked sharper, quicker and hungrier than their opponents and deservedly hit the front after just 11 minutes. Andros Townsend’s shot from distance deflected in off the unfortunate Victor Lindelof to put the Eagles into the lead. Palace’s front two of Christian Benteke and Alexander Sorloth were working hard to give United’s defenders problems. Paul Pogba was sloppy in possession and youngster Scott McTominay struggled in the central midfield battle.

If Mourinho had tried to motivate his team in the half-time team talk, his defenders clearly weren’t listening. Three minutes after the interval, Jeff Schlupp took a quick free-kick and the visiting defence were caught completely off-guard. Full-back Patrick van Aanholt exposed this horrendous miscommunication and smashed a shot beyond David de Gea to put Crystal Palace into a deserved 2-0 lead.

If the scoreline stayed as it was, Hodgson’s side were going 13th in the table. The hosts were missing 10 first-team players due to injury and suspension and one of those missing was their influential winger, Wilfried Zaha. As soon as Chris Smalling pulled a goal back, heading home from Antonio Valencia’s cross, Zaha’s presence was clearly missed.

United started to gain a grip on proceedings and moments after Benteke had cleared a Nemanja Matic effort off the line, Alexis Sanchez had a shot that deflected onto the crossbar. The ball landed back into the path of Romelu Lukaku and despite having no fewer than five players around him, the Belgian stayed composed and squeezed in the equaliser with 14 minutes left to play. Mourinho still need another wonder save from De Gea though. The Spaniard produced a remarkable stop to keep out a powerful headed attempt by Benteke.

In the first minute of stoppage-time, Palace hearts were to be broken. From nearly 30-yards out, Matic tried his luck. The Serbian, who has shown his capability of finding the net from distance during his time in English football, did it again. His dipping volley beat Wayne Hennessey, winning the game for Manchester United with a stunning strike.

The Red Devils had shown great resilience to comeback from 2-0 down but you had to feel for Hodgson and his team, who put so much effort into this contest and were left with nothing to show for it. The season had a happy ending for Eagles supporters though. They lost two of their next three matches but then went on a six-match unbeaten streak at the end of the campaign to finish 11th. Manchester United wound up second but a record-breaking 19 points adrift of their city rivals.

Iconic Moments: The greatest Premier League day ever? (February 2011)

There have been some spellbinding days in Premier League history but few can match the goal-filled afternoon fans were treated to on Saturday, 5 February 2011.

It started with the lunchtime kick-off between Stoke City and Sunderland. This was usually a fixture with few goals or talking points but there were five goals in this match with Stoke winning 3-2. Robert Huth scored the winner in the dying embers after the Black Cats had led twice. It was a fine comeback from Stoke but it was to be completely outdone in the 3pm kick-offs.

At St James’ Park, Arsenal travelled to a brittle Newcastle United side that were still coming to terms with the transfer deadline day sale of Andy Carroll to Liverpool FC. Their lack of confidence was shown from the outset. Theo Walcott scored inside of a minute and Arsenal incredibly led 4-0 after just 21 minutes. However, a red card for Abou Diaby shortly after the restart changed the course of the match. Joey Barton scored two penalties and with a Leon Best strike, Newcastle had made it back to 3-4. The seconds were ticking away when Cheick Tiote scored an unbelievable equaliser to make it 4-4. It wasn’t just the greatest comeback of the season. It was the greatest comeback in Premier League history.

Arsenal dropped two silly points but there were no such problems for Manchester City. Carlos Tevez hit a first half hat-trick as they brushed aside West Bromwich Albion 3-0. It was a 13th defeat in 18 matches for the Baggies and 24 hours later, they placed manager Roberto Di Matteo on gardening leave.

Louis Saha helped himself to four goals in an end-to-end encounter between Everton and Blackpool. Despite the Tangerines’ leading 3-2 midway through the second half, Saha’s contribution nullified their best efforts. Everton won 5-3. There were seven goals at the DW Stadium where Wigan Athletic edged out Blackburn Rovers 4-3. James McCarthy scored the pick of the goals in this thriller.

There was late drama at White Hart Lane. Despite Bolton Wanderers dominating most of the second half, they were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham Hotspur. Niko Kranjcar scored an injury-time winner. At Villa Park, the goals kept coming. Kyle Walker scored his first Premier League goal but Aston Villa were held to a 2-2 draw by Fulham.

In seven matches, there had been an incredible 38 goals and three more would follow in one of the most surprising results of the season. Manchester United arrived at Molineux for the late kick-off still unbeaten and against a Wolverhampton Wanderers side that were odds-on favourites to be relegated. Nani gave the visitors’ a lead but Wolves fought back superbly. George Elokobi levelled matters and Kevin Doyle’s header was good enough for Wolves to beat the league leaders 2-1.

It remains the highest-scoring afternoon since the Premier League went to 20 teams in 1995 and it will take some total to eclipse what has to be seen as one of the greatest days in Premier League history.

Memorable Matches: AFC Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool FC (December 2016)

Goalscorers: Sadio Mane 20, Divock Origi 22, Callum Wilson 56 PEN, Emre Can 64, Ryan Fraser 76, Steve Cook 78, Nathan Ake 90


AFC Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Nathan Ake, Steve Cook, Simon Francis, Harry Arter, Dan Gosling (Benik Afobe 75), Jack Wilshere, Junior Stanislas (Ryan Fraser 55), Josh King (Jordon Ibe 45), Callum Wilson

Liverpool FC: Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Lucas, James Milner, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Sadio Mane (Adam Lallana 69)

Referee: Bobby Madley, Attendance: 11,183

Liverpool FC arrived on the south coast in December 2016 on a 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions. Jurgen Klopp’s side were the closest challengers to league leaders Chelsea. They were expected to dispatch AFC Bournemouth fairly comfortably, having won three meetings against the Cherries in 2015-2016. That was despite missing Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho and centre-back Joel Matip due to injury.

The match was going to the formbook at half-time as the Reds charged into a 2-0 lead. Sadio Mane opened the scoring, scrambling the ball home in the 20th minute. Two minutes later, Mane had a big part to play in the lead being doubled, robbing Harry Arter of possession. He found Jordan Henderson and the LFC captain played a ball through for Divock Origi. Origi avoided a rash challenge from Artur Boruc and guided the ball into an empty net.

Eddie Howe’s side needed a response in the second half. He brought Ryan Fraser off the bench for Junior Stanislas and within 60 seconds of his arrival, the deficit had been reduced. Fraser was brought down in the penalty area by James Milner. Callum Wilson kept his composure to make the scoreline 2-1. Despite that intervention, Liverpool still looked in command and restored their two-goal advantage midway through the second half. Again, the dominant Mane was heavily involved, dispossessing Nathan Ake and teeing up Emre Can for a beautiful curling shot into Boruc’s net. With a 3-1 lead and job seemingly done, Klopp elected to bring Mane off. As soon the Senegalese was withdrawn, Bournemouth’s game sparkled into life with what turned out to be one of the most breathtaking comebacks of recent times in the Premier League.

Fraser scored his first-ever Premier League goal on 76 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area which Loris Karius could have done better with. Two minutes later, it was 3-3. Steve Cook controlled the ball with his back superbly, turned like a forward and thumped the ball into the net to level the scores. Bournemouth looked like the more probable winners and the comeback was complete in injury-time. Cook tried his luck again. Karius made a complete mess of the strike, fumbling the ball straight into the path of the gleeful Ake, who tapped home to send the Vitality Stadium into scenes of euphoria.

Bournemouth would finish a fantastic ninth in their second Premier League season whilst Liverpool still managed a top-four finish but this collapse would be an indication that Klopp’s team were not the finished article yet.

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


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.