Tag Archives: Debut

Memorable Matches: Crystal Palace 3-3 Blackburn Rovers (August 1992)

Goalscorers: Mark Bright 37, Stuart Ripley 42, Gareth Southgate 63, Alan Shearer 66, 81, Simon Osborn 90

Teams:

Crystal Palace: Nigel Martyn, Chris Coleman (Simon Osborn 81), John Humphrey, Richard Shaw, Gareth Southgate, Andy Thorn, Eric Young, Eddie McGoldrick, John Salako (Simon Rodger 73), Geoff Thomas, Mark Bright

Blackburn Rovers: Bobby Mimms, Tony Dobson, Colin Hendry, David May, Kevin Moran, Alan Wright (Chris Price 28), Mark Atkins, Tim Sherwood, Stuart Ripley, Mike Newell, Alan Shearer

Referee: Roger Milford, Attendance: 17,086

On the very first day of FA Premier League football, there was plenty of attention on an expensively assembled Blackburn Rovers squad as they made the trip to south London to take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. Blackburn were fielding the most expensive player in British football as 22-year old Alan Shearer made his club debut after his summer switch from Southampton. He wouldn’t disappoint and nor would the match itself on day one of the new era.

Played in bright, blazing sunshine, it did take both teams a while to get to grips with the humid conditions and only sporadic half-chances were created in the first 35 minutes. Eight minutes before the interval though, Crystal Palace took the lead. Young full-back Richard Shaw produced a great cross and Mark Bright was in the right place with a downward header to beat Bobby Mimms in the Blackburn goal. It was one of Bright’s final contributions in a Crystal Palace shirt. He would be sold to Sheffield Wednesday a few weeks later.

Newly-promoted Blackburn were level though just five minutes later. Shearer, who had experienced a quiet first half, provided a cross which drifted over the penalty box but was rescued by his new strike partner, Mike Newell. Newell’s cross was spot-on and an unmarked Stuart Ripley scored a rare header on his Rovers debut to level the score at half-time.

After a cagey first 45 minutes, the second half was more open and entertaining. Ripley, a summer arrival for £1.3 million from Middlesbrough, was a menace all afternoon and the winger nearly got his second of the game early in the second half, launching a shot just over the crossbar after one of his trademark runs from out wide. Steve Coppell’s Eagles, who had finished 10th in the last season of the old First Division also had their moments. John Salako produced a fierce drive which Mimms did well to tip over the crossbar. However, the Blackburn goalkeeper was culpable for Palace’s second goal. His weak punch out from a corner was returned in spectacular fashion by 21-year-old Gareth Southgate. His volley from the edge of the penalty area found the back of the net for his first goal in senior football.

Then, Shearer made his first major repayment on the transfer fee Blackburn had forked out for him. From a long punt up the park on 66 minutes, Newell’s flick-on found Shearer and he demonstrated his qualities with a dipping, swerving volley over the top of Nigel Martyn for a spectacular equaliser. Blackburn’s first top-flight match in 26 years was turning into a gripping contest and with nine minutes to go, Kenny Dalglish’s side went infront for the first time with another marvellous goal from Britain’s new record signing. Chasing a hopeful ball from Tony Dobson, Shearer cut inside from the left-hand side and hit another special shot that once again gave Martyn no chance of saving.

However, Crystal Palace kept battling on and in truth deserved a point as they played a major role in how the match unfolded. With virtually the last action in the contest, Eddie McGoldrick won a free-kick and substitutes Simon Rodger and Simon Osborn combined to earn the home side an equaliser. Rodger’s free-kick was guided into the net by Osborn’s late header. Roger Milford blew the full-time whistle virtually straight after the restart of play to highlight how late this goal was.

It was a season of contrasting fortunes for these teams. Blackburn coped well with the expectation and finished fourth but Crystal Palace were relegated on the final day and Coppell resigned shortly after the season concluded.

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Iconic Moments: Ravanelli’s first day treble (August 1996)

Middlesbrough pulled off one of the biggest transfer surprises of the summer of 1996, as they managed to entice Fabrizio Ravanelli to The Riverside Stadium. Ravanelli had won the UEFA Champions League months earlier with Juventus, scoring in the final against Ajax. However, he was deemed surplus to requirements in Turin. Nevertheless, with some other European clubs sniffing around his services, it was a real coup for Bryan Robson to attract him to Teeside.

On the opening day of the 1996-1997 season, Middlesbrough hosted Liverpool FC and Ravanelli produced one of the most stunning debuts seen in the history of the Premier League. He scored a sensational hat-trick as Boro came from behind on three separate occasions to draw 3-3.

He quickly became a fans’ favourite and nicknamed ‘The White Feather,’ he scored 16 Premier League goals. However, despite the club reaching two domestic cup finals, they were relegated following a three-point deduction for failing to fulfil a scheduled fixture away at Blackburn Rovers in December 1996.

He joined Marseille following Boro’s relegation but left their supporters with some great memories, none more so than that first day treble.

Shock Results: Manchester United 2-3 Derby County (April 1997)

Goalscorers: Ashley Ward 29, Paulo Wanchope 35, Eric Cantona 47, Dean Sturridge 75, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 76

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, Ronny Johnsen, Gary Pallister (Paul Scholes 86), Gary Neville (Denis Irwin 70), Phil Neville, Nicky Butt (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 45), Roy Keane, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Andy Cole

Derby County: Mart Poom, Christian Dailly, Jacob Laursen, Chris Powell, Paul McGrath, Paul Trollope, Darryl Powell, Robin van der Laan, Dean Sturridge, Ashley Ward, Paulo Wanchope (Paul Simpson 65)

Referee: David Elleray, Attendance: 55,243

Going into the final two months of the 1996-1997 Premier League season, Manchester United seemed to have one hand on the title. Alex Ferguson’s side had lost just once since early November in the league and were heavy favourites to beat Derby County at Old Trafford. Derby were in mid-table and gave debuts to Estonian goalkeeper Mart Poom and 20-year-old Costa Rican forward Paulo Wanchope whilst Manchester United preferred Andy Cole upfront to top scorer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. A win here would take Ferguson’s side six points clear of their nearest rivals.

Roy Keane had the first significant opportunity of the afternoon, nodding a header wide of the post from a delicate Ryan Giggs cross. The reigning champions dominated the early exchanges as expected and Giggs tested Poom’s reflexes with a point-blank header which the new Derby goalkeeper was equal to. So, it was a real shock to see Jim Smith’s side go into the lead.

Paul Trollope launched a ball to the back post and Wanchope won his header against Phil Neville. Ashley Ward’s strike wasn’t the cleanest but it bounced over Peter Schmeichel’s head and into the net. Six minutes later, Wanchope’s debut turned into a staggering contribution. He picked up possession and despite his fairly leggy style, he ran clean through past four Manchester United defenders, showed some great dribbling skills and nudged the ball beyond Schmeichel’s reach. Almost unknown to everyone before kick-off, the whole world now knew who Paulo Wanchope was.

Derby continued to boss proceedings and could have been leading 3-0 at half-time. Ward forced Schmeichel into two smart stops and then hit the post as the defence seemed to be standing likes statues. This was an error-strewn display from the table-toppers and Ferguson was bound to have got the hairdryer treatment out at half-time. He took off the disappointing Nicky Butt during the break and put Solskjaer on. There was an immediate response from the captain. Solskjaer picked out Eric Cantona, who brought down the ball superbly, held off his marker Trollope and then shot across Poom’s bows and into the back of the net.

Derby held firm though and with 15 minutes left, virtually secured a shock victory. Dean Sturridge nodded the ball past an overcommitted Schmeichel and when the ball hit the post, the bounce fell perfectly for Sturridge to score one of the easiest goals of his career. It was a poor performance from the entire Red Devils backline. Solskjaer immediately pulled a goal back when he made the most of an unfortunate flick-on from Paul McGrath but Derby held on for a memorable and deserved victory.

Manchester United remained unbeaten after this defeat to register a fourth Premier League title in five seasons. This was only Derby’s second away win of the season but it was the boost they needed and Smith’s side would finish a fine 12th in their debut Premier League campaign.

Seasonal Stories: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006)

An impressive debut

Wigan Athletic made their Premier League debut in 2005-2006 and impressed many throughout. The Latics made a stunning start, reaching the dizzy heights of second position in the table in early November following a nine-game unbeaten run. A run to the League Cup final also added to an exciting season for the supporters. Although results were harder to come by in the second half of the season, a 10th place finish was still considered a remarkable achievement.

Heading for the summit

After promotion to the Premier League, Wigan Athletic initially struggled to attract new players but made some breakthroughs just before the start of the new campaign. Among the new recruits were Henri Camara from Wolverhampton Wanderers for £3 million, Damien Francis for £1 million from Norwich City and the experienced Stephane Henchoz on a free transfer.

Wigan’s first fixture in the top-flight was against champions Chelsea and they played incredibly well. Francis hit the crossbar and the home side deserved something from the game in terms of points. They were cruelly denied by a spectacular strike from Hernan Crespo in stoppage-time. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho immediately went over to Paul Jewell afterwards to console him, admitting the newly-promoted side didn’t deserve the ultimate final result.

Another narrow defeat followed next time out away at Charlton Athletic but Wigan would then embark on a nine-match unbeaten run, winning eight of those games. Their first victory came at home to Sunderland where Jason Roberts’ 2nd minute spot-kick proved to be the decisive difference. Straight after the international break, the likeable Jimmy Bullard scored a stoppage-time winner away at West Bromwich Albion to ensure Wigan claimed a first-ever Premier League away victory.

They were helped in this sequence of results by a terrific defensive record. By early November, Wigan had only conceded five Premier League goals with Jewell settling on a consistent back four line-up, helped by the experience of Henchoz and the talents of the unheralded Pascal Chimbonda. The right-back had arrived quietly in the summer for just £500,000 from Bastia but he was making a big impact, scoring a stoppage-time winner against Fulham and the opening goal of a 2-0 victory against Portsmouth. Wigan went into the November international break just six points behind reigning champions Chelsea.

TABLE ON 7th November 2005

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 12 10 1 1 28 7 +21 31
2 WIGAN ATHLETIC 11 8 1 2 13 5 +8 25
3 Bolton Wanderers 12 7 2 3 14 11 +3 23
4 Manchester United 11 6 3 2 16 11 +5 21
5 Arsenal 11 6 2 3 16 8 +8 20
6 Tottenham Hotspur 12 5 5 2 13 8 +5 20
A reality check

November and December would bring together a tough run of fixtures for the Latics as the top five clubs in the Premier League awaited them in succession. First up was Arsenal but Wigan gave them a real contest, only losing 3-2 to the Gunners and that was largely to some brilliance from Thierry Henry.

Tottenham Hotspur won the following weekend at The JJB Stadium with Edgar Davids scoring his first goal in English football, before Peter Crouch finally broke his goalscoring duck for Liverpool FC in the Reds’ convincing 3-0 victory.

Chelsea and Manchester United also inflicted defeats on Wigan with the latter strolling to a 4-0 victory but Wigan still were sitting in the top six after this sequence of results.

It was a reality check for the supporters after such a sensational start.

Jason and Henri combining well

Jason Roberts and Henri Camara combined well in-attack for Wigan during the season. The club scored 45 goals in 38 games and 20 of them came from this attacking duo. Senegalese striker Camara enjoyed his best season in the Premier League, scoring 12 times including a hat-trick in a 3-0 victory over Charlton just before Christmas.

After the five-game losing sequence, Wigan bounced back fabulously, stringing together another run of three consecutive victories. The 3-0 triumph over Charlton was followed by a thrilling 4-3 Boxing Day win against Manchester City where Roberts scored twice. Both Roberts and Camara then scored in a fine 2-0 success at Upton Park 48 hours later. Wigan finished 2005 inside the Premier League’s top six.

The January transfer window saw Jewell add to his squad with the arrivals of Austrian utility player Paul Scharner and midfielder David Thompson, whilst Neil Mellor joined on-loan for the rest of the season from Liverpool FC.

Injury restricted Mellor to just three appearances for Wigan but he did score a stoppage-time winner away at Middlesbrough, whilst Scharner’s first Premier League goal earned the club another point in a 1-1 draw with Everton at the end of the month.

A top-half finish secured

Away from the Premier League, Wigan enjoyed a fairytale run to the League Cup final. Watford, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers were among the victims on the way to the semi-finals, where Roberts scored a dramatic away goal in the closing moments of extra time at Highbury to knock Arsenal out in the semi-finals over two legs.

Wigan faced Manchester United in the final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium but lost the showpiece event 4-0. They weren’t helped by losing goalkeeper Mike Pollitt to an injury early in the first half. A week later, a late Chimbonda own goal saw the Red Devils record their third victory of the season over Wigan, whose league campaign started to fall away.

Their only home victory in the Premier League in the second half of the season came in April as Aston Villa were beaten 3-2. Camara scored twice and Bullard also found the target. It was the last goal Jimmy would score for the club. The fans’ favourite would agree a transfer to Fulham days later for the 2006-2007 campaign.

The Latics ended the campaign with three successive defeats, including a 4-2 loss on the final day of the season at Highbury as Arsenal and Henry bid farewell to the historic ground in-style. Although there were only three league victories after the League Cup final appearance, Wigan’s 51-point haul and 10th place finish in their debut top-flight campaign was a brilliant achievement.

The 10th place result remains their best-ever top-flight campaign to-date.

FINAL 2005-2006 TABLE

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
7 Newcastle United 38 17 7 14 47 42 +5 58
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 15 11 12 49 41 +8 56
9 West Ham United 38 16 7 15 52 55 -3 55
10 WIGAN ATHLETIC 38 15 6 17 45 52 -7 51
11 Everton 38 14 8 16 34 49 -15 50
12 Fulham 38 14 6 18 48 58 -10 48

Great Goals: Stan Collymore – LIVERPOOL FC vs. Sheffield Wednesday (August 1995)

In the summer of 1995, Liverpool FC broke the British transfer record to sign Stan Collymore from Nottingham Forest for £7.5 million. Collymore was seen as one of the most exciting talents in English football and his debut for his new club at home to Sheffield Wednesday saw him produce the kind of magic everyone knew he had the capability to do.

An hour had been played and David Pleat’s Owls were frustrating Liverpool with Collymore and new strike partner Ian Rush having limited chances to make an impact. Then, Collymore delivered in the grand manner. Receiving the ball slightly fortunately from John Barnes, he twisted and span past Julian Watts. Chris Waddle had a brief tug at his shirt but nothing was going to stop Liverpool’s new forward.

He curled a memorable shot into Kevin Pressman’s net and won the game for Roy Evans’ side. Collymore did come up with other vital goals and worked well with hotshot Robbie Fowler but he did generally frustrate supporters during his two seasons on Merseyside.

Iconic Moments: Salah’s super scoring landmark (May 2018)

Manchester City might have claimed many team records but their galaxy of stars were pipped to all the major individual prizes by the extraordinary Mohamed Salah. Returning to the Premier League after a successful stint in Italy, the Egyptian won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, the Football Writers’ Award and claimed the Golden Boot.

He was given the prize after Liverpool FC’s final day 4-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion which secured Champions League football for the Merseysiders for the 2018-2019 campaign. Salah scored his 32nd goal of the Premier League season in the 26th minute and that meant he held off the stiff challenge of Tottenham’s Harry Kane, pipping the double Golden Boot winner to top spot by two strikes.

That meant Salah broke a Premier League record of most goals scored in a 38-game season, beating a record that had been jointly-held by Alan Shearer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. He scored against 17 different opponents too which was another Premier League record. Only Manchester United and Swansea City kept Salah off the scoresheet in 2017-2018. To finish his scoring landmarks, he scored more goals on his own than the entire team efforts of Swansea, Huddersfield Town and West Bromwich Albion. It was a world-class debut campaign at Anfield for ‘Majestic Mo.’

The Clubs: Huddersfield Town

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
38 9 10 19 28 58 -30 37 1

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen 38
Jonas Lossl 38
Christopher Schindler 37
Aaron Mooy 36
Laurent Depoitre 33
Tom Ince 33
Rajiv van La Parra 33
Jonathan Hogg 30
Steve Mounie 28
Collin Quaner 26

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Steve Mounie 7
Laurent Depoitre 6
Aaron Mooy 4
Rajiv van La Parra 3
Tom Ince 2
Elias Kachunga 1
Joe Lolley 1
Alex Pritchard 1

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Watford 1-4 Huddersfield Town 16th December 2017 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 4-1 AFC Bournemouth 11th February 2018 2017-2018
Crystal Palace 0-3 Huddersfield Town 12th August 2017 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion 9th December 2017 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 2-1 Manchester United 21st October 2017 2017-2018

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Arsenal 5-0 Huddersfield Town 29th November 2017 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur 30th September 2017 2017-2018
AFC Bournemouth 4-0 Huddersfield Town 18th November 2017 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 1-4 West Ham United 13th January 2018 2017-2018
Liverpool FC 3-0 Huddersfield Town 28th October 2017 2017-2018

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
David Wagner 3  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Huddersfield Town 2-1 Manchester United 21st October 2017 24,426 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 1-3 Chelsea 12th December 2017 24,169 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 1-0 West Bromwich Albion 4th November 2017 24,169 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 0-4 Tottenham Hotspur 30th September 2017 24,169 2017-2018
Huddersfield Town 1-1 Leicester City 16th September 2017 24,169 2017-2018

 

Intro

Huddersfield Town’s promotion to the Premier League was unexpected and it was a fairytale season for everyone connected with the club. The Terriers made a brilliant start, recording an unbelievable victory over Manchester United along the way and completed a great season by surviving in the top-flight.

Written off by many experts and neutrals before the season, David Wagner and his team proved a lot of people wrong. Huddersfield’s ability to stay in matches and produce unexpected victories gave them a fighting chance to avoid relegation and a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge confirmed their place among the elite for 2018-2019. It was a memorable moment in a season no-one connected with the club will ever forget.

 

2017-2018

Many expected Huddersfield to experience an immediate relegation after their play-off final success on penalties against Reading three months earlier. However, they made a brilliant start to the campaign and remained unbeaten at the end of August. One of many summer arrivals, Steve Mounie helped himself to a debut double at Selhurst Park as the Terriers won 3-0 away at Crystal Palace on the opening weekend.

A week later, Aaron Mooy’s terrific long-range effort defeated Newcastle United in Huddersfield’s first Premier League match on home soil and a goalless draw with Southampton kept them flying high at the end of August.

Having been ridiculed and dropped by Mainz after an underwhelming campaign in the Bundesliga, Jonas Lossl had a point to prove and the Dane became one of Huddersfield’s key figures throughout the season. Lossl became the final goalkeeper to be beaten in the season, when a deflected effort from Pedro Obiang of West Ham United ended his undefeated streak of 339 minutes without conceding. The 2-0 defeat at The London Stadium was Huddersfield’s first at Premier League level.

October brought about the club’s highest point of the season. Mooy put in an electrifying performance at the heart of the midfield and scored the opening goal at home to Manchester United. Laurent Depoitre added a second shortly afterwards and despite Marcus Rashford pulling a goal back in the second half, Huddersfield held on for a famous 2-1 victory in one of the shock results of the entire season.

Impressive 4-1 victories over Watford and AFC Bournemouth showed Huddersfield could turn on the style when everything clicked and Tom Ince’s dramatic late winner at home to the Hornets in mid-April seemed to have them on the cusp of safety. However, a 2-0 home defeat to Everton a fortnight later meant Huddersfield realistically needed points from their final three matches to survive. Trouble was they were against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal. Their survival chances looked bleak.

However, Wagner’s side continued to defy the critics. A battling defensive performance saw them earn an excellent point away at champions Manchester City. After Swansea’s home defeat to Southampton 24 hours earlier, just one point was needed in the club’s final two matches of the season. They achieved it at Stamford Bridge. Depoitre’s early goal in the second half and a breathtaking save by Lossl from international compatriot Andreas Christensen preserved Huddersfield’s point. They drew 1-1 and that meant safety was ensured.

Huddersfield supporters can look forward to a second campaign in the top-flight and will hope to create more amazing headlines in the 2018-2019 season.

The Clubs: Brighton & Hove Albion

All-Time Premier League Record

Played Won Drew Lost Scored Conceded Goal Difference Points No of Seasons
38 9 13 16 34 54 -20 40 1

 

Most Premier League Appearances

Player Appearances Total
Lewis Dunk 38
Pascal Gross 38
Mathew Ryan 38
Shane Duffy 37
Solly March 36
Dale Stephens 36
Glenn Murray 35
Davy Propper 35
Anthony Knockaert 33
Jose Izquierdo 32

 

Most Premier League Goals

Player Goals Total
Glenn Murray 12
Pascal Gross 7
Jose Izquierdo 5
Anthony Knockaert 3
Tomer Hemed 2
Lewis Dunk 1
Jurgen Locadia 1
Solly March 1
Leonardo Ulloa 1

 

Biggest Premier League Victories

Match Date Season
Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 Swansea City 24th February 2018 2017-2018
West Ham United 0-3 Brighton & Hove Albion 20th October 2017 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 West Bromwich Albion 9th September 2017 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 West Ham United 3rd February 2018 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal 4th March 2018 2017-2018

 

Worst Premier League Defeats

Match Date Season
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-5 Liverpool FC 2nd December 2017 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-4 Chelsea 20th January 2018 2017-2018
Liverpool FC 4-0 Brighton & Hove Albion 13th May 2018 2017-2018
Manchester City 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion 9th May 2018 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester City 12th August 2017 2017-2018

 

Managers

Manager No of Seasons managed Left the Club
Chris Hughton 4  

 

Highest Home Attendances

Match Date Attendance Figure Season
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-5 Liverpool FC 2nd December 2017 30,631 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City 31st March 2018 30,629 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal 4th March 2018 30,620 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Manchester United 4th May 2018 30,611 2017-2018
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-4 Chelsea 20th January 2018 30,600 2017-2018

 

Intro

Brighton & Hove Albion made a successful debut in the Premier League. Chris Hughton’s side secured their survival on the penultimate weekend of the season but in truth, they were relatively comfortable all campaign. The Seagulls produced some fine performances on home soil and aided by the goals of Glenn Murray and creativity from Pascal Gross, they can look forward to a second successive season in the top-flight.

 

2017-2018

Having been promoted to the Premier League as Championship runners-up, Brighton & Hove Albion couldn’t have asked for a tougher start as title favourites Manchester City were their opening opponents. Chris Hughton’s side performed admirably but eventually lost 2-0 at home to the would-be champions at The Amex Stadium. August saw just one point gained and no goals scored.

However, Brighton started going in the right direction in September. Summer signing Pascal Gross scored the club’s first Premier League goal in their 3-1 victory at home to West Bromwich Albion which was also Brighton’s first victory in their Premier League life. Forward Tomer Hemed also scored in the win over the Baggies and a fortnight later, it was Hemed’s diving header that ensured back-to-back home victories as Newcastle United were defeated 1-0.

Home form was excellent all season for the men from the south coast. Just Manchester City, Liverpool FC, Chelsea and Leicester City left with all three points and there were some notable scalps along the way. Lewis Dunk’s only goal of the season started Hughton’s side on their way to a famous 2-1 victory over struggling Arsenal in March; Brighton’s first victory over the Gunners since 1982. Gross, who was voted the club’s Player of the Season, then made major contributions in two other impressive results. His spot-kick earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in April and a month later, it was the ex-Ingolstadt player who produced the winning goal against Manchester United that ultimately secured Brighton’s safety.

Hughton’s deals in the transfer market were impressive too. Gross had been signed for a bargain amount and other astute deals included the signings of Davy Propper from PSV Eindhoven, Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge and the January arrival of Jurgen Locadia, also from PSV. The highlight away from home was a stunning 3-0 triumph at The London Stadium over West Ham United in October. Glenn Murray scored twice and he was the top goalscorer with 12 goals in an excellent campaign for him personally.

Brighton finished the season in 15th place and have already started to put the foundations in-place for a second campaign in the Premier League.

Iconic Moments: Majestic Macheda (April 2009)

Manchester United were locked in a tight battle with their North West rivals Liverpool FC in 2008-2009. Having been seven points clear in early March, the Red Devils had been beaten 4-1 at home by Liverpool before losing 2-0 to Fulham. Liverpool trimmed the deficit to just a single point and then went top after a Yossi Benayoun stoppage-time winner 24 hours earlier at Craven Cottage.

United played a day later and were struggling at home to Aston Villa. Wayne Rooney was suspended and Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were trailing 2-1 going into the last 10 minutes. Ferguson decided to throw on an untested youngster in Italian Federico Macheda. He had a great goalscoring record in the reserves but this was the big stage and he could easily have been overwhelmed by the whole experience.

Cristiano Ronaldo had brought the sides level in the 80th minute but with the game in injury-time, a draw wasn’t really enough for the reigning champions. They needed all three to claim back the momentum in the title battle. In the third minute of time added on, Macheda produced his majestic moment. He turned in the box to evade Luke Young’s challenge before curling a stunning effort past Brad Friedel. The 17-year-old had just made himself a Manchester United superstar.

His career has faded since and he now plays for Novara in Serie B in his homeland. However, his name will always be linked with a real turning point in the 2008-2009 Premier League season.

Iconic Moments: Rashford’s stunning debut (February 2016)

A four-way title fight was looking likely in February 2016 as surprise packages Leicester City continued to lead the way. Giving chase were north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, plus pre-season title favourites Manchester City.

Leicester had beaten Norwich City the previous day with a late winner from Leonardo Ulloa. Arsenal had to respond when they went to Old Trafford to take on a young and inexperienced Manchester United. Decimated by injuries to main forwards, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay, United boss Louis van Gaal was forced to put his trust in the academy. He gave a Premier League debut to Marcus Rashford.

Rashford had only made his first-team bow three days earlier, scoring twice in a UEFA Europa League tie against FC Midtjylland of Denmark. His Premier League debut was simply stunning. He opened the scoring on 29 minutes, steering the ball past Petr Cech after Arsenal defender Gabriel failed to clear a cross. Three minutes later, the centre-backs went missing again as Rashford was given all the time in the world to guide Jesse Lingard’s cross into the net.  In 35 minutes, he’d had just two touches in the opposition box and they had just produced a huge dent in Arsenal’s title aspirations.

Marcus’ brilliant day wasn’t done yet. He set-up the third goal for Ander Herrera in the second half as Van Gaal’s side put in one of their more rousing displays of the season to win 3-2.

A week earlier, only those seriously connected to Manchester United had heard of Marcus Rashford. By the end of February 2016, the whole world knew who he was after an incredible few days in his footballing career.

Premier League Files: Paulo Wanchope

Premier League Career: Derby County (1997-1999), West Ham United (1999-2000), Manchester City (2000-2001, 2003-2004)

Costa Rican Paulo Wanchope was an enigmatic forward who could do amazing things one minute, then completely frustrate you the very next. However, he will still go down as having one of the most amazing debuts in the Premier League.

He joined Derby County in March 1997, costing the club £600,000. His debut would come at Old Trafford against current champions and league leaders Manchester United. Unless you really knew your football, few would have heard of the name Paulo Wanchope at kick-off. It was a completely different story by the full-time whistle.

Derby were already 1-0 up when Wanchope took possession inside his own half. He went on to beat no fewer than four Manchester United players with a gangling, but decisive run through their backline before calmly placing the ball beyond the advancing Peter Schmeichel. It was a moment that Derby supporters would never forget and was actually voted the greatest goal in the club’s history during their 125th anniversary celebrations.

Part of an impressive attacking line-up under Jim Smith’s tenure at Derby, Wanchope combined brilliantly with the likes of Dean Sturridge, Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano. He scored another 21 Premier League goals for the club, including a goal to send Arsenal to their first defeat of their 1997-1998 title-winning campaign.

In July 1999, Derby decided to cash in on Wanchope as his form had started to dip in the final months of the previous season. He joined West Ham United for £3.5 million and formed a formidable partnership with the charismatic Paolo di Canio. Between them, they scored 31 times in the Premier League as West Ham United finished ninth. In 1999-2000, Wanchope scored 12 league goals but the Hammers faithful never quite took to him as the supporters did at Derby.

When Freddie Kanoute and Davor Sukur both arrived at Upton Park in the summer of 2000, Wanchope was sold to newly-promoted Manchester City for £3.65 million and made a swift impression for his new side, scoring a hat-trick in their 4-2 victory over Sunderland. This was in Manchester City’s first top-flight game at Maine Road in over four years. He added another six goals but couldn’t prevent Joe Royle’s side slipping out of the top-flight after just a single season back amongst the elite.

He stayed with the Citizens in the First Division and despite injury setbacks; he scored 12 times in just 15 appearances to help them to the title and an immediate return to the Premier League. Unfortunately, a knee injury was now hurting his career. He spent the entire 2002-2003 season on the treatment table and was a bit-part player on his return with Kevin Keegan having the services of Nicolas Anelka and Robbie Fowler on his books.

Nevertheless, Wanchope still scored six times in 2003-2004, including a crucial winning goal at home to Newcastle United that effectively kept the club in the Premier League after severe threats against relegation. He moved to La Liga in the summer of 2004, signing for Malaga. Further spells came in Qatar, Japan and the United States before retiring in November 2007, citing his knee problems as the decisive factor in not being able to demonstrate his best form.

He moved into coaching and even had a spell as national team manager of Costa Rica but resigned in 2015 after video footage emerged of him hitting a match steward.

When fit, Paulo Wanchope had an excellent goalscoring pedigree and Derby County supporters will never forget that incredible debut bow in April 1997 at Old Trafford.

Great Goals: Anthony Martial – MANCHESTER UNITED vs. Liverpool FC (September 2015)

On transfer deadline day in August 2015, Manchester United paid big money to sign Frenchman Anthony Martial from AS Monaco. Once all the instalments eventually go through on the deal, Martial will become the most expensive teenager of all-time.

He started on the bench for his debut match. Manchester United welcomed arch-enemies in Liverpool FC to Old Trafford and the first half was a drab affair between two teams who had both seen better days. Martial was introduced to the game at half-time and made a solid impression to start with as United went into a 2-0 lead through goals from Daley Blind and Ander Herrera. The visitors’ were back in the game through a wonderful goal of their own by Christian Benteke before Martial’s magical moment.

From the wide position, he cut inside, teasing and scaring the life out of Martin Skrtel. Martial beat the big Slovakian and then produced the perfect finish, not only securing United’s victory but immediately becoming a fan favourite. Welcome to the Premier League Anthony Martial!