Tag Archives: Sunderland

Seasonal Records: 2013-2014

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2013-2014 Premier League campaign. The title remained in Manchester again but it was City’s turn to finish as kings of the top-flight, pipping a stern challenge from Liverpool FC on the final day of the season.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester City 38 27 5 6 102 37 +65 86
2 Liverpool FC 38 26 6 6 101 50 +51 84
3 Chelsea 38 25 7 6 71 27 +44 82
4 Arsenal 38 24 7 7 68 41 +27 79
5 Everton 38 21 9 8 61 39 +22 72
6 Tottenham Hotspur 38 21 6 11 55 51 +4 69
7 Manchester United 38 19 7 12 64 43 +21 64
8 Southampton 38 15 11 12 54 46 +8 56
9 Stoke City 38 13 11 14 45 52 -7 50
10 Newcastle United 38 15 4 19 43 59 -16 49
11 Crystal Palace 38 13 6 19 33 48 -15 45
12 Swansea City 38 11 9 18 54 54 0 42
13 West Ham United 38 11 7 20 40 51 -11 40
14 Sunderland 38 10 8 20 41 60 -19 38
15 Aston Villa 38 10 8 20 39 61 -22 38
16 Hull City 38 10 7 21 38 53 -15 37
17 West Bromwich Albion 38 7 15 16 43 59 -16 36
18 Norwich City 38 8 9 21 28 62 -34 33
19 Fulham 38 9 5 24 40 85 -45 32
20 Cardiff City 38 7 9 22 32 74 -42 30

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1052
European qualifiers Manchester City (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Everton (UEFA Europa League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Europa League)

Hull City (UEFA Europa League)

Longest winning run 11 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest unbeaten run 16 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest winless run 9 games (Sunderland, West Bromwich Albion & Fulham)
Longest losing run 7 games (Crystal Palace)
Highest attendance 75,368 (Manchester United vs. Aston Villa)
Lowest attendance 19,242 (Swansea City vs. Stoke City)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC)
PFA Young Player of the Year Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
Football Writers’ Award Luis Suarez (Liverpool FC)
PFA Team of the Year Petr Cech, Gary Cahill, Vincent Kompany, Seamus Coleman, Luke Shaw, Steven Gerrard, Yaya Toure, Adam Lallana, Eden Hazard, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez
Manager of the Year Tony Pulis (Crystal Palace)
Premier League Goal of the Season Jack Wilshere (ARSENAL vs. Norwich City)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Luis Suarez Liverpool FC vs. West Bromwich Albion 4-1 26th October 2013
Luis Suarez (4) Liverpool FC vs. Norwich City 5-1 4th December 2013
Adam Johnson Fulham vs. Sunderland 1-4 11th January 2014
Samuel Eto’o Chelsea vs. Manchester United 3-1 19th January 2014
Eden Hazard Chelsea vs. Newcastle United 3-0 8th February 2014
Andre Schurrle Fulham vs. Chelsea 1-3 1st March 2014
Yaya Toure Manchester City vs. Fulham 5-0 22nd March 2014
Luis Suarez Cardiff City vs. Liverpool FC 3-6 22nd March 2014

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Luis Suarez Liverpool FC 31
2 Daniel Sturridge Liverpool FC 22
3 Yaya Toure Manchester City 20
4= Sergio Aguero Manchester City 17
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 17
4= Wilfried Bony Swansea City 17
7= Edin Dzeko Manchester City 16
7= Olivier Giroud Arsenal 16
9= Romelu Lukaku Everton 15
9= Jay Rodriguez Southampton 15
11= Eden Hazard Chelsea 14
11= Loic Remy Newcastle United 14
13= Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 13
13= Rickie Lambert Southampton 13
15 Robin van Persie Arsenal 12
16 Emmanuel Adebayor Tottenham Hotspur 11
17= Aaron Ramsey Arsenal 10
17= Christian Benteke Aston Villa 10
19= Alvaro Negredo Manchester City 9
19= Raheem Sterling Liverpool FC 9
19= Samuel Eto’o Chelsea 9
19= Danny Welbeck Manchester United 9
19= Adam Lallana Southampton 9
24= Oscar Chelsea 8
24= Lukas Podolski Arsenal 8

 

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City 2nd November 2013
Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 24th November 2013
Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal 22nd March 2014
Hull City 6-0 Fulham 28th December 2013
Manchester City 5-0 Fulham 22nd March 2014
Tottenham Hotspur 0-5 Liverpool FC 15th December 2013
Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City 29th January 2014
Liverpool FC 5-1 Norwich City 4th December 2013
Liverpool FC 5-1 Arsenal 8th February 2014
Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Sunderland 7th April 2014

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal 14th December 2013
9 Cardiff City 3-6 Arsenal 22nd March 2014
8 Stoke City 3-5 Liverpool FC 12th January 2014
7 Manchester City 7-0 Norwich City 2nd November 2013
7 Liverpool FC 4-3 Swansea City 23rd February 2014
7 Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea 4th December 2013
7 Aston Villa 4-3 West Bromwich Albion 29th January 2014
6 Manchester City 6-0 Tottenham Hotspur 24th November 2013
6 Chelsea 6-0 Arsenal 22nd March 2014
6 Hull City 6-0 Fulham 28th December 2013
6 Tottenham Hotspur 1-5 Manchester City 29th January 2014
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Norwich City 4th December 2013
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Arsenal 8th February 2014
6 Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 Sunderland 7th April 2014
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Stoke City 26th December 2013
6 Fulham 2-4 Manchester City 21st December 2013
6 Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff City 18th January 2014
6 Southampton 4-2 Norwich City 15th March 2014
6 Everton 3-3 Liverpool FC 23rd November 2013
6 Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool FC 5th May 2014

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Adam Armstrong Fulham 1-0 Newcastle United 17 years, 1 month, 5 days 15th March 2014
Patrick Roberts Manchester City 5-0 Fulham 17 years, 1 month, 17 days 22nd March 2014
Moussa Dembele West Ham United 3-0 Fulham 17 years, 4 months, 18 days 30th November 2013
Chuba Akpom Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal 17 years, 11 months, 5 days 14th September 2013
Tom James Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea 18 years, 26 days 11th May 2014
Luke Shaw West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Southampton 18 years, 1 month, 5 days 17th August 2013
Declan John West Ham United 2-0 Cardiff City 18 years, 1 month, 18 days 17th August 2013
Jordon Ibe Liverpool FC 5-1 Arsenal 18 years, 2 months 8th February 2014
Serge Gnabry Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City 18 years, 2 months, 8 days 22nd September 2013
Sam Gallagher Newcastle United 1-1 Southampton 18 years, 2 months, 29 days 14th December 2013

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Brad Friedel Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Newcastle United 42 years, 5 months, 23 days 10th November 2013
Mark Schwarzer Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea 41 years, 7 months, 5 days 11th May 2014
Ryan Giggs Manchester United 3-1 Hull City 40 years, 5 months, 7 days 6th May 2014
Kevin Phillips Crystal Palace 1-4 Fulham 40 years, 2 months, 26 days 21st October 2013
Steve Harper Aston Villa 3-1 Hull City 39 years, 1 month, 19 days 3rd May 2014
Jussi Jaaskelainen Fulham 2-1 West Ham United 38 years, 8 months, 13 days 1st January 2014
Thomas Sorensen West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Stoke City 37 years, 10 months, 29 days 11th May 2014
Kelvin Davis Southampton 0-3 Chelsea 37 years, 3 months, 3 days 1st January 2014
Georgios Karagounis Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Fulham 37 years, 1 month, 13 days 19th April 2014
Sylvain Distin Hull City 0-2 Everton 36 years, 4 months, 25 days 11th May 2014

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1= Petr Cech Chelsea 16
1= Wojciech Szczesny Arsenal 16
3 Tim Howard Everton 15
4= Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 14
4= Artur Boruc Southampton 14
6 Joe Hart Manchester City 13
7= David de Gea Manchester United 12
7= Julian Speroni Crystal Palace 12
7= John Ruddy Norwich City 12
10 Vito Mannone Sunderland 11
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Memorable Matches: Everton 6-2 Sunderland (November 2015)

Goalscorers: Gerard Deulofeu 19, Arouna Kone 31, 62, 76, Jermain Defoe 45, Steven Fletcher 50, Sebastian Coates 55 OG, Romelu Lukaku 60

Teams:

Everton: Tim Howard, Seamus Coleman, Ramiro Funes Mori, Bryan Oviedo (Brendan Galloway 25), John Stones, Gareth Barry, James McCarthy, Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu (Kevin Mirallas 65), Arouna Kone, Romelu Lukaku (Leon Osman 78)

Sunderland: Costel Pantilimon, Wes Brown, Sebastian Coates, Billy Jones, Patrick van Aanholt, DeAndre Yedlin (Sebastian Larsson 64), Lee Cattermole (Jack Rodwell 38), Yann M’Vila, Adam Johnson, Jermain Defoe, Steven Fletcher (Duncan Watmore 75)

Referee: Andre Marriner, Attendance: 36,617

Everton came into this match against Sunderland needing to find some consistency in the Premier League. Roberto Martinez’s side were one of the best counter-attacking teams in the division but were struggling to put teams away. Sunderland were coming off the back of a morale-boosting Tyne & Wear Derby victory seven days earlier. This was Everton’s first home match since the funeral of their most successful manager, Howard Kendall and in his memory, both teams put in a magical match.

It was Sunderland who made the brighter start and on his recall to the side, Patrick van Aanholt was desperately unlucky after just three minutes, striking the post. The visitors continued to do the early pressing with Tim Howard making quick saves to deny Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher, whilst the woodwork saved the home side from going behind for a second time. On 19 minutes, the Toffees were infront. Gerard Deulofeu scored his first goal since returning to the club from Barcelona. Arouna Kone’s excellent pass found him in space and he calmly slotted the ball into the net.

Kone doubled the lead with his third goal of the season just past the half-hour. Exchanging passes with strike partner Romelu Lukaku, Kone’s left-footed drive found the roof of the net. Right on the stroke of half-time though, Sunderland got back into the game. Sebastian Coates’ long-ball found Defoe who was braver to win the challenge against John Stones. He showed great composure to avoid Ramiro Funes Mori’s sliding tackle and via a deflection off Stones, his shot beat Howard.

Sunderland deservedly levelled the scores five minutes into the second half. Van Aanholt’s right-footed cross was inch-perfect and Fletcher wanted it more than Funes Mori, planting his header into the bottom corner of the net. There always looked like more goals would come and Everton regained their lead on 55 minutes. Deulofeu’s teasing ball into the box was diverted into his own net by Uruguayan defender Coates, who was attempting to stop Lukaku from reaching the cross.

Deulofeu was having a brilliant game, despite being booked for a daft dive. His superb pass on the hour mark found Lukaku who sped past Wes Brown and the Belgian rounded Costel Pantilimon to register his fourth goal in his last five matches.

Sunderland’s ambition had now caught up with them. James McCarthy’s devastating reverse pass found Kone and the striker found the net for his second of the afternoon. Everton had now scored three goals in the space of seven second half minutes. There was still time for Kone to complete his hat-trick. Lukaku’s brilliant ball into the six-yard box found the head of Kone who scored his first treble for Everton and became one of the more unlikely hat-trick heroes in Premier League history. He deserved it for an all-round action performance.

Sunderland did gain revenge later in the season with a 3-0 victory over the Toffees in May which ensured their Premier League safety and condemned Roberto Martinez to the sack. This though was Everton and Arouna Kone’s day on a goal-filled afternoon.

Iconic Moments: Sunderland’s own goal treble (February 2003)

In February 2003, Sunderland looked to be in serious relegation trouble. The Black Cats were in the bottom three and hadn’t won since surprising Liverpool FC two months earlier. However, the home faithful still believed they could record three points against Charlton Athletic. No side had recorded more away wins in the 2002-2003 season at this stage than Charlton. They had every reason to be confident of chalking up another three points on Wearside. However, they were about to get a huge helping hand from their opponents.

There were four goals scored in the match and all of them were scored by Sunderland. Unfortunately, three of them were for Charlton! A horrific eight-minute spell saw the Addicks into a 3-0 lead without them needing to score themselves past Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

Charlton took the lead after 24 minutes. Mark Fish’s weak effort took two deflections on its way into Sorensen’s net. The right heel of defender Stephen Wright got the final touch. One own goal in a match can be considered as unfortunate. Two own goals look rather silly. Five minutes later, Chris Powell’s shot was stopped by Sorensen but came off Michael Proctor and trickled into the net. Worse was to come.

Sunderland’s horrific treble was completed by Proctor again. From another Charlton corner, a flick-on at the near post came off Proctor’s back who had turned his back away from the ball. It spun into the net to complete a hat-trick of own goals.

Some of the crowd already started to leave before half-time. Howard Wilkinson’s side did score one at the right end but lost 3-1. They wouldn’t win again all season and with misfortune like this, it wasn’t a surprise that Sunderland were relegated, having recorded just 19 points.

Premier League Files: Danny Dichio

Premier League Career: Queens Park Rangers (1994-1996), Sunderland (1999-2001), West Bromwich Albion (2002-2003)

Currently in Canada as Head Coach of the Toronto FC Academy Under-19 side, Danny Dichio’s best Premier League spell came at his first club Queens Park Rangers. In total, he featured in 93 matches between 1994 and 2003, scoring 19 goals for Rangers, alongside spells at Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.

Born in the Hammersmith area of London to an Italian father and English mother, Dichio made his breakthrough at Loftus Road by signing professional forms in May 1993. 15 months later, he made his Premier League debut off the bench in a home game with Aston Villa. It was a memorable moment for Dichio and a game he will never forget. He scored the second goal in QPR’s 2-0 victory – the penultimate home match in-charge for Gerry Francis before his resignation.

Dichio made eight further appearances after his debut bow in the 1994-1995 season but it was the departure of Les Ferdinand in the close season to Newcastle United that gave him his major first-team breakthrough. He forged a strike partnership with Kevin Gallen and ended up with decent figures of 10 goals in 29 appearances. This included a run of six goals in four games early in the campaign, with braces in matches against Leeds United and Newcastle United.

However, QPR were relegated in 1996 to the First Division and Dichio left for pastures new, moving into Serie A for spells with Sampdoria and on-loan to Lecce. In 1998, he returned to English shores with Sunderland, who were in the First Division at the time of his arrival. His time on Wearside would be difficult. Although the Black Cats won promotion and backed this up with consecutive seventh-place finishes in the Premier League, Dichio struggled to make an impact. Only considered a back-up option to the formidable partnership of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn, he would score just once across two Premier League seasons.

Next stop was West Bromwich Albion which is where Dichio spent the 2001-2002 season on-loan. He scored on his debut away at Sheffield Wednesday and in November 2001, West Brom paid Sunderland £1.25 million to make the move permanent. The Baggies came up as runners-up in the First Division, which allowed Danny to have another go at the top-flight. He seemed happier at The Hawthorns and finished as the club’s joint-top scorer in the league, netting five goals along with fellow forward Scott Dobie. However, it wasn’t enough to prevent West Brom being relegated.

He moved his family upto the Midlands to join him but was loaned out to Derby County in October 2003 and by the end of the season, was back in London playing for Millwall. Suspension ruled him out of the 2004 FA Cup final. After three further seasons at second-tier level with the Lions and Preston North End, Dichio left the English game completely in 2007 to join newly-created MLS franchise, Toronto FC.

He scored 14 goals over the course of the next three seasons, including the club’s first-ever goal in the MLS. After retirement, he went into coaching with Toronto and is looking after their academy. He combines this with an analyst role on MLS and some Premier League matches for Fox Soccer News.

Shock Results: Sunderland 2-1 Liverpool FC (December 2002)

Goalscorers: Gavin McCann 36, Milan Baros 67, Michael Proctor 85

Teams:

Sunderland: Jurgen Macho, Phil Babb, Joachim Bjorklund, Michael Gray (Michael Proctor 81), George McCartney, Stephen Wright, Kevin Kilbane, Gavin McCann, Paul Thirlwell, Tore Andre Flo (Marcus Stewart 89), Kevin Phillips

Liverpool FC: Chris Kirkland, Jamie Carragher, Stephane Henchoz, Djimi Traore, Igor Biscan (El-Hadji Diouf 63), Dietmar Hamann (John Arne Riise 46), Steven Gerrard, Danny Murphy, Vladimir Smicer (Salif Diao 72), Milan Baros, Michael Owen

Referee: Mark Halsey, Attendance: 37,118

Having breezed through their first 12 Premier League matches undefeated in the 2002-2003 season, Liverpool FC were in the midst of a very difficult period. Gerard Houllier had seen his side suffer four defeats in their last five league matches. Nevertheless, they were expected to end this tricky patch with a victory against a Sunderland side that had mustered just three league victories all season.

Howard Wilkinson’s team had won just twice infront of their supporters since April but did claim a hard-fought point at Anfield when the sides met a month earlier. They needed to improve on a dreadful performance and result against Manchester City six days earlier, crashing to a 3-0 home defeat. They started well though with Kevin Kilbane coming close to opening the scoring after just 12 minutes, flashing a shot just wide of Chris Kirkland’s goal. Liverpool had played a UEFA Cup tie against Vitesse Arnhem a few nights earlier and certainly looked the leggier of the two teams.

The home side had gone over 500 minutes without a Premier League goal but that drought would end nine minutes before half-time. Ex-Evertonian Gavin McCann got the better of Steven Gerrard and linked up nicely with Tore Andre Flo. The nomadic Norwegian forward poked the ball back into McCann’s path. He calmly dinked his effort over Kirkland to open the scoring.

Liverpool had to improve in the second half and Houllier responded by taking off defensively-minded player Dietmar Hamann for the more attacking instincts of John Arne Riise. However, they were about to be denied constantly by Jurgen Macho. The Austrian pulled off several impressive saves to deny the likes of Milan Baros and Danny Murphy. The visitors completely bossed the start of the second half but on 58 minutes, could have fallen two goals behind.

Kevin Phillips’ header hit Jamie Carragher, whose arm was in a very unnatural position. Mark Halsey believed Carragher had blocked the attempt with his hand and gave a penalty. It was a big decision and a wrong call. Replays showed Carragher had been struck in the face by Phillips’ header. McCann took responsibility for the penalty but looked nervous and his kick was weak. Kirkland leapt off his goal-line to push his effort around the post. Liverpool felt justice had been done and finally found a way through Macho nine minutes later. Carragher threaded a beautiful ball through Sunderland’s backline and this time, Baros made no mistake to slot home a deserved equaliser. Surely, only one side was going to go on and win?

Not so. Wilkinson bought on Sunderland-born midfielder Michael Proctor with nine minutes remaining. Four minutes later, he put himself in the nightmares of many Reds supporters, scoring his first Sunderland goal just weeks after returning from a loan spell at Bradford City. He needed two attempts at it but he found the net to take the Black Cats out of the relegation zone.

This would end up being Sunderland’s last win of the season as they went down with just 19 points. Liverpool would go 11 games without victory in the Premier League and this run would ultimately cost them a top four finish come the end of the season.

Shock Results: Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland (April 2014)

Goalscorers: Samuel Eto’o 12, Connor Wickham 18, Fabio Borini 82 PEN

Teams:

Chelsea: Mark Schwarzer, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Nemanja Matic, Ramires, Oscar (Demba Ba 59), Mohamed Salah (Andre Schurrle 66), Willian, Samuel Eto’o (Fernando Torres 74)

Sunderland: Vito Mannone, Marcos Alonso, Wes Brown, John O’Shea, Santiago Vergini, Lee Cattermole, Jack Colback, Adam Johnson (Emanuele Giaccherini 66), Sebastian Larsson (Ondrej Celustka 90), Fabio Borini, Connor Wickham (Jozy Altidore 66)

Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 41,210

Jose Mourinho was in his second spell as manager of Chelsea and his team were involved in a three-way scrap for the Premier League title with Liverpool FC and Manchester City. The Blues did look title favourites after a February victory at The Etihad Stadium but costly away defeats to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace had made them outsiders for the championship. They were facing a Sunderland side who were favourites for relegation despite a battling 2-2 draw at Eastlands three nights earlier. Gus Poyet’s side were also taking on Mourinho’s impregnable home record as a Premier League boss. He had never lost a home encounter and this was his 78th match.

The Blues top goalscorer, Eden Hazard was injured but Mourinho still had Samuel Eto’o available and the experienced Cameroonian gave his side the perfect start after only 12 minutes. Willian’s corner found Eto’o, who got infront of his marker, Lee Cattermole to guide in his 12th goal of the season. Considering there was so long to go and Sunderland’s recent 5-1 defeat on their last trip to the capital at Tottenham Hotspur, the omens didn’t look good for Poyet and his side.

However, they had found some energy and resolve during the midweek draw with Manchester City and Connor Wickham was finding a goalscoring touch that had deserted him for much of the campaign. After his two goals in Manchester, he added another here to bring the Black Cats level. On-loan full-back Marcos Alonso hit a shot which was too hot to handle for Mark Schwarzer. Wickham reacted quicker than Chelsea captain John Terry to score from close-range.

Chelsea had 31 attempts on-goal but without Hazard, lacked the decisive cutting edge. Vito Mannone was in terrific form, making smart saves to deny Branislav Ivanovic, Nemanja Matic and Willian whilst the introductions in the second half of Andre Schurrle and Demba Ba made little difference. The crucial moment occurred eight minutes from full-time. A slip from Cesar Azpilicueta allowed substitute Jozy Altidore to break down the right-hand side. Azpilicueta tracked him but brought him down.

Referee Mike Dean awarded a penalty and this prompted a furious reaction from the Chelsea dugout. Mourinho had to restrain his assistant coach Rui Faria, who was dismissed to the stands for his protests. On-loan from Liverpool FC, ex-Chelsea forward Fabio Borini calmly slotted away the spot-kick to set Sunderland up for their second victory in four seasons at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho’s home record was gone and his fairly sarcastic media interviews afterwards suggested he didn’t take defeat well. Sunderland would win their next three matches and ultimately, remain in the Premier League off the back of shock results like this one in west London.

Great Goals: Matt Taylor – Sunderland vs. PORTSMOUTH (October 2005)

Some players are born with a gift of scoring spectacular goals. Matt Taylor certainly fits into that category. He was never one to score just tap-ins. His goals often came from distance and were often quite memorable.

Portsmouth didn’t have a lot to cheer about during the first part of the 2005-2006 season but one bright spot was this away day win at Sunderland in October 2005. They were losing at half-time but stormed back to win 4-1 and it was Taylor’s goal from 45-yards out that captured the attention. Seeing goalkeeper Kelvin Davis slightly off his line, the midfielder tried what seemed like an ambitious attempt but his shot was hit was such venom, it flew over Davis and into the net.

It was pipped to the BBC Goal of the Season award by Steven Gerrard’s heroics in the FA Cup final at Cardiff but this was one of, if not, the best goal of the 2005-2006 Premier League campaign.

Shock Results: Ipswich Town 5-0 Sunderland (December 2001)

Goalscorers: Alun Armstrong 15, 27, Thomas Gaardsoe 26, Finidi George 31, Jamie Clapham 86

Teams:

Ipswich Town: Matteo Sereni, Thomas Gaardsoe, Hermann Hreidarsson, Chris Makin, Mark Venus, Jim Magilton, Matt Holland, Finidi George, Martijn Reuser (Jamie Clapham 72), Alun Armstrong (Richard Naylor 72), Marcus Bent (Jermaine Wright 80)

Sunderland: Thomas Sorensen, Bernt Haas, Michael Gray (George McCartney 45), Emerson Thome, Julio Arca, Jason McAteer (Kevin Kilbane 45), Gavin McCann, Claudio Reyna, Darren Williams, Kevin Phillips, Niall Quinn (Kevin Kyle 45)

Referee: Graham Poll, Attendance: 24,517

The 2001 calendar year had been of tale of two halves for Ipswich Town. After flourishing in the first part of the year which saw them finish a stunning fifth in the table, the Tractor Boys were finding out the tough nature of Premier League football. George Burley’s side were trapped in the bottom three ahead of this clash with Sunderland. The Black Cats sat 10th at kick-off.

Peter Reid’s men went into the match having not conceded a goal in their last 203 minutes of Premier League football but were to be breached four times in a 45 minute spell that left him fuming and the home supporters stunned.

Ipswich took the lead after 15 minutes. Forward Alun Armstrong made the most of a mishit cross by Nigerian summer signing Finidi George to open the scoring. The lead was doubled 11 minutes later. Slack marking at a Mark Venus corner allowed Thomas Gaardsoe to head home. The Dane was only playing because of an injury to Ipswich’s first-choice centre-back, Titus Bramble. It was his first goal in English football.

Sunderland’s previously strong defensive unit seemed to have disappeared for an early New Year party because they looked all over the place – unable to cope with the barrage of attacks the home side were putting together. Just 60 seconds after Gaardsoe’s goal, Darren Williams’ poor backward header saw visiting goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen dash from his goal-line. He was beaten to the aerial challenge by Armstrong. The former Newcastle player couldn’t believe his luck. He had just been gifted his second goal of the afternoon and the onslaught wasn’t finished yet.

Fine work from skipper Matt Holland and recent new arrival Marcus Bent played in Finidi George. Sorensen partially committed himself and was caught in no-man’s land as the winger punished him by lobbing the ball delightfully over the hapless Dane. Ipswich had scored four goals in a 16-minute spell which suggested their current league position of 18th was false.

Reid made a triple half-time substitution and there was a slight improvement after the break. However, there was still time for Ipswich’s own substitute, Jamie Clapham to round off the scoring with four minutes left to play.

This win was part of a run that saw George Burley’s side win seven out of eight games that saw them climb to 12th but it was a false dawn. Ipswich never recovered from a 6-0 walloping in February from Liverpool FC and were relegated on the final day, with Sunderland only just surviving in 17th. This though was Ipswich’s day and one small memory for their supporters from an underwhelming campaign.

Premier League Rewind: 4th-6th December 1999

Results: Aston Villa 0-1 Newcastle United, Bradford City 1-1 Middlesbrough, Leicester City 0-3 Arsenal, Manchester United 5-1 Everton, Southampton 0-0 Coventry City, Sunderland 4-1 Chelsea, Wimbledon 5-0 Watford, Derby County 0-1 Leeds United, Liverpool FC 4-1 Sheffield Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 West Ham United

December 1999 was the final month of the 20th century and the 1999-2000 season was a campaign that was seeing plenty of goals and a lot of drama too. On this particular weekend, fans at Premier League grounds up-and-down the country would see either no goals at all or a host of efforts hitting the back of the net.

The league leaders going into the weekend were David O’Leary young, exciting Leeds United side. Leeds had lost just one of their last 12 matches and been top of the table since early October. They travelled to Derby County looking to protect their narrow advantage over Manchester United. This was the repeat round of fixtures from the opening weekend of the season and for the second time in the campaign; it looked like Derby were going to get a goalless draw.

Then, referee Paul Alcock gave a slightly fortuitous penalty to the away side and Ian Harte dispatched the spot-kick to give the visitors a narrow 1-0 win and regain their two-point cushion at the head of the Premier League table.

Manchester United had spent a day at the summit after thumping Everton 5-1 at Old Trafford. For the second time in 1999, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four times in a match as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side turned on the style in their first game back since winning the Intercontinental Cup in Tokyo.

Arsenal and Sunderland kept their challenges going with convincing wins. Arsenal enjoyed a good victory at Filbert Street; a ground which had caused them trouble in previous seasons. Marc Overmars was among the scorers in the 3-0 victory, although Leicester would later get revenge by knocking Arsene Wenger’s side out of the FA Cup two months later.

Sunderland’s season had been built around a deadly strike partnership and they tore Chelsea apart at The Stadium of Light. Both Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips scored twice as they raced into a 4-0 lead before half-time. Gianluca Vialli’s side were eventually beaten 4-1 and were miles off the pace. Since beating Manchester United 5-0 in early October, Chelsea had won just one of their last seven matches, slipped to ninth in the table and were now 14 points off the pace.

Liverpool FC recovered from conceding an early goal to Niclas Alexandersson of Sheffield Wednesday, eventually overcoming the league’s bottom side 4-1. This game was notable for the first goal in a Liverpool shirt for a youngster by the name of Steven Gerrard. He would score another 185 goals in all competitions for the club he cared about the most. With just one win from 16 games, Sheffield Wednesday’s situation already looked rather desperate.

They were joined in the bottom three by Derby County and Watford. Graham Taylor’s men were on the receiving end of a 5-0 thrashing by Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. This scoreline was Wimbledon’s biggest victory in their Premier League career and had them closer to mid-table than the drop zone at this stage of the season. Their downward plight would only begin in the new millennium.

What else happened in December 1999?

  • Celebrations take place across the world to herald the millennium. In the UK, this sees the unveiling of the London Eye and the opening of the Millennium Dome.
  • After eight years in power, Boris Yeltsin resigns as President of Russia.
  • Former Beatles singer George Harrison is attacked in his home in Oxfordshire, suffering minor stab wounds.
  • After 442 years of Portuguese settlement, the sovereignty of Macau is transferred to the People’s Republic of China.
  • Tori Murden became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by rowboat alone, when she reached Guadeloupe from the Canary Islands. She had been rowing for 81 days.
  • 137 people are killed by Storm Lothar which sweeps through southern parts of Germany, France and Switzerland.
  • Torrential rains cause catastrophic floods and mudslides in coastal regions of Venezuela, killing an estimated 25,000 people and leaving 100,000 others homeless.

Iconic Moments: Beach ball Bent (October 2009)

In October 2009, Liverpool FC travelled to Sunderland, keen to recover from back-to-back losses in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League against Fiorentina and Chelsea respectively. Sunderland were playing well at home, having won three of their four home games so far and coming within an inch of a shock win at Old Trafford a fortnight earlier.

They got an unexpected helping hand in this match as early as the fifth minute. The ball reached Darren Bent who decided to try his luck in the early exchanges with the main aim of warming up Pepe Reina’s palms. His connection with the football was not great but it was enough to defeat Reina via a deflection. However, it didn’t come off the nearest defender, Glen Johnson. Instead, it had been deflected into the net off a beach ball!

Despite protestations from Liverpool players, referee Mike Jones allowed the goal to stand following some consultation with his officials. Sunderland would win 1-0 and climbed into seventh place in the table, above their unfortunate opponents.

Later, the culprit was identified as 16-year-old Liverpool supporter Callum Campbell who had thrown the beach ball onto the pitch in the moments before the teams came out. It was an unfortunate incident and goes down as one of the freakiest goals in Premier League history.

Premier League Files: Julio Arca

Premier League Career: Sunderland (2000-2003), (2005-2006), Middlesbrough (2006-2009)

He has just turned 37 and is still playing at semi-professional level for South Shields. The Argentine wing-back Julio Arca became a favourite in the north east, representing Sunderland and Middlesbrough and became an icon for both teams.

Although he operated as a wing-back, Arca was most definitely an attack-minded player and that was his main trait. Sunderland signed him in July 2000 from Argentinos Juniors on a five-year contract. Peter Reid did well to attract Arca to Wearside. Leeds United and Newcastle United were among teams interested in signing Julio but the attractive style of Reid’s teams turned out to be the deciding factor.

He’d played as a left-back for his club in Argentina but Reid converted him into a position on the left-hand side of midfield and he made an instant impact, scoring on his debut against West Ham United at The Stadium of Light. He added another two goals in his first Premier League season as Sunderland finished an excellent seventh in the table for the second successive season.

One of Arca’s main strengths was his ability to pick out a range of passes for his teammates and they missed this in 2001-2002. A series of troublesome injuries restricted his time playing and when he was on-the-field; his form of the previous campaign was evidently missing. An injury in February ended his second season on Wearside prematurely.

When Reid was sacked in October 2002, Julio slipped out of the first-team picture under the guidance of Howard Wilkinson and the Black Cats were relegated. However, he became a more prominent figure back in the Championship, earning spots in the division’s Team of the Year for two successive seasons. A key figure of Mick McCarthy’s plans, Arca was part of the squad that went up back to the Premier League as champions in 2005.

He scored a brilliantly-placed free-kick against Middlesbrough in September 2005 that helped them to their first win back in the top-flight and McCarthy’s first-ever as a Premier League manager. There wasn’t any further success though and after Sunderland’s relegation, he left the club. He stayed in the north east, joining Middlesbrough in July 2006 for £1.75 million, replacing Franck Queudrue who had moved to Fulham in the summer. He became the first signing made by new permanent Boro boss Gareth Southgate as the Teesiders beat Spanish club Espanyol to his signature.

He made his Middlesbrough debut on the opening day at Reading but broke his foot in the first half and was replaced at half-time. Out for two months, he became an important player on his return, playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role for Southgate and starring. He scored his first goal for the club against Charlton Athletic in December 2006. Arca would remain with the club for seven seasons, sticking with them even after their demise from the top-flight in 2009. He was released in 2013 and retired from professional football.

However, his love for the game continues. He has been playing for semi-professional side South Shields and also done some coaching with the youngsters back at Sunderland.

Memorable Matches: Chelsea 6-2 Sunderland (March 1997)

Goalscorers: Gianfranco Zola 38, Frank Sinclair 43, Dan Petrescu 51, Paul Stewart 58, Alex Rae 60, Mark Hughes 78, 89, Roberto Di Matteo 90

Teams:

Chelsea: Frode Grodas, Steve Clarke, Scott Minto, Andy Myers (Paul Parker 66), Frank Sinclair, Dan Petrescu, Craig Burley, Roberto Di Matteo, Dennis Wise, Mark Hughes (Gianluca Vialli 84), Gianfranco Zola

Sunderland: Lionel Perez, Michael Gray, Gareth Hall (Alex Rae 46), Dariusz Kubicki, Richard Ord, Andy Melville, Paul Bracewell, Kevin Ball, Michael Bridges (Lee Howey 79), David Kelly, John Mullin (Paul Stewart 46)

Referee: Gary Willard, Attendance: 22,762

Ruud Gullit was enjoying his first season in management in 1996-1997 and it would end in glory as Chelsea beat Middlesbrough in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. Two months earlier, his side took on another side from the north east in Sunderland, who were scrapping for their lives in their maiden Premier League campaign.

Chelsea had been frustratingly inconsistent in the league all season. Despite having beaten Liverpool FC and Manchester United, they’d also lost to Nottingham Forest and Derby County. Sunderland had beaten them 3-0 at Roker Park in the reverse fixture in December 1996. The fans plus Sky Sports Super Sunday viewers would be treated to a feast of goals at Stamford Bridge.

Both sides had chances in the first 30 minutes. Frode Grodas, back in goal for Chelsea had to push a John Mullin shot wide, whilst Lionel Perez denied Roberto Di Matteo at the other end. Seven minutes before the interval, the Blues’ galaxy of stars clicked into gear with the opening goal. Dan Petrescu broke into the box and his cross found Gianfranco Zola who powered a shot into the net for his 10th of the season since joining from Parma in November.

Five minutes later, Frank Sinclair made it 2-0. The centre-back ghosted into the box as the Sunderland defence went AWOL and headed past Perez at the far post. Peter Reid tried to change the direction of the match by making a double substitution at half-time, bringing on Paul Stewart and Alex Rae. However, Sunderland fell further behind on 51 minutes. Perez made a smart save from Zola but his efforts were in vain as the excellent Petrescu guided in the rebound. The game looked over as a contest. However, a deficiency at the back almost cost them the match.

The Black Cats suddenly rallied with two quick goals of their own. First, Grodas was beaten in an aerial challenge and Stewart had a free header into the unguarded net to make it 3-1. Then, another mix-up in the backline allowed the other substitute Rae to strike home from close-range and set-up an unexpected grandstand finish to proceedings.

Chelsea needed a fourth goal to regain their security on the game and it came with 12 minutes left. Mark Hughes cashed in on a mix-up between David Kelly and Andy Melville, breaking through to calmly beat Perez. As Sunderland piled further players forward, they were brutally exposed in the dying embers. Substitute Gianluca Vialli set-up the experienced Hughes to make it 5-2 and there was still time for Di Matteo to complete the scoring on another counter-attack in stoppage-time.

Chelsea would finish the campaign in sixth. Despite being three points above the drop zone after this loss, Sunderland collected just six more points and were relegated on the final day of the season.