‘Six of the best’ – Premier League thrillers

In light of the launch of the new football gaming phenomenon that is ‘Goaldash’ I decided to look at the top six Premier League thrillers.

Whatever your thoughts on the overall standard and quality of the Premier League it can most definitely lay claim to one title: Being the most thrilling league in the world. Over the years we have been spoilt by the sheer number of exciting, breathtaking games the league has produced. These matches have contained everything: drama, incident, wonder-strikes, unlikely score-lines, the lot. Here are six of the most thrilling:

1: Liverpool 4 – 3 Newcastle United (30/04/1996)

Often regarded as the greatest match in Premier League history this game was the perfect advert for English football. The end to end attacking nature of both teams excited and terrified fans in equal measure, resulting in the ultimate climax of a last minute winner. Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle were the closest rivals to leaders Manchester United and they had to win in order to maintain pressure. A Liverpool win would see them sneak back into the race for the title too. The match was explosive from the start, with Robbie Fowler in his prime and forming a prolific partnership with Stan Collymore, combining and giving the Reds the lead before Ferdinand and Ginola replied with classy strikes to give the Magpies a 2-1 advantage going into half-time. With Liverpool attacking the Kop and behind a goal, the tempo remained as both teams surged forward in search of more goals – eventually Fowler score his second after 55-minutes before Colombian maverick ‘Tino’ Asprilla instantly replied finishing sublimely. It was left to Stan Collymore to rescue the Reds who equalised again on 68-minutes before scoring the winner in injury-time as the watching world was left breathless.

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2: Arsenal 4 – 4 Tottenham Hotspur (29/10/2008)

Harry Redknapp’s first game in charge of Spurs had it all: defensive errors, goalkeeping howlers and super-strikes – including a 40-yard volley, all occurred in this ding-dong of a North London derby. Every time you thought nothing else could possibly happen, something did – particularly in the final stages of the game when Arsenal were still two goals up going into final minute, only for Spurs to somehow peg them back, ensuring the game deservedly finish all-square.


3: Liverpool 3 – 3 Manchester United (04/01/1994)

Another match that’s widely heralded as one of the best matches the Premier League has ever produced. The unthinkable was unfolding in front of Liverpool’s own fans when United blew them away scoring three sublime goals in only 23-minutes. Liverpool shocked into action instantly replied with a lovely strike from Clough before doubling his tally, and Liverpool’s, on 38 minutes. The thrilling game continued with both teams creating chances and both keepers making fine saves before an unlikely hero in the large shape of Neil Ruddock strode forward and thundered in an unstoppable header in the 79th minute, ensuring the game ended all-square and Fergies face turned purple.


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4: Newcastle United 4 – 4 Arsenal (05/02/2011)

Was this the greatest comeback in Premier League history? Arsenal were involved again, once more being pegged back after scoring 4-goals. This time however, they raced into a 4-goal lead as the first-half drew to a close. Newcastle were simply blown away at home with Walcott, Djourou and van Persie twice, scoring with just 23-minutes played. It could have been more for the Gunners before the referee gave respite to the remaining Toon Army, of which a few decided to leave in anger at what they had witnessed. How those few wish they would have stayed for an unbelievable second-half. Things began badly for Arsenal as Djourou limped off only 2-minutes after the restart, and things soon turned sourer when Diaby was dismissed on 50-minutes after becoming involved in an incident with Premier League trouble-magnet Joey Barton. The red-card fired-up Newcastle and rattled the Gunners, who conceded two penalties and a goal after a defensive error. With 87-minutes on the clock it was left to unlikely goalscorer Tiote to smash in a wonder-strike from outside the box, sending the remaining Toon Army wild and giving Arsene Wenger a sense of de-ja vu.


5: Everton 3 – 3 Manchester United (11/09/2011)

The off-field antics of Wayne Rooney’s personal life threatened to over-shadow this game before it had even begun, but by the end of it the talking point was how United’s defence managed to blow a 2-goal lead whilst winning in injury-time. Rooney was left out of returning to his former club but United’s other striker Dimitar Berbatov took most of the plaudits as the Red Devils sailed into a 3-1 lead after Everton had opened the scoring. Indeed United manager Alex Ferguson would go on to say Berbatov was the best player in the pitch, though now wasted after blowing their lead. Cruising to victory and leading by 2-goals in the 91st minute, United’s defensive frailties came to the fore when up against Everton’s never-say-die attitude proved too much as incredibly they struck twice; first with a Tim Cahill header in the 91st, then Mikel Arteta rattled home the equaliser in the 92nd minute. Rather than celebrate a famous come-back, Toffees boss David Moyes was left furious with referee Martin Atkinson as he blew for full-time as Everton amazingly broke in search of a winner, with United all but out for the count.


6: Newcastle United 4 – 3 Leicester City (03/02/1997)

We’ll end this series where we started with Newcastle United being involved in a 4-3 score-line; though this time finishing on the right-end of it. Leicester City had shocked Newcastle on their own ground taking a 3-1 lead with goals from Claridge, Elliot and Heskey with 76-minutes played. Step forward a certain Alan Shearer who turned the game on its head with a superb hat-trick in the final 14-minutes. A rocket-like free-kick, a smart finish and a tap-in gave all three points to start Kenny Dalglish’s reign.

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