FourFourTwo names the 100 greatest Premier League matches (Yes, that one's in there. No, not that one, it was rubbish.)
A home defeat to Southampton had seen Sunderland drop to 19th place in the Premier League, but the visit of Charlton to the Stadium of Light just four days later gave them the chance to break out of the bottom three. They didn’t take it. Instead, the proceeded to shoot themselves in foot – three times.
On an afternoon chock-full of farce, the suitably unlucky Black Cats put through their own net not once, not twice, but thrice. Fullback Stephen Wright was first on the score-sheet, deflecting Charlton defender Mark Fish’s shot past Thomas Sorensen. Michael Proctor inadvertently bundled over the line after a save from the Dane, before again prodding one in at the wrong end to leave the home fans raging as their side trailed 3-0.
Kevin Phillips pulled one back late on, but Charlton were soon laughing all the way back down to London. Literally, we presume. JM
Still basking in the glory of their unbeaten season of 2003/04, Arsenal’s Invincibles continued where they had left off in 2004/05, winning their opener at Everton 4-1.
After Thierry Henry chipped in an early goal in this, their first home game of the new season, it seemed like business as usual for the rampant champions, but Steve McClaren’s Boro had other ideas. Joseph-Desire Job, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Franck Queudrue blasted three great strikes past Jens Lehmann to leave Arsenal rocking at 3-1 down.
But the visitors just couldn’t keep the quality of Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Jose Antonio Reyes at bay, with the trio scoring one apiece within 11 minutes to turn the game on its head. Thierry Henry capped off the win with a late fifth. PH
Rarely has a League title been secured in as emphatic a fashion as Chelsea’s rout of Wigan on the final day of the 2009/10 season. The West Londoners needed to win to secure their third Premier League crown, with Manchester United snapping at their heels a point behind. The Blues didn’t mess about in completing the task in hand.
Nicolas Anelka settled any nerves after just six minutes, and from there they never looked back, with Didier Drogba even completing a hat-trick in just 17 second-half minutes. Carlo Ancelotti’s side had already smashed seven goals past Sunderland, Aston Villa and Stoke that season and wrapped up the campaign with the prettiest bow in town with eight in front of their own fans. PH
The Clarets made quite an impression in their debut (and to date, only) year in the Premier League by taking out the champions in their first home match.
With United winning their opening game of the season and the Clarets losing theirs, there was little suggestion on the radar that a storm was coming. But Burnley produced a perfect smash-and-grab victory, enjoying just 37% possession and producing 10 fewer shots than their more illustrious rivals.
The only goal was a thing of beauty, as Robbie Blake showed top-flight technique to hammer a 17th minute volley past Ben Foster. Brian ‘the Beast’ Jensen saved a Michael Carrick penalty and produced several other fine stops to deny the frustrated visitors. PH
The Canaries were struggling through their first top flight campaign in a decade, but the visit of high-flying Middlesbrough (it sounded less funny at the time) gave them a chance to hoist themselves out of the drop zone.
Norwich took the lead through Damian Francis, but seasoned campaigner Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink soon had Boro back on terms. A second half double from Franck Queudrue and a fantastic 77th minute free kick from Hasslebaink looked to have wrapped up the points for the visitors, but Norwich were not done just yet.
Dean Ashton pulled one back almost immediately, and Leon Mckenzie reduced the deficit to one with a minute of normal time to play. Adam Drury completed a remarkable comeback heading home in the 92nd minute to give Norwich a well-deserved point. Sadly, it was all in vain, as they were relegated four months later. SW
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