Soccer is a strange old game and there’s few sports that can rival this glorious pastime when it comes to drama, suspense and shocks. If there’s one thing you should always remember about soccer is that essentially it’s 11 players vs 11, and, even though certain teams may be overwhelming favourites to win, it doesn’t always run to script.
Since the inception of the EPL in 1992 we’ve been treated to a plethora of incredible matches and choosing the greatest Premier League comebacks is no easy task.
However, we’ve given it our go and here’s our guide to 4 of the best Premier League comebacks we’ve witnessed over the last few decades:
4. Chelsea 2 Arsenal 3, 1999
We start with a London derby from 1999, which saw Chelsea arrive having thrashed Manchester United 5-0 in their previous home fixture.
They were certainly the form team here, and the game seemed to be heading to an inevitable conclusion when goals from Tore Andre Flo and Dan Petrescu helped the Blues to establish a 2-0 lead.
However, Arsenal’s mercurial striker Nwanko Kanu had other ideas, as the Nigerian plundered a seven-minute hat-trick to overhaul Chelsea and earn the Gunners a famous victory.
Not only were these the first goals conceded by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge that season, but Kanu’s third was scored from a ridiculously tight angle after keeper Ed de Goey had committed himself.
3. Spurs 3 Manchester United 5, 2001
Manchester United were renowned for their incredible comebacks under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, with their victory at White Hart Lane in 2001 offering a relevant case in point.
When German wing-back Christian Ziege stooped to head Spurs’ third goal on the stroke of half-time, the game was all but sewn up and Tottenham’s fans were already offering ‘oles’ with every single pass.
However, Ferguson introduced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at half-time and switched to an aggressive 4-3-3 system, with Andy Cole scoring seconds after the restart.
Headers from Laurent Blanc and Ruud van Nistelrooy hauled United level after 70 minutes. Then, Juan Sebastian Veron powered United into a startling lead, with David Beckham’s late thunderbolt securing a stunning 5-3 win.
If Ole, who is now ‘at the wheel’ at Old Trafford can inspire that never say die attitude then they could be the surprise package this season. And, if you’re partial to a flutter next time you’re reading some soccer tips, check out any United-based predictions that offer decent value because it may be worth taking advantage of some bookie free betting offers.
2. Manchester City 2 Fulham 3, 2008
Fulham’s ‘great escape’ in 2008 is now the stuff of legend, but their survival bid began in earnest at Manchester City in April.
Trailing 2-0 at half-time and with other results going against them, Fulham were mathematically relegated and this remained the case with more than 65 minutes on the clock.
At this stage, manager Roy Hodgson rolled the dice and sent on the rapid striker Diomansy Kamara, with the Senegal international quickly pulling a goal back.
Danny Murphy’s penalty restored parity with 10 minutes to go, but even then the Cottagers’ fate still hung in the balance. Then, in the dying moments, Kamara burst into the City box to fire an explosive winner and complete a truly unlikely comeback.
1. Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4, 2011
It’s fair to say the normally raucous Toon Army wasn’t in particularly good voice at half-time during the clash with Arsenal in February 2011, after goals from Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou and Robin Van Persie (2) has left their side facing a thrashing.
Newcastle had even found themselves 3-0 down after 10 minutes, and the Geordies would probably have probably started in damage limitation mode when the second-half kicked off.
However, skipper Joey Barton stroked home two penalties either side of a Leon Best goal to haul Newcastle back in contention in the second-half, whilst the Gunners also lost Abou Diaby to a straight red card as the pressure intensified.
Roared on by a now vociferous crowd, the stage was set for the best EPL comeback in history, as Newcastle midfielder powered home a stunning, 20-yard volley into the bottom corner with barely three minutes left on the clock.