The English Premier League (EPL) has given us some truly epic showdowns in its 29-year history. We examine two of the greatest ever!
Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United, 09/11/1997
Just over a year after French manager Arsene Wenger arrived in North London, the revolution was really starting to take shape. The Gunners had started the 1997/98 season well, with just one loss in their first 13 matches, but the visit of champions and league leaders Manchester United to Highbury was to be by far their toughest test yet.
Arsenal went ahead when the 18-year-old Nicolas Anelka brilliantly blasted the ball past Peter Schmeichel for his first EPL goal. The lead was then doubled before the 30-minute mark when Patrick Vieira brilliantly swept a loose ball back across the Dane and into the net. But United fought back in typical fashion, with former Tottenham forward Teddy Sheringham netting a quickfire brace, to enrage the locals and level the scores before half-time.
It was those same fans, however, who had the last laugh thanks to David Platt’s late header. The win moved Arsenal to within a point of the summit, and by May they would be champions for the first time in the Wenger era. This sowed the seeds for one of the fiercest rivalries in EPL history, between Arsenal and Manchester United.
Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers, 13/05/2012
Top of the table at kick-off on the last day, all Manchester City had to do was beat QPR to win the league. Rangers, who were managed by former City boss Mark Hughes, had their own reasons for wanting an unlikely win, not only had he been rather unceremoniously pushed out for City to hire Roberto Mancini, but the 17th-placed Rangers were only two points above the relegation zone.
A tense first half got even nervier when Wayne Rooney’s goal put title rivals Manchester United ahead at Sunderland, and although Pablo Zabaleta scored before the break, Djibril Cissé’s equaliser early in the second period increased the blood pressure. Joey Barton then tried to take City’s Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero with him when he was sent off before Jamie Mackie put QPR into an unlikely 66th-minute lead.
City went into the last five minutes of added time 2-1 down, but Edin Džeko’s 92nd-minute equaliser offered hope. Three minutes later, Mario Balotelli’s first assist of the season was fired home by Aguero. City were crowned champions at the end of the game!