Football

Top 5: Memorable comebacks

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Walcott celebrates putting Arsenal 6-5 ahead against Reading (©GettyImages)
Walcott celebrates putting Arsenal 6-5 ahead against Reading (©GettyImages).

Arsenal completed one of the most memorable comebacks in football history last night as they overturned a 4-0 deficit, before going on to win 7-5 against Reading.

It was thrilling and bizarre at the same time, neither side seemingly committed to a midfield battle, as each swapped attack for attack.

A huge vacant space in the middle of the pitch invited a constant stream of forward forays, as each competitor seemed to run blindly at one another with no real regard for decorum. Tactics went well and truly out the window.

But they often do in the most exciting matches. From the Newcastle v Liverpool Premier League classics of the mid-to-late 90's to Manchester United's last-gasp victory over Manchester City in 2010, savvy defending is often conscipious by its absence in the best matches.

So, after the highs and lows of last night's incredible encounter, GMF looks back at some other classics…

Manchester City 3-2 QPR | 2012

The final day of the Premier League season was supposed to be a glorious triumph for Manchester City - the day they lifted the Premier League trophy for the first time.

And at the end of the day they did just that, but, in between one hell of a match took place, twisting and wringing the emotions of every City fan in the Etihad Stadium and around the world.

The radio clasped to the head was a familiar look as City fans listened in to updates from Manchester United's visit to Sunderland. And as the clock ticked away, 2-1 down at home to relegation threatened QPR, it looked like Sir Alex Ferguson was primed and ready to snatch the title in the cruellest of circumstances.

But two goals in the final five minutes, one from Edin Dzeko, and the winner, gloriously brought to life by Martin Tyler's commentary, turned the tables, and Roberto Mancini's side were champions. The greatest end to a season ever.

Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United | 2001

Asked what went wrong after the match, Tottenham Hotspur manager Glenn Hoddle said: "Half-time." Fresh after a 15-minute blast from the Sir Alex Ferguson hairdryer, Manchester United came out for the second half all guns blazing. Well they couldn't play any worse than their first 45 minutes.

Three goals down at the break, United stunned Spurs with a magnficient three-quarters of an hour of some of the best football played in the Premier League.

No doubt Spurs folded like damp pack of cards, but United were brilliant, hitting five at White Hart Lane. Even Juan Sebastian Veron, so lifeless in a Red shirt, was possessed by United's ruthless goalscoring pursuit as Spurs were left washed up in their wake.

AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool | 2005

Doing it in the League Cup is one thing, but the Champions League final is a slightly more stressful environment.

What Liverpool accomplished in Istanbul is still difficult to comprehend. The Reds were so bad, and AC Milan so good, that the match more closely resembled one of those lop-sided preliminary qualifiers than a final.

But, three goals down at the interval, Liverpool surged back, club captain Steven Gerrard leading the charge, and the rest of the Reds following closely behind.

The Shevchenko miss, Dudek saves, and penalty heroics just added to an already scarcely believable plot.

Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal | 2011

Newcastle did to Arsenal what the Gunners have just done to Reading - basically, they embarrassed them with the mother of all comebacks.

Arsene Wenger's side went into the half-time break 4-0 up after a blistering first 45 minutes.

But after About Diaby saw red for lashing out at Joey Barton, everything changed, Arsenal panicked and Newcastle capitalised.

Agent Provocateur Barton drilled in two penalties, before Leon Best set the nerves jangling.

So the stage was set for Cheik Tiote, the Magpies enforcer, to step up and blast Alan Pardew's side level with a rocket-propelled shot into the net in the 88th minute. Comeback complete. As Tiote said after the match, "Unbelievable, incredible, wow."

Tottenham 3-4 Manchester City | 2004

Three goals behind and a man down cannot have made it a pleasant half-time Manchester City changing room at White Hart Lane. Even Kevin Keegan, the master motivator that he is, must have struggled to see a route back into the match for his side.

But, as the City fans munched on their lukewarm pies at half-time, something changed in the City dressing room. Momentum shifted in the 15-minute break, inexplicably charging City up while demoralising Tottenham to the brink of lethargy.

And, in one of the most memorable FA Cup encounters of the last twenty years, Kevin Keegan's Manchester City roared back in the second half. Goals from Sylvain Distin, Paul Bosvelt, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jonathan Macken turned it around.

As Spurs manager David Pleat said, "We have let ourselves down."

Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Manchester City
Premier League
Manchester United
Liverpool
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