Premier League comebacks – five of the best

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Manchester United’s comeback from three goals down at Chelsea on Sunday was quite a sight – but was it the greatest?


Anyone who witnessed the astonishing powers of recovery by an inspired, Wayne Rooney led United at Stamford Bridge would have to had some admiration for it – regardless of their club affiliations.


There is nothing quite like the emotional rollercoaster of an improbable comeback and GMF are so keen on them they have decided to put together a top five.


There will be draws and victories but the most important aspect of these was the spirit evident by those who had to pick themselves up after an early knockdown.


GMF are aware there are other revivals that could be mentioned, but these are the ones they have chosen as their favourites and we welcome suggestions of the games that are absent, as there is nothing quite like a bit of reminiscence.


So here they are, in no particular order…



February 5, 2011 – Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal


Arsenal have a track record when it comes to throwing away leads in the past few years, but this one really took the biscuit.


The Gunners took 26 minutes to build a four goal lead and were looking untouchable in front of a dormant St James’ Park crowd.


It all changed when, within a few minutes of each other, Abou Diaby saw the red mist and subsequently the red card, before Johan Djourou hobbled off to be replaced by the ever culpable Sebastien Squillaci.


Two penalties were despatched by Joey Barton either side of a Leon Best close range strike, but the show was stolen by a stunning volley from outside the area by Cheick Tiote. And so Newcastle became the first Premier League team to gain a point after being four goals down.



January 4, 1994 – Liverpool 3-3 Manchester United


This famous match was played out during a time when Liverpool were mired in an era of mid-table mediocrity, while having to watch on as their great rivals began to accumulate title after title to match the Kop’s one great claim to superiority.


United’s dominance at that time was hit home early as they took a three goal lead through a Steve Bruce header, one of Ryan Giggs’ greatest goals and a free-kick from Denis Irwin that Cristiano Ronaldo would be proud of.


From that moment, Liverpool managed to draw a performance out of themselves that belied the status of the team in around that time. Nigel Clough scored twice, in what was probably his biggest contribution in a Liverpool shirt and Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock headed the equaliser with barely ten minutes to go.



September 29, 2001 – Tottenham Hotspur 3-5 Manchester United


When you look back at this fascinating capitulation and consider what Spurs were regularly capable of ten years ago, it makes their current success and steel all the more astonishing. This was a different era though and Manchester United were regularly proving the old adage that they are never beaten until the final whistle has blown.


Dean Richards and Les Ferdinand gave the home side an early lead, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side weren’t roused until Christian Ziege scored an unlikely header just before half-time.


You can only think the hair-dryer was used accordingly by Ferguson as his side came out transformed. Andy Cole was first to find the Spurs net, before Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron and David Beckham stunned the White Hart Lane crowd into silence.



October 23, 1999 – Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal


The Gunners could probably have a whole list made up of them being on the receiving end of sensational comebacks, but they have also staged their own heroics at times.


In this wet afternoon at Stamford Bridge Chelsea had taken a quick-fire lead through headers by Tore Andre Flo and Dan Petrescu, leaving the home side in a seemingly unassailable position.


The game was turned on its head, however, by the awakening of Arsenal’s languid Nigerian striker Kanu. There were 15 minutes to go when he stopped a shot going straight to Ed de Goey and slid it home and the smell of a revival was in his team-mates’ nostrils. A neat touch and turn made the equaliser, before a piece on individual genius sealed the victory.


Kanu blocked a clearance and picked up the ball just outside the area on the byline, De Goey came charging out and appeared to have narrowed the angle, but Kanu’s quick feet left him behind and the striker then, with his colleagues crying out for a pull-back, proceeded to slam the ball into the top corner from an almost impossible angle



September 23, 2000 – Manchester United 3-3 Chelsea


With the weekend’s game fresh in the mind, it is always good to remember that it can happen to the best of them. Manchester United were imperious around this time, whereas Chelsea were young upstarts led by Claudio Ranieri and still Abramovich-less.


After Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had rocketed Chelsea into the lead, United went into overdrive with goals from Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham and David Beckham outing them in control at half time.


However, the Blues' Norwegian forward Tore Andre Flo reduced the deficit just after the break, before slotting home the equaliser with a quarter of an hour to go.


There you have it, our top five Premier League comebacks. All that’s left to do is tell us what you think of our choices and suggest any you think should be in there...

Tottenham Hotspur
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