Five of the biggest footballing chokes

Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle United Premier League 1996

Leicester City currently sit seven points clear at the top of the table. There are three games left to play, and should the foxes beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, they will secure the first title in their 132 year history.

However, should they lose their remaining fixtures, they will open the door for Tottenham Hotspur, and round off one of the strangest seasons in Premier League history, with the biggest choke. 

As Leicester charge towards the Premier League title, here's a look at the top five footballing chokes.


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Newcastle 1995/96

Poor old Kevin Keegan. A mercurial Newcastle side featuring Faustino Asprilla, David Ginola and a prolific Les Ferdinand were romping home to a first Premier League triumph. Keegan's ruthless brand of football saw Newcastle 10 points clear at Christmas.

However, a resurgent Manchester United, buoyed by the return of Eric Cantona from kung-fu purgatory, were charging down an ever closing gap as The Magpies began to falter. A loss at home to The Red Devils in March ended Newcastle's 100% home record and reduced their lead at the top to a single point. Defeats to Arsenal and the infamous 4-3 defeat away at Anfield saw Keegan and Newcastle unravel.

Things came to a head when Sir Alex Ferguson's mind games prompted an explosive rant from the Newcastle manager live on Sky. "I will love it if we beat them. Love it." will be etched on Keegan's headstone. Newcastle, relying on results elsewhere, drew their last two games and conceded the title to Sir Alex and Cantona. 

Arsenal - League Cup Final 2011

Looking to finally end their trophy hoodoo, Arsenal took to the Wembley turf knowing all that stood in their way of much sought after silverware were Birmingham City. In hindsight, perhaps there were signs that lady luck wasn't on the side of the Gunners that February afternoon.

Arsenal were without the Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen and captain Cesc Fabregas after he picked up a knock against, surprise surprise, Stoke City, just before their date with Birmingham, but surely nothing would stand in the way of Arsenal's trophy pursuit.

Gunners fans couldn't quite believe what they were seeing as Serbian giant Nikola Zigic headed The Blues into an early lead. Arsenal fought back through Robin van Persie, and the game was poised at 1-1, until Arsenal fell victim to a mistake of Zigic size proportions.

Arsenal v Birmingham City - Carling Cup Final

Back-flip hero, evergreen super striker, whatever you want to call him, Obafemi Martins is seemingly unable to have a birthday. He is also unable to let Arsenal fans have a nice day out, as he pounced on Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczęsny's defensive mix up in the 89th minute to condemn Arsenal fans to yet another trophy-less season.

Arsenal may have had the last laugh though, they marched their annual procession to 4th place as Birmingham were unable to stave off relegation to the championship, and are yet to return to the top flight.

AC Milan - Champions League Final, 2005

The greatest night in Liverpool fans history was quite a bad one if you happened to be watching in the red and black of the Rossoneri. One nil up after 51 seconds through club legend Paolo Maldini, Milan ended the half three goals to the good following a brace from Hernan Crespo.

Liverpool Celebrate Champions League Win With Victory Parade

Fans in the stadium thought it was over, pundits thought it was over, even those watching at home thought it was over. What followed was surely the greatest team talk of all time, and Liverpool completed a six minute triple salvo to claw their way back into the game.

A string of ridiculous saves from Liverpool's Jerzy Dudek saw The Reds stay in the game and hold on for penalties. Dudek secured his legend status on Merseyside as he palmed away a tame effort from Politician and former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko to win the Champions League, ensuing incredible celebration in Istanbul.

Liverpool 2013/14

Isaac Newton once said "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Well, for Liverpool fans, the joy they experienced in Istanbul was eclipsed as their title challenge crumbled from beneath them.  

Have you really known pain until you've fallen over in front of a baying Stamford Bridge, gifting possession and the lead to the opposition, days after you have actually uttered the words 'we don't let this slip' in a big huddle in front of some peskily placed cameramen? Probably not, no.

Well, unfortunately for Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, that's exactly what happened. Liverpool had emerged from mid-table obscurity and debouched to the top of the table after an amazing 11 game winning streak. With three games to go they were three points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City.

Crystal Palace v Liverpool - Premier League

Gerrard's slip at Chelsea was devastating, (unless you create memes for a living) but not fatal to the Reds' title challenge. They went to Selhurst Park knowing that only a win would give them a shot at the title. A Damien Delaney own goal sandwiched between strikes from Joe Allen and Luis Suarez (who else) had put Liverpool into a commanding three goal lead and with Man City in their sights.

However, Liverpool's defence was breached in the 79th minute. A two goal cushion remained, no need to panic, only 11 minutes to see out. Enter Dwight Gayle. Two goals late on from the man from Walthamstow left Liverpool's hope of a first premier league title dashed, and Luis Suarez in tears.

Anthony Knockaert, play off semi final 2013

May 12th, 2013. A blistering May afternoon at Wembley was at stake during the second leg of the Championship play off semi-final. An unremarkable fixture on paper. The two teams contesting the game, at first glance, also appear unremarkable. Yet Watford and Leicester saw one of the most absurd finishes to a game.

The game was poised at 2-2 on aggregate when Anthony Knockaert was adjudged to have been brought down in the box by Watford's Marco Casetti. Knockaert got up, dusted himself down and stood over the ball.

With 97 minutes on the clock, Knockaert's effort was stopped by the feet of Manuel Almunia. The ball cannoned off the Spaniard and rolled back to an unbelievably grateful Knockaert, seemingly in slow motion. His eyes lit up, a second bite of the cherry.

Watford v Leicester City - npower Championship Play Off Semi Final: Second Leg

With the goal gaping, again Knockaert fluffed his lines. The ball was hoofed clear, and a shell shocked Leicester were pounced on.

Watford broke and Troy Deeney volleyed home to break Leicester City's hearts. In one of the stranger metaphorical battles from nature, a wounded fox was seen off by a ruthless moose. Leicester fans have all but forgotten the hurt of that May afternoon, following the unlikeliest of title challenges this year. Beware Leicester fans, it's happened to you before, so don't count your chickens just yet.

Have we missed any ones off the list? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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