Best Premier League Comebacks Ever
One of the main reasons that makes Premier League so entertaining to watch is that it’s often unpredictable. Sure there have been teams that dominated the league for a couple of seasons but you could always find one or two shock results against them even then. But then there are some games that every football fan loves to watch, the games where a team has all but won it with 2 or 3 goals but then the opposition makes a comeback to draw or even win the match.
Comebacks are all about momentum and a team’s belief and they are also a footballer’s ultimate fantasy, it’s what they think of at half time when their team is trailing. Premier League, being as tumultuous as it is, has provided us with many entertaining comebacks so we’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and remember some of the most amazing comebacks in Premier League history. Let’s find out below
Greatest Comebacks in Premier League History
As the most entertaining league to watch in Europe, Premier League has had its share of great comebacks, so which are the best Premier League comebacks ever?
Manchester United 5-5 West Bromwich Albion (May 19, 2013)
We start our list of best Premier League comebacks ever with a memorable one, since this was Sir Alex Ferguson’s last match as Manchester United manager. Manchester United had already won their 20th League title ever (13th Premier League) just 4 weeks before in the 34th week of the season in a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa, so they felt secure and were very relaxed with nothing to lose.
Sir Alex decided to field a fairly young team in his last match especially in the defense and in the goalkeeping position, featuring the likes of Phil Jones and Buttner in defense and Lindegaard in the keeper role. Although Buttner impressed by scoring a goal, as the score line suggests, the backline of Manchester United didn’t have a great day.
Manchester were already 2-0 up after 10 minutes and everything was set up to be the perfect farewell for Sir Alex and although they conceded a goal, the score at the half-time was 3-1 to United. In the second half though, West Brom made a couple of changes, namely bringing on a young striker by the name of Romelu Lukaku who was on loan from Chelsea. And it was Lukaku that changed the game as he scored only 5 minutes after he came on.
But things got worse for West Brom as they conceded two more from van Persie and Chicarito and the game was all but done and dusted, until the Lukaku show began, as the Belgian scored another goal and then helped his team make it 5-4 in the span of 2 minutes. He then went on to complete his hat-trick and one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history in the 86th minute as West Brom drew the match against Manchester United in the last game of Sir Alex Ferguson as the United manager. To overcome a 5-2 deficit and get a result out of it truly makes this game one of the EPL biggest comebacks ever.
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Leicester City 3-4 Newcastle (February 2, 1997)
The Magpies had an incredible season before this with the help of Shearer and just missed out on the title in the closing weeks of the 1995-96 season and now saw Kenny Dalglish as their manager instead of Kevin Keegan. One thing has to be said about their star player though and it's that there is a reason that Alan Shearer is a legend of Newcastle football club and that is not just because he was a lifelong fan of the club and refused to move to bigger teams even though they wanted him. It’s because he created unforgettable memories with his goals like the one he made in this game.
Newcastle started the match pretty well as they managed to score in the first 3 minutes of the game and then proceeded as the winner into the half-time but Leicester was a different animal when they came back from the break and went on to score in the 55’,60’ and 68’ minutes of the game with the goals coming from Elliot, Claridge and Heskey respectively.
The Magpies were stunned by the comeback that Leicester City had just made, coming from 1-0 down to make it 3-1. The game seemed all but lost, until Alan Shearer’s goal-scoring engine came alive in the 77th minute. The best goal scorer in Premier League history then went on to complete an unprecedented hat-trick in the last 14 minutes of the game, scoring in 77’, 83’ and the 90th minutes of the game to make one of the best Premier League comebacks ever complete.
Newcastle emerged victorious from the game with the individual brilliance of their club legend Alan Shearer, as he showed people once again why he is the best in the business.
Norwich 4-5 Liverpool (January 23, 2016)
the first of two Premier League best comebacks of all time featuring Liverpool which resulted quite well for the Reds despite Liverpool having a hard time throughout the 2015-16 season, having lost players like Suarez and Steven Gerrard. Their manager Brendan Rogers who once led them to a close title race was sacked and Jurgen Klopp had just became their manager and was in the process of rebuilding Liverpool’s squad and club-culture.
Firmino opened the scoring in the 18th minute but the relegation side Norwich struck back in the 29th minute with a goal from Mbokani. Just before the two teams went into the break Naismith scored for Norwich to make them the winners of the first half but the story wasn’t finished yet. Norwich was awarded a penalty which they converted in the 54th minute but Liverpool immediately pulled one back a minute later with Henderson.
Firmino and Milner then completed one of the best Premier League comebacks ever and made it 4-3 for Liverpool, coming back from a 3-1 loss to a 4-3 win. The match was set to finish but these kind of games are always due a late drama and this time it happened with a Bassong goal in the 92nd minute that levelled the game and Liverpool was having none of it as Lallana scored in 95th minute at the dying stages of the game to make one of the EPL biggest comebacks ever and win the game for the Reds.
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Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal (23 October, 1999)
Chelsea was an up-and-coming team back in the 1999 under their manager Vialli, with players like Zolan and Chris Sutton. They hadn’t been acquired by Abramovic yet and they were slowly climbing the Premier League in stature in the 90s. it all seemed perfect as they beat Manchester United the week before this match happened 5-0. And now they had to face another title contender, their overbearing neighbors in London, Arsenal.
Vialli didn’t start Zola and played Flo and Sutton in his stead and it seemed to pay off as the Blues went 2-0 up in the first half with goals from Flo and Petrescu. But there were few managers better than Arsene Wenger in rallying their team at half-time, and the Professor did just that as Arsenal were a completely different side in the second half.
Arsenal started attacking more and more until Chelsea gave way to Kanu, who was leading the line for Arsenal in the absence of Dennis Bergkamp, in the 75th minute where he took his chance in the box and scored a beautiful outside-foot goal. From then on it was Kanu’s show as he scored again in the 83rd minute but the real moment of magic came in the stoppage time where Kanu chased down a bad pass to the left hand side of the pitch from Suker and got control of it after Chelsea defender Ferrer couldn’t clear it away properly.
Then to everyone’s Surprise Kanu faced de Goey, Chelsea’s goalkeeper, on the edge of the Chelsea’s penalty box but he calmly dribbled past his tackle and then he curled the ball from an impossibly tight angle into Chelsea’s goal to make himself the hat-trick hero whilst making one of the best Premier League comebacks ever happen. Ensuring that this game would forever live in Arsenal-Chelsea rivalry folklore.
Tottenham 5-4 Leicester (May 13, 2018)
This one is one hell of a final match-week drama, where Tottenham met Leicester at home (which was at the time Wembley Stadium). It was a match that if Spurs won it could’ve made them 3rd in the league and from the offset everyone knew that this was going to be a great game as both teams scored in the opening 10 minutes. The England duo, Kane and Vardy scored in 7 and 4 minutes of the game respectively and the teams became level.
But then Leicester then took control of the match as Riyad Mahrez scored before the half-time to lead the Foxes as winners into the break. Leicester continued their control of the game after the break as Iheanacho immediately scored in the 47th minute with a beautiful left-footed shot from outside the box. The match was 3-1 after 47th minute and it all seemed done and dusted and Spurs’ 3rd place finish seemed out of hand.
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Kyle Walker-Peters and Erik Lamela then came to the rescue as Peters assisted Lamela 2 minutes later to make it 3-2 to Spurs. Then an own goal from Fuchs made it level at 3-3 and the games was turned back and it was down to Spurs to complete one of the best Premier League comebacks ever. Lamela and Walker-Peters did it again as one assisted and the other scored to make the comeback complete. In only the 60th minute.
But Leicester wasn’t finished as their deadly duo struck again when Mahrez assisted Vardy who levelled the game at 4-4. All hope of a win was seeming snuffed out for Tottenham but their captain took the helm again as he often does and scored a classic Harry Kane goal to the bottom right corner to make this one of the most amazing comebacks in Premier League history. A comeback that made Spurs go 3rd in the league and straight to the group stages of the Champions League the following year.
Manchester City 2-3 Fulham (26 April, 2008)
Apart from being one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history, this game could’ve been almost as important as winning the league for Fulham fans as the events that followed after changed the direction of the club entirely. But let’s first focus on the match.
Before the all the glam and money of the Sheikh came, Manchester City was just another lower half of the table team who had some great runs but usually just ended up not relegating. And Fulham was struggling that season. With 3 weeks remaining of the 2007-08 season, Fulham would’ve made relegation a certainty if they lost this match. Their manager Roy Hodgson had a tough 3 weeks ahead of him and Manchester City made it even tougher.
Cityzens were 2-0 up at half-time with goals from Ireland and Benjani, and Fulham didn’t even impress after the break since they were still 2-0 down after 65 minutes had passed. Then Hodgson brought on Diomansy Kamara to help his attack, and he impacted the game instantly by scoring in the 70th minute then a penalty was given to Fulham and former Liverpool man Danny Murphy scored it, Fulham was on the verge of one of the Premier League best comebacks of all time as they levelled the game and was given hope.
Nothing happened though after that as the game neared its end but Kamara struck again and this time in the injury time to complete one of the most amazing comebacks in Premier League history that saw a relegation candidate Fulham beat City to be given hope of remaining in the league. The great thing was that they won their remaining 2 fixtures and stayed up in the league just by goal differences alone and they managed to reach Europa League final the following year and attract the likes of Dmitar Berbatov to their team. Hodgson also went on to manage England after those successful years. A fairy tale ending for any Fulham fan or player!
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Liverpool 3-3 Crystal Palace (5 May, 2014)
Liverpool had an amazing season in 2013-14 and were set to break the curse of not winning the Premier League…until they met Chelsea at Anfield where Steven Gerrard famously slipped and gave Chelsea the lead, which Chelsea managed to double in the second half and seemingly bury Liverpool’s title chances, as Liverpool lost their first place to City who were on their heels in the title race.
But the real game where Liverpool actually lost any chance of winning the Premier League was a week later when they went to Selhurst Park to meet Crystal Palace. Liverpool desperately needed the points but more importantly they needed lots of goals in their last two games to have a chance of winning the league by goal difference. And they started their job brilliantly as Joe Allen gave them the lead in the first half and then at the break Rodgers rallied his men to score even more goals and it worked as Suarez and Delaney (o.g) scored in 53rd and 55th minute.
Liverpool needed more goals but it seemed like they were broken after the previous week’s result against Chelsea and they went on to capitulate completely in just 9 minutes. First Delaney made up for his own goal by scoring in the 79 minute and then Gayle scored a brace in 81 and 88th minutes of the game, making one of the best Premier League comebacks ever.
Not only did Liverpool lose the goal difference they had made in the game, they also lost 2 points and City went on to win the EPL by a 2-point difference to Liverpool a couple of weeks later. Many of Liverpool’s players, including Suarez, were in tears after the game and it just shows that greatest comebacks in Premier League history doesn’t always end up with smiles and happiness.
Manchester City 3-2 Queens Park Rangers (May 13, 2012)
Although it may not be as free-scoring as some of the other games on this list, this game will surely go down as one of the best Premier League comebacks ever as well as best comebacks ever in general, because of the importance that it had on the EPL and Manchester City’s history. So let’s see what transpired during the game.
Following Man City’s acquirement by Sheikh Mansour in 2008 and after lots of investments into the club, Manchester City finally had a team, managed by Roberto Mancini, that was capable of challenging for the Premier League title. They did just that with the help of their 3 main strikers that season, Balotelli, Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. The title race was all set to be decided on the final week of the season, as only goal differences separated the two Manchester clubs by the 37th week of the season.
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Cityzens who had a better goal difference than United started the game pretty well as they won the first half 1-0 with a goal from Zabaleta. But the relegation candidates QPR hit back straight after the break as they levelled the game. Then Joey Barton, a former City player, got sent off and Manchester City were given hope again but it didn’t last long as Mackie scored minutes later to everyone’s surprise and made it 2-1 to QPR. But Manchester City could not give up easily as they were the closes they had been in 44 years of winning the league.
The game went into the stoppage time and Manchester United players were celebrating their victory and supposed title win after finishing their own game but Manchester City’s potent attack still had plenty to tell as Dzeko first scored to level the game in the 92nd minute and then it was time for the finale as Aguero scored one of the most important Premier League goals ever and made the EPL biggest comebacks ever complete as City won the title over their neighbors over goal differences alone, the only time this has happened in EPL history, and became champions of England after 44 years.
Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (February 5, 2011)
There have been plenty of 2 or 3 goal deficits in the best Premier League comebacks ever but there is only a single game that a team that has been 4 goals down has come back and got a point out of the game and it is this memorable game between Arsenal and Newcastle. This game is one of the Premier League classics. although the comeback may have been made possible with some help from the referee but it’s a comeback that will never be forgotten.
Having lost the reverse fixture in their home grounds, Emirates Stadium, Arsenal were adamant to win it in the St. James Park to stay in the title race, as they were 2nd in the league by that time. And from the very beginning of the game it was Arsenal who dominated, as Walcott scored inside the first minute of the game and 2 minutes later a Djorou header made it 2-0. The game was set to be a walk in the park when van Persie scored in the 10th and later 26th minute. Newcastle fans were in for a long night. After the half time though, Newcastle’s resident bad boy Joey Barton ruffled some feathers and got pushed and hit in the head by Abu Diaby.
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The incident resulted in a red card for Diaby and left Arsenal vulnerable for the remaining 40 minutes of the game. It was a turning point in the game, one that Newcastle fully cashed upon. With Barton himself scoring a penalty almost 20 minutes later and bringing Newcastle into the game once again. Leon Best scored minutes later to give the Magpies hope of a comeback and in the 83rd minute the referee gave a suspect penalty to Newcastle which Barton converted once again.
Newcastle had 7 minutes to make greatest comebacks in Premier League history possible and they managed to do so 4 minutes later when the late Cheick Tiote received the ball outside the Arsenal penalty box and hit the ball on the volley with his left foot and thus completing the best Premier League comebacks ever. Although Tiote sadly passed away a few years later, his goal and the sweet memory of this comeback will be remembered by Newcastle fans forever.