[Video] Top 5 Dramatic Comebacks Featuring Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea & More…
With Arsenal just failing to progress and Barcelona making more European history ,Tom Gatehouse looks back at some of the best comebacks by Premier League clubs
Arsenal exited the Champions League last night with their heads held high, so close to what would have been an unbelievable comeback. After Giroud’s early tap in, and Koscielny’s 86th minute header, Arsenal needed just one more goal to complete an extraordinary evening, as Bayern Munich had never lost a European game in home turf by a three goal margin. But the three away goals Bayern grabbed in the first leg at the Emirates proved too much to overcome for the valiant Gunners, but they certainly gave the German giants a huge scare, and surprised a great many who thought Arsene Wenger’s men would leave Munich on the end of a spanking.
Comebacks have certainly been the theme for the last couple of European evenings. Barcelona made European history on Tuesday, by becoming the first team to successfully overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit, thereby progressing to the latter stages of the Champions League. Having fallen behind in the tie thanks to the efforts of Milan’s two former Portsmouth players, Kevin Prince-Boateng and Sulley Muntari, many thought it could be the end of the road for the omnipotent Catalan side. But, as it was proved, Barca find it as hard to score two or more goals in the Camp Nou as we mere humans do getting up out of a chair.
There have been many brilliant comebacks in recent memory and it’s not just in Europe either, with Premier League clubs providing plenty memorable moments in domestic matches over the years. It seems poignant to compile a list of astonishing games where seemingly defeated sides manage to yank the iron out of the fire, and dispel inevitability in the face of certain defeat:
5) Chelsea 3 – 3 Manchester United, 5 February 2012, Premier League
It was to be a miserable day for Chelsea fans; but for the Utd following, inflicting such embarrassment on their rivals meant that this was a game to be cherished.
Chelsea led 3-0 by the midway point of the second half; thanks to an Evans own goal, a terrific volley from Juan Mata, and a defected David Luiz header. While Chelsea fans everywhere were dancing a victory jig, Wayne Rooney was busy winning two penalties in just over ten minutes, both of which he tucked away. And so it was left to Javier Hernandez, who does seem to enjoy scoring against the Blues, to knock in the equalising goal with 6 minutes to go.
Considering Utd’s momentum, Chelsea should consider themselves lucky that they came away with a point.
4) Chelsea 2 – 3 Arsenal, 23 October 1999, Premier League
Before the Russian, the Portuguese and the hated Spaniard, Chelsea were an upper-mid-table side, and by 1999, had just starting to dabble in Europe. They were making their maiden voyage in the Champions League this season, having finished third in the previous campaign. With Gianluca Vialli, and Ruud Gullit before him, Chelsea had begun buying memorable foreign talent in order to produce their brand of ‘sexy football’.
Luckily for Arsenal in this fixture, they had their own foreign talent in the form of Nwankwo Kanu. The lanky Nigerian climbed off the bench to score a quick-fire, 15 minute hat trick, pull Arsenal up from 2-0 down, and stun Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Tore Andre Flo and Dan Petrescu had put Chelsea ahead, but Kanu was to have the last laugh, setting the puddle-strewn pitch on fire with his dazzling cameo which left Chelsea wondering how they had let one man utterly ruin their day in so little time.
3) Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal, 5 February 2011, Premier League
By way of comebacks, this was particularly impressive given that a rampant Arsenal were 4-0 to good at the break. With goals from Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou and a Van Persie double putting the Gunners in a seemingly unassailable position, stats men were at the ready for what looked like a record smashing win.
Newcastle however, buoyed by Abou Diaby’s red card, took Arsenal to pieces in the second half. Two Joey Barton penalties, either side of a Leon Best strike, took Newcastle to the brink of a momentous comeback. It was down to Cheick Tiote to unsubtly put the icing on the cake with a cracking pile driver from the edge of the box in the dying seconds.
Mortified Arsenal fans could only look on in disbelief as their side crumbled like a wet sandcastle under an angry Geordie boot. The draw was celebrated like a trophy win, and it will be long remembered by Newcastle fans and the stats men, who still got a pretty good deal.
2) Reading 5-7 Arsenal, 30 October 2012, League Cup
The score line alone would warrant some discussion among football fans, but the fact that Arsenal were at one stage 4-0 down to lowly Reading, means that this was quite some match. A staggering first half display from the Royals saw them devastate Arsenal, and Reading fans would surely have been forgiven for making arrangements for the next round.
But Arsenal, spurred on by a rampant Theo Walcott, fought back, finally taking the lead in injury time. Pogrebnyak pegged them back, with Reading praying for penalties, and an end to the ceaseless Arsenal offensive.
Walcott’s third goal on the night, and a Chamakh lob after the 120 minute mark put that thought to rest, completing a rout that has to be the most ridiculously topsy turvey game in recent memory.
1) Manchester City 3 – 2 QPR, 13 May 2012, Premier League
It is a game that is impossible to describe with words. Man City won the Premier League on the last day of the season, in the last few seconds, just as the last few City fans were about to give up hope.
Having unfathomably been 1-2 down to the relegation threatened QPR, City had to dig deeper than no other club has had to dig, and somehow retrieve two goals in injury time from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero to win the game, the battle at the top with Man Utd, and the most dramatic of all Premier League title victories.
Exhausting for everyone involved – players, managers and football fans all over the globe – it is the truest testament of the sheer brilliance of the English game. Staggering.
Check out my blog at http://goodbadribery.blogspot.co.uk/, and follow me on Twitter – @tragatehouse
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