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Other SportsWhere does Chelsea-Manchester City epic rank among the Premier League's greatest games?

Where does Chelsea-Manchester City epic rank among the Premier League’s greatest games?

It’s fair to say Sunday’s meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City did not disappoint.

Eight goals, a penalty at either end – one contentious and one less so – and two former City forwards returning to haunt their old team made the chaotic 4-4 draw an instant Premier League classic.

But where does it rank among the greatest contests we have seen in the Premier League era?

Here, we remember five unforgettable contests spanning four separate decades in English football’s top flight, with both City – and neighbours Manchester United – featuring prominently.

5. CHELSEA 4-4 MANCHESTER CITY, NOVEMBER 2023

This weekend’s eight-goal thriller at Stamford Bridge truly had it all. No fewer than four equalising goals – one for City, three for Chelsea – were scored as momentum swung one way and then the other in west London.

That had not occurred in a Premier League game since Liverpool and Arsenal drew 4-4 at Anfield in April 2009 – another classic which fell just short of a place in our top five.

In addition to goals, every game on our list has another thing in common; late drama. With City academy graduate Cole Palmer denying his former club victory with an emphatic 95th-minute penalty, Sunday’s match certainly ticked that box.

Former City hero Raheem Sterling playing a key role for Chelsea, netting the Blues’ second goal, provided another compelling narrative.

Speaking in his role of commentator for Sky Sports, former Liverpool and England defender Jamie Carragher said “it felt right” that neither team lost the game, and most neutrals would have to agree.

4. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 5-5 MANCHESTER UNITED, MAY 2013

Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden 26-year spell at Old Trafford ended on a high note as United captured their 13th league title under the Scot in 2012-13. Fortunately for Ferguson, that success had already been rubber-stamped before an eventful final-day trip to The Hawthorns.

Ferguson oversaw exactly 1,500 games as United manager, but few came close to the craziness of this one, with West Brom staging a miraculous recovery to deny the visitors victory.

United raced into a 3-0 lead within half an hour before James Morrison and Romelu Lukaku hit back, but the Red Devils looked to have killed West Brom’s hopes of a fightback through goals from Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez.

However, Lukaku scored two more to claim the match ball either side of a Youssouf Mulumbu strike to ensure a chaotic match finished all square.

Fortunately for United’s players, they still finished the campaign 11 points clear of City, sparing them one final dose of the hairdryer treatment.

3. MANCHESTER UNITED 4-3 MANCHESTER CITY, SEPTEMBER 2009

No list of the Premier League’s greatest games would be complete without an entry from one of the most storied rivalries in the competition’s history.

2009 was a landmark year for football in Manchester, with City celebrating Carlos Tevez’s cross-city switch with the infamous ‘Welcome to Manchester’ billboard and Ferguson predicting United would never be derby underdogs in his lifetime.

The teams’ first meeting of 2009-10, taking place at Old Trafford in September, looked to be heading for a 3-3 draw when Craig Bellamy inspired Mark Hughes’ visitors to a dramatic fightback.

Michael Owen, however, had other ideas, with the former Liverpool icon making his mark in a different shade of red by prodding in a stoppage-time winner to quiet United’s ‘noisy neighbours’.

2. LIVERPOOL 4-3 NEWCASTLE UNITED, APRIL 1996

Silverware may have evaded them, but Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United ‘Entertainers’ remain one of the most beloved teams in Premier League history. Though the Magpies’ defeat proved costly as their title challenge faltered, this April 1996 epic showed why.

An era-defining clash began with Robbie Fowler’s second-minute header and culminated with Stan Collymore’s thunderous 92nd-minute winner, Liverpool twice fighting back for a famous victory.

“Managers would be dead within six months if every game was like that,” remarked Reds boss Roy Evans.

This rip-roaring contest even had a sequel the following season, with Fowler hitting another late winner in another 4-3 Liverpool triumph. You can never beat the original, however.

1. MANCHESTER CITY 3-2 QUEENS PARK RANGERS, MAY 2012

“You’ll never see anything like this ever again”, screamed Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler. To this point, that comment has proven accurate.

Any debate concerning the single most iconic moment in Premier League history surely ended on May 13, 2012, when City pipped rivals United to the title in the most remarkable circumstances, being crowned English champions for the first time since 1968.

Relegation-threatened QPR dug deep after Pablo Zabaleta’s opener, with Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie turning the game around to stun an expectant Etihad Stadium crowd into silence.

Edin Dzeko’s late header and Joey Barton’s red card gave City hope, but United’s supporters were starting to celebrate yet another title after clinching their own final-day win at Sunderland.

Enter Sergio Aguero. Taking advantage of Mario Balotelli’s only Premier League assist, the Argentine wrote himself into English football folklore with his 94th-minute strike, a moment which will take some beating.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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