In Focus: The most sensational Premier League Boxing Day clashes

Tom Hancock
LiveScore
Javier Hernandez celebrates scoring the winning goal against Newcastle on Boxing Day in 2012
Javier Hernandez celebrates scoring the winning goal against Newcastle on Boxing Day in 2012

The annual Boxing Day bonanza is one of the great traditions of the English football calendar.

Last weekend’s schedule was mostly wiped out by Covid cancellations — but, all being well, there will be several Premier League games to savour this time around.

In anticipation of a feast of festive football, we looks back on some all-time great Boxing Day Premier League encounters.

Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa (2007)

Chelsea and Aston Villa played out a Christmas cracker at Stamford Bridge, as the Blues came from behind to preserve their 54-game unbeaten home record in all competitions.

Villa looked like going in 2-0 up at half-time, before Zat Knight saw red just before the break. Andriy Shevchenko scored the resulting penalty to put the hosts back in the game, then equalised five minutes into the second half.

Rampaging centre-back Alex completed the turnaround on 66 minutes — but there was still time for plenty more drama. Martin Laursen equalised for the visitors, before a wild challenge from Ricardo Carvalho saw Chelsea reduced to 10 men too.

Michael Ballack looked to have won it for the West Londoners with two minutes of the 90 remaining — but after Ashley Cole was given his marching orders in stoppage time for handling on the line, Gareth Barry stepped up to secure a dramatic point for Villa from the spot.

Delight for Aston Villa's supporters as Gareth Barry nets a stoppage time penalty to take home a point from Stamford Bridge
Delight for Aston Villa's supporters as Gareth Barry nets a stoppage time penalty to take home a point from Stamford Bridge

Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle (2012)

Fittingly for Sir Alex Ferguson’s last Boxing Day match, Manchester United took all three points with a late goal at Old Trafford.

Javier Hernandez’s winner for the league leaders did not quite come in 'Fergie Time' but on 89 minutes, it was late enough to be suitably dramatic.

Newcastle had led early on through James Perch, but Jonny Evans drew United level after 25 minutes — only to go and restore the visitors' advantage by scoring in his own net just three minutes later.

The contest swung back and forward in the second half, with Patrice Evra making it 2-2 then Papiss Cisse putting Newcastle in front for a third time.

But the Magpies just could not hold on, and once Robin van Persie had equalised with almost 20 minutes left to play, the hosts went on and did what they so often managed under their former boss.

Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham (2017)

This one might be a contender for the most controversial Boxing Day clash of the Premier League era.

Callum Wilson salvaged a point for Bournemouth in the 93rd minute, but it is fair to say that West Ham were not best pleased about the manner of the equaliser.

With Wilson seemingly offside and handling the ball, the flag went up — but referee Bobby Madley overruled his assistant.

"To lose a goal like that is a killer," said Hammers boss David Moyes post-match, after Marco Arnautovic’s brace in the final 10 minutes looked to have handed West Ham victory.

Bobby Madley's decision to allow Callum Wilson's goal evoked a sense of disbelief from West Ham's players
Bobby Madley's decision to allow Callum Wilson's goal evoked a sense of disbelief from West Ham's players

Coventry 3-2 Arsenal (1999)

A meeting between the teams in 13th and fourth did not scream 'Boxing Day classic', but that is what fans at Highfield Road were treated to in 1999.

Goals from Gary McAllister and Mustapha Hadji sent Coventry in 2-0 up at the break, before Freddie Ljungberg clawed one back for the Gunners in the second half.

The Sky Blues were not to be denied, though, as Robbie Keane restored their advantage five minutes later and left Arsenal with too much to do in the game’s closing stages.

Davor Suker’s strike did offer some hope for Arsene Wenger’s side late on but the hosts held firm for a memorable victory.

Manchester City 5-1 Hull (2008)

Phil Brown's controversial on-pitch team talk is one of the most iconic moments from Hull's time in the top flight
Phil Brown's controversial on-pitch team talk is one of the most iconic moments from Hull's time in the top flight

This was a classic for an altogether different reason. Felipe Caicedo and Robinho both bagged first-half braces for City, but it is events at half-time which have gone down in Premier League history.

With his side trailing 4-0 at the break, Tigers' boss Phil Brown decided to take a different approach to his team talk.

Instead of heading back to the dressing room, Brown gave his players a thorough dressing down on the pitch in front of the travelling fans.

It worked — sort of. Craig Fagan netted a consolation goal 10 minutes from time, before Stephen Ireland scored the hosts’ fifth of the game.

Tags

Premier LeagueChelseaAston VillaManchester UnitedNewcastle UnitedBournemouthWest Ham UnitedCoventryArsenalManchester CityHull
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