Resting on a supposed comfortable lead is never always the wisest tactic to deploy as these teams will testify. Here are the five greatest comebacks in Premier League history.
5 – West Ham 3-4 Wimbledon – 09/09/98
Wimbledon were the comeback kings against Harry Redknapp’s West Ham in this midweek September clash.
John Hartson’s early goal and a brace from Ian Wright gave the Hammers a 3-0 lead after 27 minutes as everything looked rosy.
However, Marcus Gayle’s goal on the half-hour mark gave Wimbledon hope before they exploded into life in the second half.
Jason Euell and Gayle’s second made it 3-3 before Efan Ekoku netted the winner in the 81st minute.
4 – Leeds 4-3 Derby – 08/11/97
Goalscoring was never Leeds’ forte under George Graham so this result was even more remarkable.
Dean Sturridge’s brace and a penalty from Aljosa Asanovic gave Derby a 3-0 advantage but Rod Wallace and Harry Kewell made it 3-2 before half time.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who massively improved Leeds’ attack following his summer arrival put Leeds level with a penalty of his own before a 90th-minute winner from Lee Bowyer sent Elland Road into raptures.
That game was the second of a seven-match unbeaten run which helped Leeds towards UEFA Cup qualification.
3 – Wolves 4-3 Leicester – 25/10/03
Wolves and Leicester were promoted together from the Championship (then Division One) in 2003 but, judging by the first half, they were to have very different seasons.
Les Ferdinand scored twice before setting Riccardo Scimeca up for a third.
However, Wolves rallied in the second half as Colin Cameron set the ball rolling on 52 minutes.
He then added his second from the spot before Alex Rae’s strike made it 3-3.
Henrie Camara grabbed a late winner as Dave Jones’ men prevailed in the most adverse circumstances.
However, it didn’t spark an unlikely bid to stave off relegation – both sides went down at the end of the campaign.
2 – Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United – 29/09/01
“Lads, it’s Tottenham”.
One of Alex Ferguson’s oft-repeated soundbites comes from their truly memorable comeback win against the North London side.
The talented Spurs line up were three goals to the good by half time thanks to Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand (clearly a bad omen), and Christian Ziege.
However, they also had a reputation for being soft-centred and Ferguson’s alleged three-word team talk had an immediate impact as Andy Cole scored in the 46th minute.
Laurent Blanc made it 3-2 before Ruud van Nistelrooy levelled the game.
Juan Sebastian Veron completed the comeback and there was even time for David Beckham to rub salt into the gaping wounds.
A snapshot of why Ferguson was the master of mind games.
1 – Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal – 05/02/11
The game in which Arsenal’s quest to end a seven-year Premier League drought was shattered – Newcastle’s comeback is the only time in Premier League history a team has gained anything from a four-goal deficit.
Arsenal played some blistering football in the first half and were 4-0 up thanks to a brace from Robin van Persie along with strikes from Theo Walcott and Johan Djourou.
However, Arsenal’s softness shone through when a Joey Barton penalty and Leon Best’s goal turned the game into a real scrap.
Barton added another from the spot to set up a grandstand finish.
Then, in added time a corner was cleared to Cheick Tiote who cracked in a sensational left-footed volley to spark a raucous reaction at St James’ Park.
The goal proved to be the late midfielder’s only ever in the Premier League – a spectacular way to get off the mark.