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Premier League Boxing Day Classics


Premier League Boxing Day Classics

The Christmas period is always a special time for English football, with non-stop football and entertaining games throughout. But arguably no day is more exciting than Boxing Day, with it being one of the most anticipated match days on the footballing calendar. Here we take a look at some classics to have taken place on the day.

Arsenal 6-1 Leicester City – 2000

Arsenal treated their fans to a late Christmas gift as they hit Leicester for six in a seven-goal thriller at Highbury in 2000. Unfortunately for the Foxes, it was a nightmare, as Thierry Henry scored his first ever hat-trick for the London club to help them on their way to victory.

Both sides came into the fixture level on 35 points in second and third place respectively, so it was a very important game. Henry scored after 35 minutes to put the Gunners 1-0 up, and it stayed this way into the second half. Patrick Vieira added a second just five minutes after the break but Ade Akinbiyi pulled one back to put his side firmly back in the contest. This hope was short-lived, however, as Henry added his second and Arsenal’s third to restore their two-goal cushion. Freddie Ljungberg and Tony Adams netted either side of Henry’s third to complete the home side’s rout.

Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham United – 2017

Bournemouth and West Ham produced a Christmas cracker in 2017, as two late goals saw the points shared.

The visitors took an early lead through James Collins before Dan Gosling equalised in the 29th minute. The Cherries completed the turnaround 15 minutes after the break as Nathan Ake put them in front. Marko Arnautovic and West Ham capitalised on an Asmir Begovic slip to tie the game at 2-2, and then he added another to give the Hammers a late 3-2 advantage.

Whilst the game was full of entertainment, it was also not short of controversy, as Callum Wilson’s 93rd-minute equaliser led to a lengthy discussion between the officials. The striker had got the final touch on Ake’s goal-bound header, but there was a suspicion of offside. The goal was eventually awarded, and what West Ham thought was going to be victory was snatched away from them at the death.

Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa – 2007

Fans at Stamford Bridge were treated to a thriller as Chelsea and Aston Villa played out a 4-4 draw, which to date is the highest-scoring Boxing Day fixture in Premier League history. It was a memorable game which ended with a 92nd-minute penalty from Gareth Barry to share the points, though this does not tell the full story.

Both sides were in strong positions heading into the game, with Chelsea sitting in third fighting for the title, whilst Villa were five points from fourth in eighth place.

Aston Villa threatened to spoil the festivities as they grabbed an early goal through Shaun Maloney before the Scot added another after 44 minutes. Andriy Shevchenko pulled a crucial goal back from the spot five minutes into first half added time to regain momentum for his side. The Ukrainian added another to equalise soon after the break before his assist to Alex put the Blues in front for the first time.

The home side thought they had won it through Michael Ballack’s 88th-minute free kick, but a handball from Ashley Cole allowed Barry to rescue a point.

Tottenham 5-2 Southampton – 2017

It was a white Christmas for Tottenham fans in 2017, as a Harry Kane hat-trick helped his side to a 5-2 rout of Southampton at Wembley Stadium.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side made it a miserable afternoon for his former employers, as Kane’s 22nd-minute header signalled the beginning of what would be a long day for the visitors. He then converted a lovely team move from close range to double their advantage before the break.

Two quick-fire goals after half-time from Dele Alli and Heung-Min Son put the game out of sight before the 60th minute. The Saints showed some life as Sofiane Boufal struck past Hugo Lloris, but Kane responded by completing his treble almost instantly with an excellently chipped finish. Dusan Tadic added another late consolation, but it took nothing away from what was a fantastic day for Spurs and their fans.

Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United - 2012

Manchester United and Newcastle produced seven goals in what was the final Boxing Day fixture of Sir Alex Ferguson’s career. His side edged to victory, though they had to come from behind not once, not twice but three times to secure maximum points.

Table toppers Man United were looking to extend their four-point lead over rivals Man City, so it came as a shock to see their 14th-placed opponents take the lead after just four minutes. Jonny Evans restored order by scoring the equaliser 20 minutes later, but he turned from hero to zero as he then put the ball in his own net shortly after to give back Newcastle’s lead.

Patrice Evra got United back on level terms once again at 2-2, but the visitors were not rattled, relinquishing their lead for only ten minutes as Papiss Cisse bagged past David de Gea. Robin van Persie then made it 3-3. Finally, the hosts took their first lead in the 90th minute, striker Javier Hernandez breaking Newcastle's hearts to steal all three points.