Premier League: Game of the Season
Another Premier League season is just a few weeks away from what promises to be an incredibly dramatic finale. Most game weeks have produced exhilarating games, especially as we've had cut-throat battles for the title, Champions League, and Europa League, and to avoid relegation.
But which ten games have stood out above the rest and provided the absolute peak of everything we know and love the Premier League for? Finding just ten is incredibly difficult. In fact, the initial shortlist contained 35. The ten which have been chosen reflect drama, incredible records, fantastic football and games of huge significance.
It's worth noting before the start that Arsenal's 4 - 2 win at Villa Park was initially number 10, but one of the games from this weekend was too good to leave off the list, pushing the Gunners' win out of the top ten.
Number 10: Newcastle United 6 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur (23/04/23)
Even Alexander Isak didn't know what was going on in this one. The Swede netted his second goal of the game against Spurs just 21 minutes in for Newcastle, which was impressive. The fact that it was to make it 5 - 0 was ridiculous.
Whilst Spurs did collapse, Newcastle were sensational. They underlined their bid to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years by outclassing top-four rivals Tottenham.
Jacob Murphy matched his tally for the entire season by scoring twice in the opening nine minutes, which shockingly was either side of a Joelinton goal. It was the fastest Newcastle have ever gone 3 - 0 up, and the quickest Spurs have been three down in a game.
Isak added a brilliant double by the 21st minute, with Tottenham's defenders absent altogether from the backline when needed. The visitors did pull one back with a lovely Harry Kane solo goal in the second half, only for substitute Callum Wilson to restore Newcastle's five-goal lead.
The hosts' display deserves to be ranked higher on the list in truth, but it's only because the contest was over entirely after nine minutes that this one isn't in the top five (sorry Newcastle fans!)
Number 9: Nottingham Forest 4 - 3 Southampton (08/05/23)
Whilst it's an unpopular opinion, there's an argument that securing safety is more important than winning the Premier League title. It's something Nottingham Forest may well have done on the Coronation weekend, with a thrilling 4 - 3 win at home to fellow strugglers Southampton.
The visitors started the better, forcing an early save from Keylor Navas. But it was, against the run of play, Nottingham Forest who got the opener, with Brennan Johnson picking out Taiwo Awoniyi with a brilliant cross. The shot was straight at Alex McCarthy but he fumbled it into the net to break the deadlock.
Less than three minutes later, Forest grabbed a second, Awoniyi this time firing home a spectacular volley over his shoulder after a scramble. The two-goal lead lasted only four minutes though, as Stuart Armstrong picked out a stunning ball for Carlos Alcaraz across the box to cut the lead to one.
The Saints almost made it to half-time just a goal down, but Ainsley Maitland-Niles clipped Brennan Johnson in the box for a penalty, which Gibbs-White converted a minute before the break to make it 3 - 1.
Six minutes after the break, Southampton cut the deficit back to one through Lyanco's header, but just over 20 minutes later were two down once again as Morgan Gibbs-White teed up Danilo with an ingenious flick, before the Brazilian midfielder thrashed the ball into the roof of the net.
A late foul from Sam Surridge whilst defending a set piece gave Southampton a late chance from the spot, which was scored by James Ward-Prowse. Although the game ran into the 101st minute, the Saints couldn't find a late equaliser, Forest holding on for three enormous points in the race for Premier League survival.
Both teams left absolutely everything out there in a game of pure passion, one which may well be enough to keep Forest up whilst putting Southampton on the brink of an unwanted return to the Championship.
Number 8: Liverpool 7 - 0 Manchester United (05/03/23)
It's one thing for Newcastle, in superb form, to thrash Spurs who weren't in form at all. But for 3rd placed Manchester United to go to a Liverpool side who have barely been able to win consecutive games this season and get hammered 7 - 0 might just have been the biggest shock in Premier League history.
As was expected before the game, United dominated the first half. But they failed to find a breakthrough and were caught out on the break, with Cody Gakpo firing in a deadly finish for Liverpool two minutes before the break. For an unknown reason, this caused Manchester United to utterly collapse.
Within the first five minutes of the second half, Nunez and Gakpo had both scored, making the points safe at 3 - 0. But unlike most games which get to this point, Liverpool kept going. It was gift after gift from a woeful Manchester United defence, and the home side simply kept walking the ball into the net like a training game.
It's the biggest win Liverpool have ever had over Manchester United and the largest defeat suffered by United in the Premier League era. It was a reckoning at Anfield, an embarrassment on a scale not experienced by Ten Hag in his entire managerial career.
Number 7: Brighton & Hove Albion 3 - 3 Brentford (01/04/23)
Often the best games of the season are regarded as those at either end of the table which decide the title or the team who will pull off a great escape. But one of the best games of this season was a six-goal thriller between two games hoping to play in Europe for the first time.
It was very much a case of "anything you can do I can do better," as Brentford twice took the lead in the opening half an hour through Pontus Jansson and Ivan Toney, but Brighton hit back both times to level it through Mitoma and Welbeck.
Shortly after the break, centre-half Ethan Pinnock was the surprise scorer of Brentford's third, but this time Thomas Frank's side looked as though they could hold on despite an onslaught of Brighton attacks in the second half.
With only moments left to hang on, Aaron Hickey conceded a penalty for a handball, allowing world champion Alexis Mac Allister to level in the 90th minute. The result meant that the sides remained level on points, neck and neck in the race for European football after a thrilling draw.
Number 6: Manchester United 2 - 1 Manchester City (14/01/23)
Not every thriller is a goal fest. Up until the hour mark, a tense, passionate, even Manchester derby on a cold January afternoon was goalless. Both David de Gea and Ederson were really earning their money with great saves at either end.
It meant so much to either side, with Manchester United harbouring thin hopes of pushing into the title race and City hoping to close in on Arsenal. It was the noisy neighbours who struck first, with a stunning Kevin de Bruyne cross being nodded home by Jack Grealish.
The response from United was ferocious, and although they never really mustered a title bid, they certainly played like champions for the last 25 minutes at Old Trafford. The equaliser though was controversial, with an offside check failing to pick up on a second Manchester United player involved in the build-up to a Bruno Fernandes goal.
Four minutes later Marcus Rashford scored a brilliant individual goal about which there was no doubt, to secure victory for United in a pulsating Manchester derby. The incredible pace and energy of this game made it one of the best between the rivals in the Premier League era.
Number 5: Tottenham Hotspur 4 - 3 Leeds United (12/11/22)
This game was ridiculous. Some Premier League classics are made because the game is full of quality. This one went the other way...
Both sides came into the game off the back of Carabao Cup exits looking to bounce back to winning ways in the Premier League, and for a time, or three times, it looked as though Leeds would manage it.
The visitors were in front three times, including a 2 - 1 half-time lead at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, but just couldn't hold on. Harry Kane, Ben Davies and Rodrigo Bentancur all equalised for Spurs to cancel out a Crysencio Summerville strike and two goals from Rodrigo.
With seven minutes to go, Bentancur struck once again for his first Premier League double, giving Spurs the win in what was the first goal fest of the season.
The fighting spirit of both sides was absolutely outstanding, with Tottenham refusing to give up despite falling behind three times, and Leeds pushing on to take the lead after each equaliser. The potential for a shock was there, but Spurs managed to grind out a result in a seven-goal thriller.
Number 4: Leeds United 4 - 3 Bournemouth (05/11/22)
Leeds United are exactly the kind of team that could lose 4 - 3 one week and win 4 - 3 the next week. And in November, they did!
A week before their seven-goal thriller with Spurs, Leeds were on the right end of the same scoreline, with a heroic comeback victory against relegation rivals Bournemouth.
After just seven minutes the tone was set for this one, with Rodrigo scoring a penalty in the third minute only for Marcus Tavernier to level four minutes later. The Cherries maintained their momentum, with Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke netting either side of half-time to put the visitors in control.
Leeds weren't lying down though. Teenager Sam Greenwood scored on the hour to put the sting back into the game, eight minutes before Liam Cooper drew the hosts level with a header into the bottom corner.
It was a frantic 20 minutes until the end of the game, with Jack Stacey and Brenden Aaronson both coming close. It was with six minutes to go that Leeds completed the comeback, the winner coming from Crysencio Summerville as he fired past Travers to secure a famous comeback win at Elland Road.
It wasn't quite so clear at the time how big of a result this could be for Leeds at the bottom of the table, but this sort of comeback win may well be decisive at the end of the season.
Number 3: Arsenal 3 - 2 Manchester United (22/01/23)
Manchester United came to the Emirates looking to prove they could have a say in the Premier League title race. Arsenal were top and flying, and both teams delivered stunning performances in one of the best games between the rivals in years.
After a ferocious start, it was in-form Marcus Rashford who struck the first blow, firing a superb strike into the bottom corner from 25 yards. The lead didn't last long though, with Eddie Nketiah flying through the air to smash home a powerful header seven minutes later.
It was a quick start after the break for both sides, but it was Bukayo Saka who delivered one of the goals of the season, whipping in an outrageous curling effort from 25 yards through a crowd of United defenders.
Arsenal's lead lasted only six minutes though, as Lissandro Martinez beat Gabriel and Aaron Ramsdale with a looping header to score his first Premier League goal. United largely sat in and tried to hit the hosts on the break after this, and were so close to coming away from the Emirates with a hard-earned point.
But the Gunners had other ideas, and in the 90th minute, number 14 Eddie Nketiah scored an ingenious flick for his second of the game to give Arsenal a dramatic late winner reminiscent of former number 14 Thierry Henry's last-gasp header against Manchester United almost exactly 16 years before.
It was Arsenal who came away with all three points, but it was an absolutely sensational game in North London, with two of the best sides in Europe trading blow for blow throughout the entire 90 minutes.
Number 2: Liverpool 4 - 3 Tottenham Hotspur (30/04/23)
Despite not having the best of seasons, Liverpool have still had some fantastic results at Anfield. So when struggling Spurs made the trip down to Merseyside, the writing seemed to be on the wall.
It quickly looked bleak for Spurs, as Liverpool took the lead through Curtis Jones in just three minutes after a stunning cross-field ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold. Two minutes later, Liverpool cut through Tottenham again and Luis Diaz fired home his first goal since returning from injury to make it 2 - 0.
Only ten minutes later, Christian Romero brought Diaz down in the box and Mohamed Salah made it three from the penalty spot. A week after being 5 - 0 down in 21 minutes to Newcastle, Tottenham were 3 - 0 down in 15 minutes at Anfield. This time, however, they tried to do something about it.
Having weathered the storm, Ryan Mason's side got on the front foot at the end of the first half, pulling a goal back through Harry Kane's smart finish. This caused Liverpool to play more cautiously in the second half, and with 13 minutes to go, Son broke through and riffled the ball past Alisson to make it a nervous ending at Anfield for the Reds.
In the third minute of stoppage time, it looked as though Tottenham had done the impossible, as Richarlison finally got his first Premier League goal of the season, heading home from a free-kick right in front of the away fans.
But less than one minute after the restart, Lucas Moura played an awful back pass into the path of Diogo Jota, allowing the Portuguese winger to fire the winner past Fraser Forster. It was a whole different kind of low for Spurs, fighting all the back from 3 - 0 down just to lose it all a minute after completing the comeback. But from a neutral point of view, it was entirely unpredictable chaos that made for one of the best games at Anfield in recent memory.
Number 1: Newcastle United 3 - 3 Manchester City (21/08/22)
Newcastle and Manchester City have both been fighting hard for a Champions League spot and the title respectively this season, and often the key to being successful in such a battle is having your sights set on it from game one. This thrilling, end-to-end, nailbiting game was the first sign of just how special this Premier League season was going to be.
Last season, Newcastle ranked third of all Premier League teams for points since Eddie Howe's appointment. So when they went 1 - 0 down just five minutes into this one, they were disappointed to say the least. But the quality of the response to Ilkay Gundogan's goal was absolutely sensational.
Allan Saint-Maximin's cross evaded Joe Willock for Almiron to bundle home the equaliser, which was given after a VAR check, and this got the crowd going to an extent St. James' Park hasn't seen for years. City came back at the hosts but Howe's team held strong and, with a devastating counterattack, Callum Wilson broke past Ruben Dias and fired into the top corner.
It was already fantastic at halftime for the hosts, but just nine minutes into the second half, Kieran Trippier came up with a world-class free kick to double Newcastle's lead over the champions, sparking wild celebrations.
Whilst the hosts had been brilliant, City turned it on with two goals to find. Ruben Dias met a corner with a great header, which was turned in at the back post by Erling Haaland to cut the deficit. Just three minutes later, Kevin de Bruyne played a ludicrous through ball into the path of Bernardo Silva, who placed the equaliser into the corner.
The goals may have been done for the afternoon, but there was even more brilliant football to come, as both sides went hammer and tongs for a winner in the final 25 minutes. It was only fair though that both sides came away with something from what we're calling the Premier League game of the season.