20. Swansea City 4-4 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Liberty Stadium, 28th April 2012
(Swansea – Orlandi 1, Allen 4, Dyer 15, Graham 31; Wolves – Fletcher 28, Jarvis 33, Edwards 54, Jarvis 69)
With Wolves already condemned to the Championship, and Swansea having secured their top flight status, this match was a dead rubber. However, it turned to be a great game. Swansea raced to a 3-0 lead in 15 minutes, with goals from Orlandi, Joe Allen and Nathan Dyer. Steven Fletcher got one back for Wolves, but Danny Graham restored the 3 goal advantages, the score being 4-1 after just 31 minutes. Matt Jarvis scored, to make it 4-2, at half time and goals in the second half from David Edwards and another one from Matt Jarvis, meant points had to be split.
19. Wigan Athletic 3-3 Blackburn Rovers, DW Stadium, 19th November 2011
(Wigan – Gomez 7, Caldwell 30, Crusat 88; Blackburn – Yakubu 1, Hoillett 59, Yakubu 90+5′)
Aiyegbani Yakubu set the ball rolling, with just 65 seconds on the clock, for Blackburn, but a spirited Wigan side went 2-1 up on the half-hour mark, thanks to goals from Jordi Gomez and Gary Caldwell. Junior Hoilett’s header on the hour mark equalized matters, and it seemed Wigan had won it in the 88th minute, with a goal from Albert Crusat. However, Rovers’ won a late penalty when David Jones fouled Rovers’ goalie Paul Robinson in the box, causing some bleeding, and Yakubu scored off the ensuing penalty.
18. Queen’s Park Rangers 2-3 Sunderland, Loftus Road, 21st December 2011
(QPR – Helguson 63, Mackie 67; Sunderland – Bendtner 19, Sessegnon 59, Brown 89)
In an enthralling end-to-end contest at Loftus Road, Niklas Bendtner opened the scoring for the Black Cats with a header. The second half bought the remaining goals. Stephane Sessegnon added a second, however QPR launched a comeback, with 2 goals in 4 minutes from Heidar Helguson and Jamie Mackie. It was Sunderland, though, who left with 3 points, courtesy a Wes Brown header.
17. West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Arsenal, The Hawthorns, 13th May 2012
(West Brom – Long 11, Dorrans 15; Arsenal – Benayoun 4, Santos 30, Koscielny 54)
A place in next season’s Champions League at stake, Arsenal travelled to West Brom on the final day of the season. They were off to the perfect start, as Yossi Benayoun made most of a hesitant Martin Fulop. 10 minutes later, West Brom were leading owing to some disastrous defending. First Shane Long, in an offside position, took advantage of the space, and then Dorrans scored after some slack defending. Andre Santos scored from outside the box on the half hour mark, again after Fulop fumbled the ball. Fulop had another nightmare, when he made a hash of a clearance, allowing Koscielny to net home the winner in the 54th minute. West Brom applied incessant pressure through the game, but nervy Arsenal held on.
16. Stoke City 2-3 Queen’s Park Rangers, Britannia Stadium, 19th November 2011
(Stoke – Walters 8, Shawcross 64; QPR – Helguson 22, Young 44, Helguson 54)
Heidar Helguson was the hero for QPR, in a thrilling game at the Britannia Stadium. Jon Walters scored from the edge of the box, before Helguson headed in unamrked. Luke Young added a second for the visitors, before half time, and it was soon 1-3, Helguson the scorer. Ryan Shawcross headed in from the goal line. Stoke mounted attack after attack, but QPR held on for 3 points.
15. Newcastle United 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur, St. James Park, 16th October 2011
(Newcastle – Ba 48, Ameobi 86; Tottenham- van der Vaart (pen) 40, Defoe 68)
Newcastle kept their unbeaten start to the season intact in an absorbing encounter with Tottenham. Rafael van der Vaart scored from the spot, after Steven Taylor was judged to have fouled Emmanuel Adebayor. Demba Ba scored from close range, minutes after the restart. Jermaine Defoe then scored a fine goal past Tim Krul. Newcastle’s persistence finally paid off when Shola Ameobi unleashed a rocket.
14. Queen’s Park Rangers 2-3 Manchester City, Loftus Road, 5th November 2011
(QPR – Bothroyd 28, Helguson 69; Manchester City- Dzeko 43, Silva 52, Y. Toure 74)
Newbies QPR matched mega-rich Manchester City toe-to-toe, well, almost. QPR made a fine start, and were in the lead, through a header from Jay Bothroyd. QPR had more chances, with Mackie, Helguson and Bothroyd going close. Edin Dzeko leveled things before half-time, firing past Paddy Kenny, and City almost went ahead, but for the post coming in between an Aguero strike. David Silva’s neat finish in the second half, put the Citizens into the lead. The Hoops, then equalized controversially, after City players accused Helguson of being in a offside position, when the ball went in off his back. City, though, weren’t done yet, and Yaya Toure’s header proved to be the difference between the sides.
13. Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 Aston Villa, Molineux, 21st January 2012
(Wolves – Kightly 21, Edwards 31; Aston Villa- Bent (pen)11, Keane 51, 84)
Robbie Keane, loaned from Los Angeles Galaxy, to Aston Villa, scored two fine goals on his return to the Premier League. Darren Bent won and scored a penalty after just 11 minutes. Michael Kightly equalized with a well placed shot, and soon Wolves were in the lead through a David Edwards header. However, Keane would come to haunt his old club. His first goal was a fine volley, and his second goal was a peach, as he hammered home the winner late on.
12. Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal, White Hart Lane, 2nd October 2011
(Tottenham- van der Vaart 40, Walker 73; Arsenal- Ramsey 51)
Kyle Walker’s long range shot proved to be the difference between Tottenham and Arsenal in a frenetic North London derby. Rafael van der Vaart opened the scoring in the 40th minute, though replays suggested he had handled the ball. Arsenal were rewarded for their industry, after Ramsey stabbed home the equalizer in the 51st minute. A fine game of football followed, with both teams playing end-to-end football. But, it took a long range shot from Kyle Walker to beat Wojciech Szczesny in the 73rd minute, and condemn the Gunners to their 4th loss in 7 games.
11. Arsenal 3-3 Norwich City, Emirates Stadium, 5th May 2012
(Arsenal- Benayoun 2, van Persie 72, 80; Norwich- Hoolahan 12, Holt 27, Morison 85)
Already safe Norwich travelled to Arsenal, who were still looking to seal 3rd spot. Yossi Benayoun scored in just the 2nd minute on his birthday, but Norwich really made a match out of it, with a fine pressing game. Wes Hoolahan deservedly equalized for the Canaries 10 minutes later, and more calamitous defending allowed Grant Holt to put Norwich into the lead. Norwich created a horde of chances, and should have been up by more than a goal at half-time. Arsenal fought back in the second half with more urgency, and finally were rewarded, when Alex Song played in one of his delicious long balls, allowing van Persie to equalize. And 8 minutes later, the Dutchman put the Gunners into the lead, after his shot deflected off Ruddy. Norwich weren’t done yet, and made most of Arsenal’s poor defending, to score the equalizer. Arsenal made a host of chances, in the final few minutes, but were denied by John Ruddy.
10. Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City, Anfield, 27th September 2011
(Liverpool- Lescott (O.G) 33; Manchester City- Kompany 31)
The scoreline may suggest a drab encounter, but there was nothing drab about this match, on an action-packed evening at Anfield. Manchester City and Liverpool both looked to get the better of each other with some neat passing, and Vincent Kompany put the hosts into the lead with a thumping header. Liverpool got their equalizer, soon after, Charlie Adam’s shot deflected in by Joleon Lescott. Liverpool were a completely different side in the second half and launched attack after attack into Manchester City. Adam, Downing, Kuyt and Johnson all saw their shots being saved by the mercurial Joe Hart. David Silva had the chance of the match, when an out of position Pepe Reina was left helpless, but 3 Liverpool defenders on the line cleared the danger. Luis Suarez saw his shot turned away and Hart was the hero for City with a double save off Carroll and Suarez in injury time. City were lucky to get the point, after substitute Mario Balotelli was sent off for two silly yellow cards, after just 18 minutes on the pitch.
9. Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Arsenal, Ewood Park, 17th September 2011
(Blackburn- Yakubu 25, 59, Song (OG) 50, Koscielny (OG) 68; Arsenal- Gervinho 10, Arteta 34, Chamakh 85)
Coming into the game, Blackburn were bottom of the heap, while Arsenal had picked up just 4 points from 4 games, 3 of those coming in the 1-0 win against Swansea. One of the strangest games of the season, Arsenal managed to lose despite being 2-1 ahead at half-time. New boy Gervinho opened the scoring after being sent through by Alex Song. A deft finish from Yakubu levelled scores minutes later. However, advantage was restored as Mikel Arteta scored from inside the box. In the second half, the Gunners fell like a pack of cards. Alex Song scored off a Rueben Rochina free-kick, disastrously, into his own net. Yakubu scored again heading off Martin Olsson’s cross. And 10 minutes later, Arsenal’s zonal marking policy seemed to be suffering, after Koscielny, too, disastrously, put the ball into his own net. The score was 4-2 and Blackburn fans were rubbing their eyes in disbelief and in luck. Marrouane Chamakh scored late on, but 4-3 was the final score on a puzzling afternoon in the rain.
8. Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers, Old Trafford, 31st December 2011
(Manchester United- Berbatov 52, 62; Blackburn- Yakubu (pen) 16, 51, Hanley 81)
Blackburn spoiled Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday celebrations with a 3-2 win at Old Trafford. Rovers, who were bottom, coming into the game, displayed great spirit, and took the lead when Samba was impeded in the box, and Yakubu scored the resultant penalty. And, the Nigerian doubled Rovers’ lead, with a neat finish, owing to some poor defending from United. Dimitar Berbatov headed one back for the hosts a minute later. Scores were level 10 minutes later, as Berbatov scored after some fine work by Antonio Valencia. Another Manchester United comeback seemed on the cards, but young defender Grant Hanley popped up with the winner, 9 minutes from time.
7. Blackburn Rovers 2-3 Liverpool, Ewood Park, 10th April 2012
(Blackburn- Yakubu 36, 61(pen); Liverpool- Maxi 13, 16, Carroll 90+1′)
Maxi Rodriguez was the grateful receiver of two great passes, to race Liverpool to a 2-0 lead after just 16 minutes. The first one came from Bellamy and the second from Carroll. Liverpool, then lost their second choice keeper Alexander Doni after he clumsily bought down Junior Hoilett. Already missing Pepe Reina, in came young Australian keeper Brad Jones, who saved Yakubu’s weak penalty. Yakubu made up for it with a header to reduce the deficit. Brad Jones could have been Liverpool’s 3rd keeper sent off in two weeks, as he pushed Yakubu to the ground. However, he got only a yellow. Yakubu made no mistakes this time, to level the scores. Blackburn were denied a point, when Andy Carroll headed home in injury time.
6. Chelsea 3-3 Manchester United, Stamford Bridge, 5th February 2012
(Chelsea- Evans (O.G) 36, Mata 46, Luiz 50; Manchester United- Rooney (pen) 58, (pen) 69, Hernandez 84)
Manchester United displayed remarkable fighting qualities, as they pegged back a 3-0 lead, to secure a point at Stamford Bridge. Despite dominating most of the first half, United were the ones to concede, when Johnny Evans deflected Daniel Sturridge’s cross. United responded, but Wellbeck and Rooney had their shots saved by Cech. Chelsea were 2-0 up, a minute into the second half, when Juan Mata’s shot off a Torres cross. And, 4 minutes later, Chelsea were 3-0 up, when David Luiz rose highest to head in a Mata free-kick. Howard Webb came to the rescue of the Red Devils’ when he awarded two contentious penalties, both of which were converted by Rooney. And, the visitors used this momentum, to equalize, late on. Javier Hernandez headed from close range from a Giggs cross.
5. Manchester City 3-3 Sunderland, Etihad Stadium, 31st March 2012
(Manchester City- Balotelli (pen) 43,85, Kolarov 86;Sunderland- Larsson 31, Bendtner 45, Larsson 55)
Manchester City’s title challenge looked to be crumbling after this game. After winning all their home games, they came unstuck against a determined Sunderland. Swedish midfielder Sebastien Larsson opened the scoring on 31 minutes, before Mario Balotelli equalized from the spot, 12 minutes later, after Dzeko was fouled by Gardner. Sunderland, however, seemed to be the more intent side, and struck again through Niklas Bendtner deep into first half injury time. A well worked move by Sunderland, 10 minutes into the second half, resulted in a goal, and the Black Cats were 3-1 up. There was a squabble over a free-kick in the 65th minute between Balotelli and Kolarov, and the two had to be seperated by captain Vincent Kompany. Kolarov’s eventual free-kick went over. This, however seemed to galvanize City, and the two culprits, Balotelli and Kolarov, scored late on, to save City’s blushes.
4. Manchester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium, 22nd January 2012
(Manchester City- Nasri 56, Lescott 59, Balotelli 90+3′;Sunderland- Defoe 60, Bale 65)
An exciting game at the Etihad ended Sp*rs slight chances at league title glory. An end to end first half saw Sp*rs dominate midfield, with Argentine striker the best City player on the pitch. However, a flurry of goals in the second half followed. First, Silva played a fine through ball to Nasri, who thumped past Friedel. And, City went 2-0 up 3 minutes later, Lescott capitalizing on a Dzeko flip. However, Sp*rs hit back in style, with Defoe scoring after a mistake by Stefan Savic. Gareth Bale added a 4th goal in 9 minutes, as he placed into goal a perfect shot, beyond Joe Hart. Mario Balotelli came on for Edin Dzeko, and he went into the book quickly for a foul on Assou-Ekoto. And he should have been sent off for a stupid kick on Scott Parker. However, the ref missed the incident. Jermaine Defoe missed a great opportunity to send the visiting side into the lead, but he couldn’t reach Bale’s cross. Late on, in injury time, King fumbled Balotelli over, and the enigmatic Italian scored from the spot which was the last kick of the game.
3. Manchester United 4-4 Everton, Old Trafford, 22nd April 2012
(Manchester United- Rooney 41, Wellbeck 57, Nani 60, Rooney 69; Everton- Jelavic 33, Fellaini 67, Jelavic 83, Piennar 85)
Looking back at an eventful season, Sir Alex Ferguson will probably look at this match that cost them the title. A brilliant game of football with Everton only resulted in a point for each, and allowed City to come back into the title race. Everton, who lost to rivals Liverpool, in the FA Cup sem-final, days earlier, came out of the traps quickly and dominated midfield. They should have been 2-0 ahead, even before Jelavic’s looping header. Manchester United pegged Everton back, and Rooney scored off a Nani centre. 15 minutes into the second half, United were cruising at 3-1, with goals from Wellbeck and Nani. Marouanne Fellaini added to the drama as he volleyed in Hibbert’s cross. Wayne Rooney got another 2 minutes later, to move ahead of George Best and Dennis Viollet in the Manchester United’s all-time goalsscoring charts. Everton, though, were far from done. Jelavic pounced on some hesitant defending, and Pienaar scored from a Fellaini pass, to blow the title race wide open.
2. Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal, Stamford Bridge, 29th October 2011
(Chelsea- Lampard 14, Terry 45, Mata 80 ;Arsenal- van Persie 36, 85, 90+2, Santos-49, Walcott-55)
The first real test of mettle for Arsene Wenger’s side in the 2011-2012 season, and it was passed with flying colors as the Gunners brushed aside the Blues in their own backyard in a cracker-jack of a match. Having endured a poor start to the season, Arsenal were slowly picking up confidence after consecutive home wins over Sunderland and Stoke. Chelsea offered a major challenge. Frank Lampard headed the West London side ahead after 14 minutes, after the Gunners were guilty of spurning chances in the opening minutes. However, Arsenal stuck to the task, and Gervinho played a one-two with van Persie to level scores. Chelsea regained advantage with Terry bundling home, just before half-time. The second half was a completely different animal. Goal-happy left back Andre Santos marauded the left wing and equalized, 4 minutes into the second half. 6 minutes later, Theo Walcott produced a moment of fine individual skill. He cut inside of Ashley Cole and stumbled. Cole stopped thinking he had conceded a free-kick. Walcott picked himself up, beat two defenders and fired Arsenal into the lead. Mertesacker and Koscielny were particularly impressive that afternoon. Chelsea’s new £23 million man, who was under Arsenal’s radar as well, Juan Mata fired a long-range effort, worthy of atleast a point. But, this was Arsenal’s day. van Persie made most of a Terry slip and rounded Cech in the 85th minute. And in injury time, he rifled past Cech again to secure a famous and important win.
1. Manchester City 3-2 Queen’s Park Rangers, Etihad Stadium, 13th May 2012
(Manchester City- Zabaleta 39, Dzeko 90+2′, Aguero 90+5′;QPR- Cisse 48, Mackie 66)
Has there ever been such drama in the Premier League. With the title race and relegation going down to the final day, Manchester City and QPR played out a dramatic match at the Etihad. Going into the game, both City and rivals Manchester United were equal on points, but City edged on goal difference. An early goal for United at Sunderland, meant City had to win. And it seemed the perfect afternoon for the Sky Blues, when Zabaleta popped up with the opener, though Kenny should have done better. Menwhile, QPR, battling relegation got the news that Bolton were 2-1 up at Stoke, a result which would send QPR into the Championship. They responded in the second half, with their first shot on target. A horrendous mistake from Jolean Lescott allowed Cisse to equalize. City continually pounded QPR, but rarely managed to threaten. A moment of madness from Joey Barton followed. He elbowed Tevez, and received a red card. He then kicked Aguero and had altercations with Kompany and Balotelli before he left the field of play. Incredibly, this seemed to galvanize the 10 men of QPR. Even as City looked for the winner, it was QPR who broke away with Armand Traore, whose cross was headed in by Jamie Mackie. The title was set for Old Trafford, despite some incessant City pressure. The game turned when Dzeko headed in the equalizer in the 92nd minute. City had 3 minutes to score the winner. Aguero somehow managed to create some space in a crowded penalty area, in the 5th minute of injury time, and shot past Kenny to send the blue half of Manchester into raptures. City had won the title in the most dramatic fashion.
Honorable mentions –
Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Manchester City, Reebok Stadium, 21 August 2011
Manchester United 3-1 Chelsea, Old Trafford, 18th September 2011
Norwich City 3-3 Blackburn Rovers, Carrow Road, 29th October 2011
Newcastle United 2-3 West Bromwich Albion, St. James Park, 21st December 2011
Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United, Emirates Stadium, 22nd January 2012
Teams involved in the most entertaining games –
Manchester City – 5
Arsenal – 5
Queen’s Park Rangers – 4
Blackburn Rovers – 4
Manchester United – 3
Tottenham Hotspur – 3
Chelsea – 2
Sunderland – 2
Liverpool – 2
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 2
Swansea City – 1
Wigan Athletic – 1
West Bromwich Albion – 1
Stoke City – 1
Newcastle United – 1
Norwich City – 1
Everton – 1
Aston Villa – 1