Premier League

10 of the Premier League's craziest high-scoring games

 • by Callum Rice-Coates
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High-scoring football games are rare. But when they come around, they fill everyone watching with a feeling of unbridled joy.

Take, for example, Aston Villa’s 5-5 draw against Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night. It was a game without logic, frantic and breathless. It seemed like the goals might never stop going in.

With that match fresh on the mind, we decided to look back at some of the most memorable – and ludicrously high-scoring – games in English football’s recent history.

Portsmouth 7-4 Reading (29 September, 2007)

Never before, and never since, has there been a Premier League game with 11 goals scored. There had been eight-goal thrillers, nine-goal thrillers, and even the occasional ten, but this was something altogether different.

What made it more remarkable was that, at half-time, it was only 2-1 to Portsmouth. In the second half there was an explosion of goals. Benjani scored a hat-trick and the hosts, eventually, ran away with it.

“It was as if Rugby World Cup fever had swept across the Channel and washed up on the shores of the south coast,” wrote David Ornstein in his match report for the Guardian. “In the oval-ball game this would have gone down as a 35-20 thriller.”

Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal (28 August, 2011)

It was the nadir of Arsene Wenger’s long Arsenal career. A team depleted by injuries and suspensions headed to Old Trafford and suffered humiliation.

The Gunners were 3-1 down by half time but things got much worse after the break. By the end they had conceded eight and Wayne Rooney had netted three. It was an embarrassing capitulation that only served to underline the gulf between the two teams.

You got the sense Sir Alex Ferguson almost felt pity for Arsenal as they trudged off at the final whistle.

West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United (19 May, 2013)

How else could Ferguson have gone out? His final game in charge of Manchester United was typically thrilling, and a fitting conclusion to his managerial career.

United twice raced into three-goal leads: they were 3-0 up by the half-hour mark and later led 5-2. But West Brom, inspired by Romelu Lukaku, fought back to level late on.

United had already secured the title, but there was still a hint of frustration. Even on a day of celebration, Ferguson’s competitive streak remained.

Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal (13 November, 2004)

Fresh off the back of their Invincibles season, Arsenal were aiming to retain the Premier League title. But their defence did not prove as resilient as the previous year.

That meant for some highly entertaining games. The most memorable was the North London derby at White Hart Lane, a clash which ebbed and flowed until Arsenal eventually edged to victory.

The Gunners led Spurs throughout the second half after Thierry Henry had levelled on the stroke of half time. Tottenham repeatedly pegged them back, but Robert Pires late goal was enough to secure the three points.

Norwich 4-5 Liverpool (23 January 2016)

Back when Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool still conceded goals, in the early days of the German’s tenure, they were involved in one of the Premier League’s most memorable games.

Defending appeared an alien concept for both teams, and it appeared Liverpool would leave Carrow Road with a 4-3 win having at one point trailed 3-1. But in injury time, Norwich defender Sébastien Bassong headed home to send the home fans in raptures. That was dramatic enough.

Moments later, Adam Lallana’s volley rolled agonisingly into the far corner. It was effectively the last kick of the game. Liverpool’s players ran to the sideline and celebrated wildly with Klopp, who lost his glasses in the mayhem.

Swansea 5-4 Crystal Palace (26 November, 2016)

This was about as chaotic as Premier League games get. There were seven second-half goals scored at the Liberty Stadium when Swansea and Crystal Palace met. Four of them came across 11 minutes.

Palace, having trailed 3-1, turned things around to lead 4-3 heading into injury time. But two late Fernando Llorente goals won the game Swansea and left Alan Pardew and his players dejected.

“The last 20 minutes was as crazy as I have ever seen,” said Palace’s boss.

Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal (5 February, 2011)

Perhaps the comeback to better all Premier League comebacks. Newcastle were 4-0 down at half time – within 26 minutes in fact – and looked almost certain to be on the end of a thrashing.

But two Joey Barton penalties and a Leon Best goal put them back in contention with just under ten minutes remaining. Then came Cheik Tiote’s thunderous strike from 20 yards out to level the scores.

Cue wild celebrations in the stands at St James’ Park.

West Ham 5-4 Bradford (12 February, 2000)

Bradford had raced into a 4-2 second-half lead at the Boleyn Ground and looked on the verge of a crucial win.

Goals from Dean Windass, Peter Beagrie and Jamie Lawrence had put them in control. But they could not hold out. West Ham fought back and a young Frank Lampard scored the winner with seven minutes remaining.

“That game is what it’s all about for supporters,” said the Hammers manager Harry Redknapp. “They come to be entertained and they certainly got their money’s worth today. It was magnificent.”

Tottenham 6-4 Reading (29 December, 2007)

Bizarrely, having entered the record books with their 7-4 defeat at Portsmouth, Reading nearly matched the feat with another high-scoring defeat just three months later.

Their porous defence was breached only six times on this occasion, four of which came from the prolific Dimitar Berbatov. At one point, after Dave Kitson’s goal in the 74th minute, Reading had led Spurs 4-3.

But they couldn’t hold out and finished, again, on the wrong side of a thriller.

Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal (21 April, 2009)

Liverpool and Arsenal are used to scoring goals against each other. Only recently the two have been involved in a 3-3 and a 4-3.

In 2009, though, they played out one of their most memorable encounters. Andre Arshavin, at his most prolific, scored four, including what looked like the winner in the 90th minute.

But he did not account for Yossi Benayoun, who popped up with seconds remaining to convert after the ball dropped kindly in the box.