The Premier League is one of the best football leagues in the world, and it attracts a huge audience as matches are broadcast around the globe. Supporters are drawn to the Premier League because of the drama and excitement that watching some of the best football players in the world compete in high-intensity games offers.
The Premier League has seen some unforgettable moments on the pitch since it was formed in 1992, some memorable for the right reasons and others for sheer shock value. As the Premier League approaches its 25th anniversary, we look back at the greatest moments in its history.
When David Beckham scored from the halfway line for Manchester United against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in 1996, English football saw one of its icons announce his arrival. The future England captain and style icon received a pass from Brian McClair and hit a side-footed drive into the Wimbledon goal from 55 yards. The sight of Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan tangled up in his net after trying desperately to prevent the ball from crossing the line was a sight to behold.
Liverpool 4 – 3 Newcastle United
This match, played in April 1996, is probably the greatest single match in Premier League history. It saw two in-form sides – third and second in the league respectively – with a wealth of attacking talent battling it out until the bitter end.
Robbie Fowler gave Liverpool the lead, Les Ferdinand equalised for Newcastle, then David Ginola put them ahead. Fowler brought Liverpool level, only for Faustino Asprilla to restore the Magpies’ lead. Stan Collymore leveled for Liverpool once more, and scored a second in stoppage time to win the match and spark jubilant scenes amid the home support.
Newcastle United 5 – 0 Manchester United
This was another classic Premier League encounter, with Newcastle United out for revenge after Manchester United had overhauled them to claim the title the previous season, and they certainly got it.
An already exciting Newcastle side was bolstered by the signing of local lad Alan Shearer for a record-breaking £15million, who went on to score more than 200 goals for the club.
Newcastle United seemed incapable of putting a foot wrong in the October 1996 match, with attack after attack finding the back of the net. Defender Darren Peacock and winger David Ginola began the drubbing in the first half, with strikers Les Ferdinand and Shearer chipping in in the second half. Centre-back Phillipe Albert delivered the coup de grace, chipping Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel from 20 yards.
Cantona lashes out
This one may be memorable for all the wrong reasons, but it was a spectacular and unforgettable moment in the Premier League. The date was 25th January 1995 and the occasion a run-of-the-mill clash between Manchester United and Crystal Palace, which saw notoriously fiery French forward Eric Cantona sent off for kicking out at Palace defender Richard Shaw.
As Cantona walked towards the tunnel, Palace supporter Matthew Simmons ran to the front of the stand and hurled abuse at him. Cantona responded by launching a ‘kung-fu’ kick at Simmons. The assault earned Cantona a nine-month ban and 120 hours of community service and saw the then-fledgling Premier League hit the front pages of newspapers across the world.