Southampton stuck eight goals passed Sunderland a month ago. The Saints exceeded all expectations with this score line, shocking every Premier League fan in the process. Robert Grace rates the top five most shocking score lines since the beginning of the Premier League era.
However, to simply list the five highest scoring games during this period would be tediously boring. For this countdown, the games chosen will be based not only on the number of goals scored, but on the quality of the team on the end of the defeat and whether there was any symbolic significance in the result itself.
5. 1996-1997 Season: October 1996, Newcastle United 5-0 Manchester United.
Not the biggest hiding ever dished out in the Premier League era, however, the significance of this defeat to what came before it propels Newcastle’s five nil hammering of Manchester United to the top tier of shocking score-lines.
Kevin Keegan and Newcastle had spent the six months before this match licking their wounds after surrendering a twelve point lead and the Premier League title to the Red Devils the previous season. United had also trounced Newcastle 4-0 in the Charity Shield at the beginning of the season to compound their misery.
This match in front of their home fans provided an opportunity for vindication and Newcastle did not disappoint. The Geordies tore United apart that day. The attacking quartet of Shearer, Beardsley, Ginola, and Les Ferdinand put on a master class that United had no answer to.
Darren Peacock opened the scoring with a scruffy header that bobbled over the line despite the best efforts of Denis Irwin.
Ginola doubled the lead with an absolute scorcher into the top right corner of Peter Schmeichel’s net. The French magician received the ball with his back to goal, pushed it to his left and swung his right boot at it on the turn to release a vicious shot the Great Dane could do little about.
Ferdinand headed home Newcastle’s third after Shearer had delivered an inch perfect cross from the right wing.
Shearer tormented United’s defence that day. He got the fourth with a close range effort, finishing a move he himself had started.
The rout was completed by a majestic chip from none other than Philipe Albert. Schmeichel could only watch as the ball sailed over his head almost in slow motion.
United went on to win the league by 13 points from Newcastle that year, and so the win was of little importance in terms of the title race. However, the quality of the opposition and the shock value in the result propels this thrashing to number five in the countdown.
4. 2009-2010 Season: November 2009, Tottenham Hotspur 9-1 Wigan Athletic
The 2009-2010 Season saw Tottenham Hotspur under the guidance of Harry Redknapp notch their highest league finish since the Premiership era began. Spurs finished fourth that year beating Manchester City, Liverpool and Aston Villa to a Champion’s League position
This was Spurs’ biggest victory in 32 years. Peter Crouch opened the scoring for Tottenham after just nine minutes with a close range headed effort. However, the score line remarkably stood at just 1-0 come half time due to some good goal keeping from Chris Kirkland.
A complete collapse by Wigan in the second half was largely responsible for what came next. Defoe scored in the 52nd and 54th minutes with similar low strikes into the bottom corner of Kirkland’s net to make it 3-0.
Defoe’s scoring was rudely interrupted by a consolation goal for Wigan by Paul Scharner, but normal service was resumed when the Tottenham striker scored his teams fourth and completed a seven minted hat trick on 59 minutes.
Lennon was next to get in on the act having already assisted three goals in the game. He released a low drive into the bottom corner of the Wigan net that the keeper could do nothing about.
Defoe added two more goals before the end of the game to become only the third player to score five in one match during the Premiership era.
David Bentley and Nico Kranjkar completed the scoring to make it 9-1.
Spurs nine strikes, eight of which came in the second half, are enough to put this game at number 4 in this list.
3. 2012-2013 Season: December 2012, Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa
Despite it only being December, this game was already a must win for Chelsea. Coming into the month, Rafa Benitez’s men found themselves already seven points behind leaders Manchester United. They simply needed the three points to still be considered involved in the title race.
Eden Hazard and Juan Mata provided much of the penetration that day for Chelsea. Their pace and quality of movement proved too much for Villa to deal with.
After just two minutes of football Fernando Torres rose above Kieran Clarke and delivered a bullet of a header from the edge of the area into the top corner of Brad Guzan’s net.
David Luiz added a second, curling a brilliantly hit free kick over the Villa wall and into the top left hand corner after 29 minutes.
Branislav Ivanovic headed in a third from close range in the thirty fourth minute to kill the game before half time. Lampard, Oscar, Hazard and two from Ramires rounded off the scoring for Chelsea in the second half.
The crazy thing about this game is that it could have been ten or twelve had Guzan not pulled off a number of instinctive saves, including one from a penalty to break the heart of Chelsea debutant, Lucas Piazon.
Man United beat Chelsea to the Premier League title that season. However, 8-0 with seven different goal scorers against a decent team like Villa is an incredibly impressive feat, and as a result this game comes in at number three in this table.
2. 2011-2012 Season: August 2011, Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal.
Manchester United shocked the Premier League and Arsene Wenger when they stuffed the gunners 8-2 back in August 2011. This was Arsenal’s worst defeat since 1896.
Wenger’s side was depleted by injuries and suspensions for this game. However, nobody expected to witness what they did that day.
Danny Welbeck capitalised on some poor Arsenal defending to lift a header over Wojciech Szczesny and open the scoring in the 22nd minute.
When Robin Van Persie failed to convert a penalty to level things up it was becoming clear that this was not going to be Arsenal’s day. David de Gea put some uncertain form behind him to save from Van Persie and in many ways kick-start his United career.
Ashley Young doubled United’s lead in the 28th minute with an incredible strike from outside the area, while Rooney curled in a wonder free kick from twenty yards three minutes before the interval. Theo Walcott got one back for the Gunners just before the break.
Rooney grabbed his second and United’s fourth in the 64th minute. Three minutes later Luis Nani’s majestic dinked shot from close range beat Szczesny all ends up for five.
Van Persie grabbed a goal in the 74th minute, but things went from bad to worse for Arsenal when Karl Jenkinson was sent off three minutes later.
Ji Sung Park grabbed United’s sixth and Rooney completed the sixth hat trick of his United career with a penalty eight minutes before the full time whistle. Young rounded off the scoring with a thunderous effort in injury time.
The pick of the goals that day was either of Young’s strikes. In both instances the often maligned United winger came inside off the left flank to whip devastating right footed strikes into the top corner of Szczesny’s goal.
Manchester City beat United to the title that year, their first since 1968.
However, this match comes in at number two on the table due to the quality of the opposition involved and the sheer shock value it provided all that witnessed it.
1. 2009-2010 Season: May 2010, Chelsea 8-0 Wigan Athletic
The race for the Premier League title went down to the final day of the 2009-2010 Season. With one game remaining, Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea stood in first place in the table one point ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United.
United hosted Stoke City in their must win game and put four goals past the Potters that day. However, their efforts were in vein as Chelsea humiliated Wigan by eight goals to nil.
The pace and accuracy of Chelsea’s passing proved far too much for Wigan that day. All eight goals scored were from inside the Wigan penalty area and were the culmination of excellent team play.
Didier Drogba chipped in with a hat trick, Anelka and Ashley Cole with a brace a piece, and Lampard and Kalou got one each.
Cole and Anelka provided the pick of the goals on the day with two well taken first time volleys. Chelsea won the league that year scoring a record 103 goals in the process.
Chelsea’s victory ranks at number one in this countdown due to what was riding on the game. They were
forced to put pressure to one side in order to clinch the Premier League title, and did so rather emphatically.
In recognising these five Premier League hidings, it would be neglectful not to mention some of those that did not make the cut.
Manchester United’s 9-0 thrashing of Ipswich Town, Middlesbrough’s 8-1 victory over Manchester City, and United’s 1-8 humbling of Nottingham Forest on their home ground immediately spring to mind.
However, Ipswich and Forest were two teams destined for relegation in their respective seasons, and so the results while impressive did not have the same shock value or significance as some of the other contenders on this list.
Middlesbrough’s thrashing of Manchester City back in May 2008 has been excluded for different reasons. These were the days before the Sheikh’s millions transformed City into the impressive unit that they now are. As a result, the defeat lacks the significance that it would if it happened today, and fails to make this countdown of Premier League shockers.
Do you disagree with this selection? Have your say by e-mailing us at email@example.com.
By Robert Grace
Photos by Premier League Live