Christmas is a great time of the year to follow the Premier League! It is the period when fans are frantically waiting for their favourite teams, surprising their friends with tickets, and staying updated with the fixtures. It’s time to review the UK Top 5 Boxing Day Matches.
1- Fulham 10-1 Ipswich Town (1963)
The match between Fulham and Ipswich Town remains one of the most famous and iconic matches ever played on boxing day. This was one of Fulham’s biggest victories and one of the worst-ever defeats in Ipswich’s history (alongside their loss against Manchester United, 0-9, in 1995).
What makes this game remarkable for Fulham was that they had defeated a team crowned top-flight champions only two seasons earlier!
Graham Leggat scored the fastest hat trick in English top-division football that game, a record that stood for nearly half a century till Sadio Mane broke it in 2015. Fulham did surprisingly lose to Ipswich only four days later when they played them away in the return fixture. 1963’s boxing day saw a total of 66 goals scored that day and had some crazy scorelines, with Fulham’s game arguably being the craziest of them all!
2- Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool - 1978
Liverpool and Manchester United are the two biggest teams in English football, naturally making them big rivals on the pitch. Liverpool went to Old Trafford for 1978’s boxing day game in hopes of spoiling Christmas for Manchester United, and that is precisely what they did!
Liverpool were five games without a goal away at Manchester, and getting a win out of this fixture was going to be a real challenge. Despite the odds, Bob Paisley’s Liverpool managed to comfortably defeat the team that had denied them the treble in the 1976-1977 season. Liverpool put up quite a show as they scored three past the 1977 FA Cup winners and even received applause from the opposition as they scored their third.
3- Arsenal 6-1 Leicester City - 2000
The first Boxing Day of the 21st century was one to remember for the Gunners not just because of the emphatic scoreline but also because arguably their greatest player ever scored his first hat trick in that game. Thiery Henry scored his first Arsenal hat trick in his 50th appearance here, with club legends Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams and Freddie Ljungberg scoring a goal each.
The game took place at Arsenal’s former stadium Highbury and Arsenal went into the game as one of the biggest threats in the title race that season, and a win at Leicester would put them in a strong position. They eventually missed out on the league title, as Manchester United were the eventual winners that season.
4- Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa - 2007
The Blues and The Villians saw themselves involved in an eight-goal thriller on the Boxing Day of 2007, which ended in a draw after a remarkable game of football.
Chelsea saw themselves trailing by two goals when Shaun Maloney put two past Petr Cech, but Andriy Shevchenko came to their rescue as he pulled one back from the penalty spot as Villa’s Zat Knight was sent off. Shevchenko then scored an absolute peach of a goal for his second and then turned provider for the third as he assisted Alex for Chelsea’s third goal. Martin Laurse equalised for Aston Villa shortly after Alex’s goal, and 8 minutes later, Chelsea’s Ricardo Carvalho also saw red for a challenge on the halfway line.
Despite losing their red card advantage, Chelsea managed to lead the game with a beautiful freekick from Micheal Ballack in the 88th minute, but the drama wasn’t over just yet. Ashley Cole conceded a penalty for Chelsea in the stoppage time and was also sent off in the process. Gareth Barry comfortably converted the penalty in the dying minutes, and this would be the final twist to the game as it ended 4-4 with three red cards!
5- Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United - 2012
The latest memorable game in this list is Sir Alex’s last ever Boxing Day game, and it was a crucial one in a season that saw him lift his final Premier League trophy for Manchester United. The game started with the Magpies taking an early lead in the third minute, only for Jonny Evans to equalise for Manchester United.
Evans, unfortunately, scored an own goal two minutes after equalising for his team, but Patrice Evra managed to level the score in the 58th minute of the second half. Papiss Cisse restored Newcastle’s lead 10 minutes later, but this would be the last time they took the lead as Manchester United equalised one last time three minutes later. With time ticking away, Hernandez ensured it was a jolly old Christmas for the Red Devils as he scored the winner in the last minute of the game.
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