Aguero, Blackburn's sweet defeat and Oldham's great escape - the best Premier League final days

By Dom Farrell 17 May 2020 37
Aguero, Blackburn's sweet defeat and Oldham's great escape - the best Premier League final days

In all probability, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool would have been emerging through a Newcastle United guard of honour on Sunday.

The conclusion of a stunning Premier League campaign was scheduled to see the Reds run out at St James' Park in the final round of fixtures.

However, the continued pause brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic means Liverpool's coronation remains on ice.

In the meantime, remember some incredible instances of dramatic final days from previous top-flight seasons.

 

2012 – AGUEROOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

"I swear you'll never see anything like this ever again – so watch it, drink it in!" hollered hoarse Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler. It was hard to argue. As their game against relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers ticked into stoppage time, Manchester City were 2-1 down and throwing it all away. Edin Dzeko nodded in David Silva's corner to equalise but Roberto Mancini's men still needed to match Manchester United's result to claim a first title for 44 years on goal difference.

United's game at Sunderland had finished, with the Reds poised to celebrate on the field at the moment Mario Balotelli lost his footing but found a return pass for Sergio Aguero to blast beyond Paddy Kenny. Cue complete and utter bedlam.

2007 – TEVEZ HAULS HAMMERS TO SAFETY

Carlos Tevez's most notable contribution to that unforgettable final day drama in Manchester was a somewhat theatrical tumble to get Joey Barton sent off. He'd been substituted before the late goals, but over at Old Trafford five years earlier the Argentinian forward was undoubtedly the main attraction.

A long wait for Tevez's first goal in West Ham colours ended with a spectacular free-kick against Tottenham in March. However, defeat in that London derby left them 10 points adrift of safety. An astonishing turnaround followed, with Tevez to the fore as Alan Curbishley's men won seven of their final nine matches, culminating in their star man coolly clipping a dropping high ball past Edwin van der Sar on the half-volley for a 1-0 win over Manchester United. The champions would sign Tevez that close season.

2000- BANTAMS CONDEMN DONS TO THE DROP

Bradford City and Wimbledon were level on points heading into the final day of 1999-2000, with the Dons boasting a superior goal difference and having the theoretically easier assignment against Southampton.

But Paul Jewell's Bantams ripped up the script and defeated Liverpool 1-0, with experienced centre-back David Wetherall planting in a 12th-minute header to send Valley Parade into raptures. Nerves were shredded thereafter, but Bradford held on.

1995 – PREMIER LEAGUE TITLE LIFTED AT ANFIELD

Blackburn Rovers were wobbling heading into the finale of the 1994-95 campaign, having won only two of their past five to leave reigning champions Manchester United – five wins from seven games unbeaten – breathing down their necks. Alan Shearer rifled the visitors into a 20th-minute lead at Anfield, which was gripped by a surreal atmosphere throughout as their favourite son Kenny Dalglish sought to deny bitter rivals United the title.

Things looked good for Rovers at the interval as United, two points behind them, trailed 1-0 at West Ham to a Michael Hughes goal. But John Barnes levelled after the hour and Jamie Redknapp drew gasps from the home faithful with a 90th-minute winner. Luckily for Blackburn, United had run into a masterclass from Hammers goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko either side of Brian McClair's equaliser and they were champions by a point.

1993 – LATICS SNATCH SURVIVAL IN THRILLER

Arguably the most implausible escape from Premier League relegation came in the first season after England's top flight rebranded. Joe Royle's Oldham Athletic were eight points from safety heading into the final week and needed to win each of their remaining three matches while hoping results elsewhere went for them. A 1-0 win at Aston Villa had the added impact of confirming Manchester United as champions, before Liverpool were defeated 3-2 in midweek at Boundary Park.

Oldham's resurgence meant Crystal Palace were hauled into unlikely trouble. The Eagles were unable to rouse themselves, losing 3-0 at Arsenal as Latics served up a high-octane classic at home to Southampton. They overcame the inconvenience of a Matt Le Tissier hat-trick to triumph 4-3, with right-back Gunner Halle scoring one and making two more in an inspired showing. Their goal difference of minus 11 set against minus 13 kept Oldham up at Palace's expense.

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Dom Farrell

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