Football Express News’ Lewis Camp takes you through our pick of the best Premier League matches from the 2014/2015 season.
Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United
Newly promoted Leicester City took on Louis Van Gaal’s struggling Manchester United side at the King Power Stadium and played out one of the most memorable comeback victories in recent history.
The away side had just one win to their name and were still adjusting to the transition of a second manager since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. Leicester had made a promising start to the season with an away victory over Stoke and draws with Arsenal and Everton to their name.
United raced into an early 2-0 lead after Van Persie headed in the opener and summer acquisition Di Maria expertly lobbed the ball into the bottom corner. Leonardo Ulloa’s header cut the deficit but Herrera’s well timed back heel restored the away side’s two goal advantage.
A David Nugent penalty brought the home side back into contention again and they equalized courtesy of Cambiassio’s low drive. Defensive capitulation ensued and Jamie Vardy’s open stride towards goal and subsequent cool finish put Leicester into an unthinkable late lead.
Ulloa’s late penalty rubber stamped what turned out to be one of the most inspired and determined performances from a newly promoted side and helped highlight an array of weaknesses that would hinder Man United for the remainder of the season.
Southampton 8-0 Sunderland
Southampton recorded their biggest ever Premier League victory when they comfortably dispatched a woeful Sunderland side in late October. The Saints had made an impressive start to the campaign under new head coach Ronald Koeman and were starting to lay down a serious challenge for Champions league football. Sunderland were struggling to score goals and another survival battle was becoming inevitable.
Impressive new signing Pelle and Jack Cork both tucked away early close range efforts with a spectacular Vergini own goal putting the home side in an emphatic first half lead. Bridcutt and Van Aanholt brought the own goal count up to three before Dusan Tadic comfortably rounded the keeper and Wanyama completed the scoring to confirm Sunderland’s heaviest defeat for 32 years.
This was the snapshot for Koeman’s impressive new look Southampton side who were widely tipped by many to be battling relegation. A disruptive summer saw many big names leave the South Coast but an inspired transfer outlay saw them build a team with technical guile and immense defensive discipline.
Sunderland produced one of the worst defensive displays in Premier League history and the heavy defeat set the tone for another season of struggle.
Spurs 5-3 Chelsea
Chelsea had led the Premier League table since the start of the season and had only one defeat to their name as they travelled to London compatriots Tottenham. A news years day goal fest and Harry Kane’s assertion as the country’s best young talent saw Mourinho concede the most goals ever as a Premier League manager.
The stunning Spurs victory meant Chelsea were pegged back considerably in the title race with the loss leaving them level with Manchester City. Diego Costa’s early tap in gave the away side the lead but was cancelled out by Kane’s emphatic long range drive.
A Danny Rose rebound strike and Townsend’s comfortable penalty success put Spurs in an incredible 3-1 lead at half time. Another perfectly executed Kane shot crippled Chelsea once more and made the best defensive partnership in the league look distinctively ordinary. Hazard pulled one back but Nacer Chadli’s deflected effort put the game to bed and meant Terry’s late goal was merely a consolation.
The game was systematic of why the Premier League is held with the highest regard in comparison to other major leagues across Europe. No one would have foreseen such a damaging result for the league leaders when you consider Tottenham’s home struggles and the machine like manner in which Chelsea were motoring through games.
Stoke City 6-1 Liverpool
Steven Gerrard’s farewell appearance for Liverpool was the stuff of nightmares as Stoke City demolished the reds and put six past them for the first time in 52 years in the English top flight. Liverpool’s decline from last season was dramatic and astounding and this crushing loss on the final day drew the curtain on a largely forgettable campaign.
Stoke finished the season in the top ten again under Mark Hughes and the quality of goals demonstrated the impressive progress he has made since taking charge. Mame Biram Diouf grabbed an early brace and Jonathan Walters bundled in to make it 3-0 within the first half hour of the contest.
Charlie Adam produced a pinpoint drive and Steven N’Zonzi thumped in another to give the home side a barbaric 5-0 half time lead. Steven Gerrard had an open run at goal and marked his send off game with a typical neat finish. Peter Crouch broke Alan Shearer’s Premier League header record to make it six late on and compounded Liverpool to sixth position in the league.
Liverpool have struggled to replicate the goals Luis Suarez gave them last season and their defensive collapse was too much of a regular occurrence in a season of intense struggle. Stoke were ruthless and efficient and capped off another progressive campaign.
Writers View: I think the best game of the season has got to be the incredible comeback victory Leicester achieved over Manchester United. Every player played their heart out and displayed incredible brute strength and self determination.