Premier League

Top 10 Iconic Premier League Moments

We love the Premier League, and we will never forget these moments!

by Radostin Spasov

The English Premier League is the world’s most exciting soccer national league. Well, there are a few things one may disagree with in the previous statement. Some would say that the Spanish or Italian top flights provide a better quality of football. And yes – no one in England will call it soccer. It’s football and always has been. But no one can put in question that stadiums are packed every weekend because some of the brightest stars on the planet shine in the EPL.

Three decades have passed since the beginning of the modern era in English top-flight. There are thousands of memories along the way, so it is not an easy task to point out the Top 10 Iconic Premier League. Well, there are certainly more than that deserving of making the selection, but few would argue to exclude the following.

Blackburn’s Cinderella Story

Blackburn Rovers hadn’t added any silverware in almost seven decades. Their last league title dated back even further before World War I started. In 1995, one of the least likely teams to become Premier League champions deserved the trophy.

Under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish, the Bule and Whites emerged as legit contenders for the crown the season before that, finishing runners-up to Manchester United. This time around, it was Blackburn’s turn. And the first-place battle couldn’t be more dramatic.

Entering the last matchday, Rovers had two points advantage ahead of the Red Devils. But the fact that Kenny Dalglish’s side visited his long-time home ground, Anfield Road, wasn’t of any help. Liverpool showed no sentiment towards its former star and manager, defeating the leader 2-1. So, in a way, the Merseyside team delivered the title chance to its archrival, but Man Utd couldn’t take more than a point away at West Ham. In the end, Blackburn was triumphant, with Rovers’ star up front Alan Shearer being the league’s top scorer with 34 goals. Dalglish called this sensational success a Cinderella type of story.

Cantona’s Kung-Fu kick

It’s probably unfair that regarding one of the greatest EPL legends, the first image coming to mind is that infamous outburst. Eric Cantona deserves enormous recognition for being the main factor that brought Manchester United to the top of the Premier league table in 1993. The Red Devils took their first title in 27 years, and later the Frenchman helped them grab the trophy on three more occasions.

But in January 1995, Cantona turned from a superhero to the villain of the league. Eric was sent off during the away game at Crystal Palace. On his way to the tunnel, a home team supporter confronted him with offensive words. Already frustrated, the Frenchman couldn’t hold his nerves and produced the infamous kung-fu kick, delivering a series of punches. Cantona was granted a lengthy ban, staying out of the field for 8 months. It was an iconic moment, not in the good sense, but he deserves more than that. With more than 70 league goals and being crowned champion of England five times (the first being with Leeds), Eric Cantona remains one of the brightest stars to ever play in the top flight.

Beckham scored from his own half

Manchester United was the dominant team in the Premier League for two decades, lifting the trophy 13 times in Sir Alex’s era! David Beckham stood out as one of the main heroes at the Old Trafford, taking part in almost half of those triumphs. The midfielder won the title six times, but his defining moment came early in his career.

It was the start of only his third Premier League season when Becks did something that is remembered up until now. In August 1996, David, 21 years back then, scored from his own half. The Man Utd midfielder noticed the Wimbledon goalkeeper being way off his line and sent the ball into the net, scoring one of the most remarkable English PremierLeague goals ever.

Do you need to be 17 years old to score in the Premier League? Ask Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney’s career was defined by his glorious years in Manchester United. But before joining the Old Trafford greats, the forward shone brightly for his childhood team – Everton.

The historic moment came only a few months after his first-team debut and precisely 5 days before his 17th birthday. On October 19, 2002, Rooney scored a last-minute winning goal that ended Arsenal’s 30-match unbeaten run. But more importantly, Wayne became the first 16-year-old to score in the English Premier League. Indeed, his record was beaten by James Milner and later by James Vaughan. But what Wayne Rooney did in his early day in professional football remains one of the EPL’s defining moments.

The Invincibles

In the history of the English Premier League, only one team managed to go undefeated throughout the entire season. Arsenal was crowned as champions in 2003/04 without losing a single game, achieving something that was recorded only once before, a century ago. Arsene Wenger’s team beat the Old Invincibles, who went 27 games without being defeated, taking the title in England back in 1889. The Gunners remarkable streak stretched far beyond – it took 49 matches before any EPL side could beat them.

Thierry Henry was Arsenal’s biggest star at the time. The French striker netted 30 goals in the perfect season, becoming the league’s top scorer.

The Special One is here

Chelsea won only one title before 2004. The Roman Abramovich era changed everything and turned the Blues into one of England’s greats. But it wouldn’t be without one man to bring the success to the Stamford Bridge – Jose Mourinho.

They call him the Special One. Actually, he called himself this in his first days in the club, where he came after a pretty successful period in Porto. The nickname stood since the Portuguese manager made Chelsea Premier League champions in his maiden season in London. The crown was defended the next campaign, and Chelsea became only the fifth English side after World War II to win back-to-back titles. Nevertheless, Mourinho was sacked a year later, never managing to lead the Blues to European glory. The Special One returned to Stamford Bridge once more to bring another EPL title in 2015.

Man City’s late miracle that won the Premier League

We can’t find a more dramatic late plot twist in the battle for the Premier League title. In 2012, both Manchester teams, City and United, fought for the crown until the last moment of the season. Alex Ferguson’s team was the dominating force around the English Premier League for two decades, while the Sky Blues were the upstarts, dubbed “the noisy neighbors” by the Red Devils’ manager.

Both teams fought shoulder to shoulder throughout the whole campaign, entering the last matchday equal on points. However, Roberto Mancini’s side stood slightly ahead thanks to a better goal difference (+10 compared to that of Man Utd) which meant that a win at home against Queens Park Rangers would bring the Sky Blues their first title in 44 years. But despite the Zabaleta goal just before the break, things turned upside down for the Citizens in the second half. QPR hit twice, and the dream seemed to slip away from Manchester City’s hands.

At the same time, Man Utd won 1-0 away at Sunderland. When the game at the Stadium of Light was over, the Red Devils started to celebrate since their “noisy neighbors” were still one goal down, heading into the stoppage time. But then a late miracle turned it all the way once again. Edin Dzeko made it 2-2 against QPR in the 92nd minute. In the 94th, Sergio Aguero scored the goal that crowned Manchester City English Premier League champions. It is hardly a more insane season finale not only in England but anywhere in the leading European leagues in the past few decades.

Sir Alex bows out in style

No person has been more successful than Alex Ferguson. The Scottsman had to wait seven years for his first title on the Manchester United’s bench in 1993. But after that, the Red Devils became English Premier League champion on 12 more occasions. Sir Alex triumphantly led three generations of Man Utd players to lift the club as the most successful not only in the modern era but in the whole history of the league.

Ferguson bowed in style to end his 27-years reign at the Old Trafford. Manchester United won the last title under his guidance in 2013, which seemed to be the easiest to achieve since the Red Devils finished 11 points ahead of the runner-up Manchester City. The title was secured a month before the season ended. Ten days before the last game, Sir Alex announced that the curtain would fall for his enormously successful time at the Theatre of Dreams. And in this case, it’s not true that there are no irreplaceable persons – Man Utd never managed to win a single title since the legendary Scottsman stepped down.

The unbelievable fairy tale of Leicester City

There are only a couple of cases when some of the smaller clubs went on top of the EPL table, leaving behind all the greats like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and in more recent times – Manchester City. After the Blackburn Rovers’ triumph in 1995, it took more than two decades before another underdog managed to go all the way to the throne.

And Leicester City indeed achieved something remarkable in the 2015/2016 campaign. Who would have thought the Foxes would finish on the top of the Premier League table, having 10 points more than the runner-up Arsenal? (Manchester United and Liverpool remained outside the Top 4) Claudio Ranieri’s side never slipped to beat all the odds. And Jamie Vardy playing only his second season in the country’s top-flight, netted 24 times, standing just one goal away from the EPL’s top scorer Harry Kane.

Liverpool’s 30 years of waiting in the Premier League is over

For three decades, Liverpool seemed cursed to never lift the title again after the 1990 success. The Merseyside team recorded several campaigns close to the glory, but the trophy always slipped away in the end. It was like that in 2009, when Manchester United finished on top, even though the Anfield Road side beat the archrival twice. In 2014, Liverpool made some wrong moves at the end of the season, and Manchester City took advantage of those occasions. In 2019, 97 points were not enough for the Reds to take the title since, once again, the Cityzens finished just ahead of them.

The 30 years of waiting was finally over in 2020. Jurgen Klopp’s side recorded a sensational campaign, losing only two points after the first 27 matchdays! It seemed like nothing could stop the Merseyside giant this time. Still, then the COVID-19 pandemic halted all football activity for three months. There were calls to cancel the whole season. Still luckily for the Reds, the campaign was restarted, and all that Liverpool needed was to finish it off as the Premier League champions. The title returned to the Anfield Road, but sadly, without the fans being able to attend the stadium at this historic moment.

Those were three decades of spectacular games, incredible goals, and dramatic outcomes. With so many remarkable moments, it is hardly a surprise that the Premier League is adored by hundreds of millions of fans around the globe.

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