Where does Chelsea's win over Spurs rank in craziest top flight games?

The Premier League’s CRAZIEST games: Tottenham 1-4 Chelsea is up there with Arsenal’s 8-2 Old Trafford humbling, the Battle of the Bridge and Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle… but where does it rank in the top 10?

  • Tottenham’s chaotic defeat to Chelsea was one of the craziest top flight games 
  • Mail Sport reflects on some of the most eventful games in the Premier League 
  • ‘Wobbling’ Maguire should have been taken off: Listen to It’s All Kicking Off 

Chelsea’s 4-1 win away at Tottenham had just about everything you can ask for from a football match. 

VAR incidents galore, five goals ruled out, five goals scored, two red cards, seven yellow cards – and a team going on the attack with nine men and leaving plenty of gaps in behind. 

It was an end to end contest that was spectacular for the neutrals – and it should rank as one of the most bonkers games played in the English top flight. 

Fans have been treated to some true spectacles since the Premier League began in 1992 – and not just goalfests – games that had it all. Conflict, fouls, red cards, own goals, touchline squabbles and controversial incidents.

Mail Sport runs through the top ten craziest games of all time to determine where Monday night’s mad contest ranks. 

Chelsea’s win over Tottenham was a pulsating and breathless affair that had just about everything – but where does it rank in the top ten craziest Premier League games ever? 

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10 – Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal – 2011

When you go 3-0 down inside the first ten minutes of a game, you don’t tend to come back from it. And when you find yourself four goals down at the interval – you’re mostly considered dead and buried. Damage limitation at that point. 

But Alan Pardew’s Newcastle had other ideas in the 2010-11 season despite being left humbled by a nightmare start to the game. 

Arsenal sat back in the second period looking to consolidate their healthy lead after Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie’s double had put them in control – but Abou Diaby’s sending off early on after the interval made things interesting.

It took Newcastle until the 68th minute to grab one back through Joey Barton’s penalty, before Leon Best snatched another in the 75th.

Barton converted another spot kick in the 83rd minute to lift a rocking St James’ Park before the roof was blown off in the 87th minute when Cheikh Tiote’s long-range strike flew past Wojciech Szczesny.

It remains to this day the most incredible Premier League comeback ever. 

Newcastle somehow came back from 4-0 down against ten-man Arsenal to draw 4-4 in 2011

9 – Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal, 2009

Another eight-goal thriller that left fans and pundits blown away in an absolute goal fest that threw up surprise after surprise.

For years this game has been used as an advert for the kind of drama the Premier League can serve up and one of the first many fans would refer to when asked to select a memorable goalfest. 

And this game really was about the goals. It wasn’t a scrappy affair overrun with bookings and red cards – just defensive mistakes all over the pitch and an open game that was enthralling to witness. 

Arsenal’s Andriy Arshavin made the headlines with his four-goal haul at Anfield, while Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun both grabbed doubles for Liverpool. 

Incredibly, seven of the eight goals came in the second half as the game turned into something of a tennis match. It went 1-0 Arsenal, 1-1, 2-1 Liverpool, 2-2, 3-2 Arsenal, 3-3, 4-3 Arsenal and then 4-4 in the last minute. 

Arsenal’s 4-4 goalfest with Liverpool has long been used as an advert for the Premier League

8 – Man United 0-0 Arsenal – 2003

Kicking off with ‘The Battle of Old Trafford’, this was a 0-0 but one of the most entertaining 0-0s you are ever likely to see as a huge title clash descended into an fierce physical scrap.

The game is synonymous for the infamous clash between Arsenal defender Martin Keown and United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy – after Patrick Vieira had been sent off for a second yellow card and the Dutch forward missed a crucial late penalty. 

Keown dug the boot in by goading his rival after the miss in imagery that will live long in the memory for football fans – and in a chaotic end to the game Van Nistelrooy was confronted by a number of Arsenal players who had accused him of trying to get Vieira sent off. 

The furious reactions of players from both sides saw five Arsenal players and two Manchester United fans forced to pay fines. In the Premier League history, it didn’t get much fiestier than this. 

Man United drew 0-0 with Arsenal in 2003 – but it was the best stalemate you’ll see after a feisty encounter that saw Martin Keown clash with Ruud van Nistelrooy

7 – Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham, 2008 

When you think ‘North London Derby’, most people will refer to this one – which began with a David Bentley stunner from 40 yards before Spurs looked to implode as Arsenal raced into a 3-1 lead through Mikael Silvestre, William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor. 

Darren Bent pulled one back to make it 3-2 before Van Persie added a fourth to put Arsenal on course for a statement win over their bitter rivals. 

But Harry Redknapp’s flamboyant Tottenham side kept pressing and Jermaine Jenas’ curled finish set up a frantic finale before Aaron Lennon poked home in the last minute to spark incredible scenes. 

There was bedlam in the bouncing away end as a fan even made his way onto the pitch to celebrate with the players. Arsenal had long been dominating North London Derby games at the time, but this was the beginning of some enthralling encounters between the two sides. 

Tottenham came back from 4-2 down to secure an incredible 4-4 draw vs Arsenal in 2008

6 – Man United 8-2 Arsenal, 2011

One of Arsenal’s darkest days in a quite remarkable game that saw the Gunners capitulate in stunning fashion at the hands of bitter rivals Manchester United. It was a scoreline that you definitely don’t see every week. 

Ten goals, six yellow card and one red card, a hat-trick from Wayne Rooney led to a calamitous and humiliating display from Arsenal’s point of view – and one that gave United huge bragging rights in their rivalry.

United had raced into a 3-0 first half advantage through Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Rooney before Theo Walcott made it 3-1. 

Rooney then made it four, with Park Ji Sung and Nani’s strike making it six before Van Persie got a second for Arsenal. Shortly after that, Carl Jenkinson was given a second yellow – which Man United allowed to take full advantage. 

Rooney then slammed in the seventh from the spot before Young rounded off a spectacular day with the eighth.

Man United humbled Arsenal 8-2 in a remarkable encounter that also saw the Gunners go down to ten men

Danny Welbeck was among five different scorers as Arsene Wenger’s side fell to the sword

5- Man United 1-6 Man City, 2011 

Seeing a Sir Alex Ferguson side being humbled so badly at home was alien to see, and it was a watershed moment to allow Man City – ‘the noisy neighbours’ – lay down a marker and a sign of things to come.

This was the season that saw City win their first ever Premier League title and their huge, record-breaking win at Old Trafford gave a reminder that they meant business as Mario Balotelli opened the scoring in the first 20 minutes – immediately lifting up his shirt to reveal a message that read, ‘Why always me?’ 

That moment – summing up the Italian forward’s controversial moments – has gone down in history and Balotelli set up an incredible second half when he added his second in the 60th minute.

In a game that saw David Silva run the show, Sergio Aguero then netted the fourth before Darren Fletcher grabbed a consolation for United.

But Roberto Mancini’s Cityzens weren’t done there as Edin Dzeko secured a brace either side of a Silva goal as they ran riot. 

Man City tore Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United apart away from home in 2011 – with Mario Balotelli scoring a double as he produced his famous ‘Why always me’ message 

4 – Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham, 2016

How can we make this list without the unforgettable ‘Battle of the Bridge’?

The stakes were high in this one, as Mauricio Pochettino brought his Spurs side to Stamford Bridge looking to stay in the title race with Leicester City, but his players far too often crossed the line physically as nine of the starting XI were booked by referee Mark Clattenberg.

Such were the nature of the challenges, Tottenham were lucky not to finish the game with nine or ten players – though they started the game in confident fashion as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min put them into a commanding 2-0 lead.

That’s when Tottenham imploded. After half time, Gary Cahill pulled one back before Spurs starting laying into their counterparts – with Eric Dier and Erik Lamela going in hard in particular to earn yellow cards. 

Incredibly there were no red cards despite Spurs flying in all over the pitch – but it was Chelsea who had the last laugh as Eden Hazard converted with a beautiful finish to send Stamford Bridge absolutely berserk and confirm Leicester City as champions at Tottenham’s expense. 

Spurs and Chelsea were both fined for failing to control their players in the aftermath following a game that will be remembered for its ill-temper.  

Chelsea and Tottenham went to war in a feisty physical clash that ended 2-2 back in 2016

3 – Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, 1996

Stan Collymore is remembered for settling this incredible, pulsating encounter that will always be known as one of the most exciting in top flight history.

With both sides in contention to win the Premier League, Kevin Keegan took his exciting team to Anfield with plenty at stake against a Liverpool outfit who also played attractive an style.

Newcastle were under pressure after throwing away a 12-point lead and that pressure told following some truly kamikaze defending. 

The game did not disappoint as Robbie Fowler put the hosts ahead in the first few minutes before Les Ferdinand and David Ginola flipped the contest on its head.

Fowler then made it 2-2 prior to Faustino Asprilla making it three – before Collymore’s two goal-salvo – include a stoppage time strike – won the classic seven-goal affair for Liverpool.

This match will also hold a special place in the hearts of fans who adored the drama of football in the 1990s – and one that is affectionately known as ‘match of the century’. 

Stan Collymore was the hero for Liverpool to net a late double that secured an enthralling 4-3 victory over Newcastle in 1996

2 – Tottenham 1-4 Chelsea, 2023

Anyone inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday night will agree they’ve never seen a game like it. 

To have so many VAR incidents and goals ruled out – before seeing a succession of red cards for Tottenham that saw them capitulate against their London rivals was only part of the drama. 

We also saw end-to-end action that saw Spurs start strongly by going a goal up in the opening five minutes through Dejan Kulusevski before their recklessness opened up the game. 

But despite having a numerical disadvantage after Cole Palmer’s equalising penalty, Ange Postecoglou still set his vulnerable side up to attack – which ensured this remained an incredible spectacle. 

Tottenham’s recent clash with Chelsea saw nine VAR checks, five disallowed goals, five goals scored and two red cards 

Spurs went on the attack even with nine men – allowing Nicolas Jackson space to punish them

Even after Nicolas Jackson had put Chelsea ahead off the back of Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie’s red cards, Spurs piled numbers forward and deployed a high line – leading to late chances from Son Heung-min and Eric Dier’s who had a goal disallowed.

But it meant that Chelsea hit Spurs for fun on the counter attack as Jackson capitalised to net a late double. Tottenham deserve credit for showing attacking intent and defending well with the men they had – and the standing ovation from the home fans at the end said it all, while summing up a rollercoaster clash for the ages. 

1 – Man City 3-2 QPR, 2012

As the madness of Aguero’s unthinkable stoppage time winner unfolded, Martin Tyler cried, ‘I swear you’ll never see anything like this again’. And he was right. You won’t.

It doesn’t matter how many goals are scored in any game, how many red cards, incidents happen – no match will ever top the drama and momentous feeling of Man City pulling off the most barnstorming finish to a Premier League game. 

With City seeking their first ever Premier League title on the final day of the season, all seemed to be going to plan when Pablo Zabaleta put the home side into the lead at a rapturous Etihad Stadium – but the bubble started to burst when relegation candidates QPR went into a shock 2-1 lead thanks to Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie. 

Man City pulled off a 3-2 comeback win over QPR in 2012 thanks to Sergio Aguero which will go down as the most barnstorming moment in Premier League history

The home supporters were stunned into silence, and with rivals Man United going 1-0 up at Sunderland in their game, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side looked likely to collect yet another Premier League title. 

Time was running out and we entered the dying minutes of the contest before Edin Dzeko popped up with the equaliser in the 92nd. It wasn’t enough and City needed to win to seal their first top flight title since 1968.

And then something magical moment. Balotelli collected a pass from Aguero and laid it back to the Argentine before he smashed hit shot into the net – cueing pandemonium from nearly every person in the arena.

It was impossible. And it probably never will happen again. It’s a moment in time that brings back goosebumps for any football fan. 


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football, launching with a preview show today and every week this season.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube , Apple Music and Spotify

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