It’s probably the most wonderful time of the entire year. You guessed it, festive football is back. Although some will be looking forward to the Queen’s speech, football fans are centered on a very important factor: a complete round of Premier League fixtures on Boxing Day. With some appetising games prearranged at the very top and bottom from the league ahead, Sportsmail looks back on some Boxing Day crackers over time. This year, Leicester City certainly are a real force locking horns with the most effective teams inside the league, whilst Arsenal are over a helpless run of just two wins within their last 11 league games. Nonetheless it wasn’t always in this manner. Back 2000 with famous brands Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Robert Pires within their ranks, title-chasing Arsenal ran riot contrary to the Foxes at their old home, Highbury. Henry grabbed the initial of his incredible eight hat-tricks for that club, whilst Viera, Tony Adams and today interim manager Freddie Ljungberg piled in the misery to the East Midlands side, who go on to complete rock bottom the next season.
But Claudio Ranieri’s side were stunned after just 45 seconds as Herman Hreidarsson place the lowly Addicks ahead before they raced right into a 4-1 lead thanks to Matt Holland, Jonatan Johansson and Jason Euell. John Terry and Eider Gujonsson scored the goals for your Blues nonetheless it wasn’t enough to avoid their title charge from being derailed. Paulo Di Canio would play a starring role for Charlton and become substituted into a standing ovation. This game had everything. Eight goals, three red cards, a free of charge kick, a penalty along with a Petr Cech blunder. Shaun Maloney’s double, one because of Cech’s gaffe, gave Martin O’Neill’s plucky Aston Villa side a shock 2-0 lead because they threatened to subject Chelsea with their first home defeat in 71 games. But there is plenty more ahead as Andriy Shevchenko’s penalty place the score at 2-1 before half time which saw Zat Knight sent off for your offence. Shevchenko scored his second to level things up having a stunner before Alex smashed home Chelsea’s third to place them ahead. Stamford Bridge will be stunned again though as Martin Laursen levelled things up and Ricardo Carvalho was sent off for any two-footed challenge.
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But Michael Ballack’s free kick two minutes from time looked to possess won it for Avram Grant’s men, limited to Ashley Cole’s handball in stoppage time saw ANOTHER red card and allowed Gareth Barry to tuck away the penalty as Villa left the administrative centre having a deserved point. It’s definitely not what happened in the pitch that made this game memorable but more with the extraordinary events that unfolded at half-time. When Hull City went 4-0 down in the initial half against newly-wealthy Manchester City, the players could have known that they had a half-time dressing down coming their way from manager Phil Brown. What they wouldn’t have known is they wouldn’t have obtained this inside the safety of this dressing room because they were designed to sit back like naughty school children over the pitch while watching travelling fans of this Yorkshire club. Brown could possibly be seen furiously wagging his finger and shouting at his underperforming players, in an instant that transpired within the Premier League folklore.
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The unusual management technique did appear to work, however, because they would continue to draw the next half 1-1. Jimmy Bullard would continue to hilariously recreate as soon as in exactly the same fixture the next year. Within an end-to-end contest, Villa’s hopes were dashed being an Abou Diaby assist and goal saw Arsenal race right into a 2-0 half-time the Gunners momentarily leapfrogged the Birmingham side. James Perch put Newcastle right into a shock 1-0 lead at Old Trafford before Jonny Evans equalised soon after. The now-Leicester City man then went from hero to villain as their own goal put Newcastle back front. Patrice Evra and Robin Van Persie scored either side of Papiss Cisse smashing finish to place the scores at 3-3. But Ferguson’s trusty poacher Javier Hernandez would pop-up to slide home in injury time and energy to put them ahead for the very first time in the overall game and snatch another last gasp victory for United, who continue to lift the final of these 13 Premier League titles.
A year on and United had got off to a far more than unconvincing start under new manager David Moyes, the person selected because the ‘Chosen One’ for taking the reigns after Fergie’s departure. Already losing their grip at the top four, United could actually spring themselves into action in the next half as Chris Smalling headed home before Wayne Rooney scored his 150th Premier League goal for any club having a sublime chest and volley. Chester’s unfortunate own goal saw United complete the comeback in what appeared like a turning point for that cub, but David Moyes would continue to reduce his job a couple of months later as United limped to 7th place that season. Another Boxing Day treat that appeared to have everything. James Collins put West Ham ahead prior to the Cherries turned things around because of Dan Gosling and Nathan Ake’s first-half goals. Arthur Boruc’s nightmare wear a soaking wet South-coast day allowed Marko Arnautovic to equalise prior to the maverick Austrian thought he previously stabbed home the winner to send the away end into raptures. This is within the pre-VAR days (remember them?) and Callum Wilson’s 93rd minute equaliser was given offside referee Bobby Madley had an on-pitch discussion along with his assistant, something you don’t see all too often these days. Your choice was controversially overturned and the target given regardless of the replays showing Wilson was actually slightly offside and seemed to use his hand to score. Only if someone could invent a means of checking these decisions, that could stop the endless debates about refereeing decisions, right?