eric cantona manchester united

Top five ‘where were you?’ moments in Premier League history

Thrilling games, glorious goals and crazy controversies, the Premier League has seen it all in its illustrious history.

Since English football’s top flight was rebranded in the early 90’s, the Premier League has grown into one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles.

The league has been filled with iconic incidents that will forever be etched into football folklore, but where were you during these memorable moments?


Bruce double sparks United dynasty – 1993

For fans of a younger generation, who have only known the Premier League, it perhaps seems inconceivable that Manchester United once struggled for silverware.

Rewind the clock back to the inaugural season of the Premier League, with clubs now backed by the TV funds from Sky, and Sir Alex Ferguson was pursuing a first league title with the Manchester side.

United had finished runners-up to Leeds United the previous season, and the capture of French forward Eric Cantona from their Yorkshire rivals helped propel Ferguson’s side towards the title.

Embroiled in a title race with Aston Villa, United faced Sheffield Wednesday at Old Trafford in April 1993 and trailed through a John Sheridan penalty.

Defeat would have conceded a two-point lead to the Midlands side, before a dramatic finish turned the title race on its head.

With four minutes remaining, stand-in captain Steve Bruce met Denis Irwin’s corner to head home and bring United level. The defender looked to have salvaged a point for the hosts, but United weren’t finished.

Six minutes into injury-time, Bruce was in the right place again to bravely nod in his second, sparking wild celebrations with United assistant Brian Kidd on his knees on the pitch.

United would go on to clinch a first league title in 26 years, embarking on a run of domestic dominance which saw Ferguson guide the club to 13 Premier League titles, establishing the Old Trafford outfit as the most successful in English football history.

Fergie-time was born.

Cantona’s kung-fu kick – 1995

The Premier League has seen its fair share of controversy in almost three decades of thrilling action.

Who can forget Sheffield Wednesday’s Paulo Di Canio pushing over referee Paul Alcock? Or Liverpool’s Luis Suarez infamously biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic?

Whilst both of those incidents shocked, perhaps no incident has reverberated around the Premier League as resoundingly as Manchester United attacker Eric Cantona’s assault on Crystal Palace fan Matthew Simmons.

Defending champions United were trailing recently-rich title rivals Blackburn Rovers by two points in the title race, as they headed to face struggling Palace at Selhurst Park.

Cantona, as United’s key man, was often a target for opposition players and fans alike, with the clash in south-east London no different.

Following a series of hefty challenges from Palace defenders, Cantona was dismissed in the 48th minute following a petulant kick, the Frenchman seething as he left the field.

Palace fan Simmons had approached the advertising hoardings and began to hurl abuse at Cantona, before the forward jumps over the barrier in rage, hurling a kung-fu kick and punches in the direction of Simmons.

Cantona was restrained before being led away, and later handed a nine-month ban from football. The incident remains one of the Premier League’s most extraordinary events.

Aguero snatches title for Manchester City – 2012

Arguably, most probably, the most iconic moment in Premier League history.

Manchester City, having long lived in the shadow of their Manchester rivals United, had found new wealth following Sheikh Mansour’s billionaire takeover in 2008 and catapulted themselves into the Premier League’s elite.

The bitter Manchester rivals were embroiled in a tense title race in 2011/12, with City looking to end a 44-year wait for a top-flight league title.

Heading into their final day home fixture against relegation-threatened QPR, City knew a win would be enough to crown them champions.

What ensued was a topsy-turvy affair, culminating in the most dramatic finish to a season in Premier League history.

Pablo Zabaleta’s fortuitous goal put Roberto Mancini’s side ahead, but QPR hit back with goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie. Despite former City midfielder Joey Barton’s red card, the visitors held on as the game approached stoppage time.

Two minutes into the allotted five minutes, Edin Dzeko headed home to give City hope. Wayne Rooney’s goal had secured United a 1-0 victory at Sunderland, and the title seemed to be heading to Old Trafford.

City continued to press, and with just seconds remaining Aguero scored the late, late goal which sealed the title. Enigmatic forward Mario Balotelli rolled the ball into the onrushing Argentine, who showed immense composure to take a touch before firing home.

Commentator Martin Tyler’s scream of Aguero’s name remains iconic, the Etihad erupting into scenes of wild celebration.

City were no longer the ‘noisy neighbours’ United boss Ferguson had coined them, they were Premier League champions.

It’s even better with Titanic music…

Steven Gerrard’s slip – 2014

After being the dominant force in English football for two decades prior to the league’s re-brand, the Premier League has been less kind to Liverpool Football Club.

It has now been 29 years since the last of their 18 league titles, though rarely have they come closer than in 2013/14. Brendan Rodgers side were seemingly on an unstoppable march towards their first Premier League crown, on an 11-game winning streak before their Anfield clash with Chelsea in late April.

The destiny of the title was in their own hands with three games remaining, though any mistakes would allow Manchester City to capitalise.

In a moment which seemed almost scripted, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, so often their hero throughout his career, made a mistake which will forever haunt him.

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Just two weeks after demanding ‘we do not let this slip’ during a passionate on-field team talk following a win over title rivals City.. Gerrard slipped…allowing Chelsea forward Demba Ba to race through and open the scoring.

Liverpool would never recover, Willian adding a late stoppage-time second on the counter and handed the title initiative to Man City.

City would finish the season in faultless fashion, pipping Liverpool to the title by just two points.

It was a cruel twist of fate for Liverpool’s iconic number eight, who would never win the elusive league title he so desperately craved.

Leicester City’s coronation – 2016

Everyone loves an underdog, don’t they? Few sporting stories are as miraculous as Leicester City’s during the 2015/16 Premier League season.

Having pulled off the ‘great escape’ to narrowly avoid relegation the previous season, Leicester were amongst the favourites for the drop the following season.

Given odds of 5000-1 to win the league title, a feat they somehow, miraculously achieved.

Whilst there may not be one specific moment during an incredible season, the club’s presentation of the Premier League title brought home the reality of the impossible dream.

Unbeaten since a Valentine’s Day defeat to Arsenal in February, Leicester were crowned champions following Tottenham’s failure to beat Chelsea in May.

The Foxes had shocked the sporting world, winning a first league title in their 132-year history, with the celebrations living long in the memory.

Handed the trophy following their final home game against Everton, opera star Andrea Bocelli serenaded the crowd with a spine-tingling rendition of Nessun Dorma alongside Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri, in scenes not likely to be witnessed in the Premier League again.

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