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Opinion Piece: The Best Premier League Blockbuster Moments

Is a player, event, or club all hype or the real deal? Welcome to the home of The Hype Train's opinion pieces, where members of our team discuss a wide array of footballing matters. Here, Ben Hunt looks back at some iconic Premier League moments after watching the 4th round of The FA Cup play out last weekend. All aboard.

Premier League Blockbusters:

Off the back of watching Wrexham’s Hollywood owner, Ryan Reynolds, squirm in his seat during his side’s dramatic FA Cup tie against Sheffield Utd at the weekend, I’ve been inspired to look at, and rank, some iconic stories from Premier League history that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood script. From Great Escapes to costly slip-ups, underdogs to traitors, roll out the red carpet for five Oscar-worthy moments, that perfectly encapsulate the drama of the Premier League.

5. West Brom’s Great Escape

15th May 2005

WBA 2-0 Portsmouth

There are dozens of Great Escape stories I could have written about for this article, Leicester in 2014/15, Fulham in 2007/08 and Wigan in 2011/12 to name a few. But I’ve opted for this one because of how truly awful that West Brom team was. For the life of me I can’t work out how this team made it into the Premier League, let alone managed to stay in it. Anyway, here’s the story.

Rock bottom at Christmas, West Brom looked unlikely to muster any kind of fight for survival. And despite a couple of flirtations with spots higher in the table, the Baggies were rooted firmly to the bottom leading into the final day fixtures.

To survive West Brom needed to beat Portsmouth and had to pray their survival rivals all failed to win. A set of results that looked nigh-on impossible.

Well incredibly, that’s exactly what happened. Southampton and Norwich were beaten by Manchester Utd and Fulham respectively. Palace drew 2-2 with Charlton despite leading the game with 10 minutes to play. And West Brom beat Pompey comfortably 2-0, after goals from Robert Earnshaw and Kieran Richardson. This made West Brom the first team to avoid relegation from the Premier League after being bottom of the table at Christmas.

Unfortunately, the heady heights of 17th must have given the Baggies a nosebleed, as they failed to build on this momentum and good feeling, and were deservedly relegated the following season.

4. Adebayor Strikes Back

12th September 2009

Man City 4-2 Arsenal

The Joker. Darth Vader. Voldemort. Adebayor. Every Hollywood blockbuster needs a villain and in this 2009 early-season clash between Arsenal and Man City at the Etihad, Emmanuel Adebayor gave the performance of a lifetime.

Having recently made the controversial £25m summer switch from Arsenal to City, the Togo international was not exactly flavour of the month in North London.

After giving Adebayor an earful all game, every Arsenal fan’s worst nightmare came to fruition. In the 80th minute the City striker found himself in acres of space in the penalty area to head the Citizens into a 3-1 lead and effectively end the tie.

What followed was pure pandemonium, as Adebayor, a player known for his languid playstyle, sprinted the length of the pitch in record time. The reason? To celebrate in front of the furious travelling Arsenal fans. After a majestic knee-slide Adebayor spread his arms and basked in the fans’ vitriol, as makeshift missiles rained down towards the striker from the stands.

Adebayor would go on to receive a retrospective ban and £25,000 fine from the FA for his celebration, but in my eyes, it was worth it, for this was box-office entertainment.

3. Ranieri’s Unlikely Heroes

Leicester City: 2015/16 Season

Next up on this list is, in my opinion, the greatest underdog story in sporting history and thoroughly worthy of a place of its own on the silver screen, Leicester City’s 2016 Premier League title triumph.

Having performed a great escape to narrowly avoid relegation the season prior, the Foxes appointed managerial journeyman Claudio Ranieri and were viewed as relegation fodder at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign. And with odds of 5000/1 to win the league, I’d suggest even putting a tenner on them would be throwing your money down the drain.

How wrong was I…

With their favoured starting 11 costing only £28.8m, Leicester would go on to defy all the odds (and pundits) to secure the Premier League title. Fending off competition from big spenders Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, among others.

This coupled with standout performances from Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’golo Kante, who each individually have their own fairy-tale style rise to the top, makes this the quintessential plucky underdog story.

Sadly, many of Leicester’s best players were cherrypicked by bigger clubs in the following seasons, making it difficult to muster any subsequent title charges. But this certainly doesn’t take away from what was an incredible achievement.

2. Gerrard’s Infamous Slip

27th April 2014

Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea

You just couldn’t write this one.

Let me set the scene. Liverpool have just beaten Manchester City to come within touching distance of the Premier League title, potentially ending a 24-year drought. Following the game, and the Liverpool celebrations, the Sky Sports cameras zero in on a Liverpool team huddle with Gerrard at the centre, bellowing, in his thick Liverpudlian accent ‘This does not f****** slip now’.

Famous last words.

Fast forward two weeks and Liverpool have a must-not-lose clash against (a rather dishevelled looking) Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea side.

With the game at 0-0 on the stroke of half-time, the ball is rolled back to Gerrard inside his own half but inexplicably rolls under the Liverpool legend’s foot. As Chelsea striker Demba Ba pounces onto the loose ball, Gerrard, desperately trying to rectify his mistake, slips, leaving Ba with a clear route to goal. The Senegalese striker confidently slots past the on-rushing Simon Mignolet, leaving a despairing Steven Gerrard to pick the ball out of the net.

After defeat in this game Liverpool would go on to lose the Premier League title and Gerrard would eventually retire having never won it. Undoubtedly haunted by his costly error and the fact his galvanizing speech was broadcast across the world.


13th May 2012

Man City 3-2 QPR

As a Man Utd fan this one still pains me to even think about, but it is arguably the greatest moment in Premier League history, so I can’t exactly avoid it.

Take yourselves back to the final day of the 2011/2012 Premier League season. The two Manchester clubs are level on points, separated only by City’s superior goal difference.

The full-time whistle blows at the Stadium of Light, and with United 1-0 winners they look on course to win yet another title. However, the game at the Etihad has yet to finish and is tied at 2-2 after Edin Dzeko’s recent leveller.

The game is in its dying embers when the ball falls to Sergio Aguero in the penalty area. We all know what happens next, so I’ll let Martin Tyler’s iconic commentary do the rest…

“Manchester City are still alive here…



Aguero had won City their inaugural Premier League title. And despite having to change the channel every time it comes on to the TV, even I, a bitter and twisted United fan, can admit it’s the greatest moment in Premier League history and well worthy of first place in this list.

Want to join in on the discussion? Ben Hunt is a new Contributor at The Hype Train in 2023, and you can have your take on our latest opinion piece by finding the Train on Twitter at @HypeTrainHQ, and Ben at @BenHunt1238

Want to know more about The Hype Train?

The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in general football and Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.

We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.

In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles. We won both Goal of the Season Awards in the Berkshire and County FA regions, with Callum Parr-Jones winning the Berks & Bucks FA award, whilst Martin King won the PlaySport UK award.

In 2021, we formed the Reading Sunday Social League (RSSL), a competitive Sunday League involving 8 teams in its debut season. During the 2021/22 season, we won our first-ever trophy, lifting the East Berkshire Football League's Presidents Cup!

The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.

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