The Premier League has marked their 20th anniversary with some special awards to add to the usual awards ceremony to mark the close of the season. You can submit your selections for the awards at www.premierleague.com or www.skysports.com and you only have to trawl through the awards to bring back floods of memories.
The matches show what is best about the Premier League – some of the greatest goal-packed action inside 90 minutes but also it reminds the voter about some of the scathing matches such as the two at Old Trafford earlier in the season and Man United’s 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Newcastle.
The classics which involved Arsenal and Liverpool mark three 4-4 draws in recent years whilst the 4-3 classic between Liverpool and Keegan’s Newcastle in 1996 makes the berth. Other matches include the 11-goal thriller between Portsmouth and Reading and Man United’s fantastic 5-3 comeback against Tottenham in 2001 and last but not least, United’s 4-3 Manchester derby win at Old Trafford in 2009.
The goals category is another tough choice for the voter. Blasts from the past include two pearlers from none other than former Southampton playmaker Matt le Tissier and one thumping strike from Tony Yeboah. Manchester United get another fair crack at the whip with David Beckham’s 60-yard strike against Wimbledon and Cantona’s sumptuous chip against Sunderland make the cut with Wayne Rooney’s fantastic overhead kick against their Manchester rivals in 2011 is in.
Alan Shearer’s thumping volley along with Dennis Bergkamp’s trickery – both at St. James’ Park were two slices of magic along with Thierry Henry’s inventive strike against Manchester United in 2000. None are as inventive as that scissor kick in the 1999/00 season from Paolo di Canio against Wimbledon at Upton Park.
Celebrations unleash the joy of the goalscorers – and in one case a manager and his assistant – and bring football together. Ferguson and Kidd’s on-pitch celebrations to mark the prospective of winning the first Premier League in 1993 makes the cut whilst memorable celebrations from Lee Sharpe and Eric Cantona also make the top 10.
The typical celebrations from Lomana Lua Lua and Alan Shearer couldn’t be more difference but both make the top ten – the significant hand raising from Shearer and hair raising flips from his ex-Newcastle teammate, Lua Lua.
A more comedic approach has been taken with Wright and Ruddock’s celebrations along with Jimmy Bullard’s mimicking of his own manager in scoring for Hull against Manchester City whilst Ketsbaia’s bizarre torture of the ad boards makes the cut. Jurgen Klinsmann’s tongue-in-cheek dive celebration as well as Steven Gerrard’s memorable kissing of the camera at Old Trafford make up the rest of this category.
In the saves category, the likes of Peter Schmeichel and Tomasz Kuszczak pick up two nominations whilst Craig Gordon’s miraculous thwarting at the Stadium of Light makes the top ten from last season. The usual suspects such as Carlo Cudicini, Brad Friedel, Joe Hart, Shay Given and Jussi Jaaskelainen all make up the rest of the category for their fantastic saves.
The fantasy team of the past 20 years rather speaks for itself. All the names you’d expect make the cut. For my team I chose Peter Schmeichel as goalkeeper with the Arsenal combination of Lee Dixon and Tony Adams in defence with Nemanja Vidic and Ashley Cole making up the backline.
Manchester United and Arsenal dominate my midfield as the ex-Arsenal captain, Patrick Vieira and his arch nemesis, Roy Keane are both selected in the middle of the park whilst David Beckham and Ryan Giggs are down the flanks. The two top goalscorers in the league’s history – Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry compliment the rest of the team, selected as the two strikers.
*Bold marks my selection.
95/96: Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle
96/97: Newcastle 5-0 Manchester United
01/02: Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United
07/08: Portsmouth 7-4 Reading
08/09: Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham
08/09: Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal
09/10: Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City
10/11: Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal
11/12: Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
11/12: Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
93/94: Matt Le Tissier – SOUTHAMPTON v. Newcastle
94/95: Matt Le Tissier – Blackburn v. SOUTHAMPTON
95/96: Tony Yeboah – LEEDS v. Liverpool
96/97: David Beckham – Wimbledon v. MANCHESTER UNITED
96/97: Eric Cantona – MANCHESTER UNITED v. Sunderland
99/00: Paolo di Canio – WEST HAM v. Wimbledon
00/01: Thierry Henry – ARSENAL v. Manchester United
01/02: Dennis Bergkamp – Newcastle v. ARSENAL
02/03: Alan Shearer – NEWCASTLE v. Everton
10/11: Wayne Rooney – MANCHESTER UNITED v. Manchester City
92/93: Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd – MANCHESTER UNITED v. Sheffield Wednesday
94/95: Lee Sharpe – MANCHESTER UNITED v. Arsenal
94/95: Jurgen Klinsmann – Sheffield Wednesday v. TOTTENHAM
96/97: Eric Cantona – MANCHESTER UNITED v. Sunderland
97/98: Temuri Katsbaia – NEWCASTLE v. Bolton
98/99: Ian Wright and Neil Ruddock – WEST HAM v. Southampton
08/09: Steven Gerrard – Manchester United v. LIVERPOOL
09/10: Jimmy Bullard – Manchester City v. HULL CITY
Multiple: Lomana Lua Lua – Newcastle, Portsmouth
Multiple: Alan Shearer – Southampton, Blackburn, Newcastle
92/93: Peter Schmeichel – Liverpool v. MANCHESTER UNITED
97/98: Peter Schmeichel – Newcastle v. MANCHESTER UNITED
01/02: Jussi Jaaskelainen – Manchester United v. BOLTON
01/02: Shay Given – Sunderland v. NEWCASTLE
05/06: Tomasz Kuszczak – Wigan v. WEST BROM
07/08: Carlo Cudicini – TOTTENHAM v. Chelsea
07/08: Brad Friedel – BLACKBURN v. Manchester United
07/08: Joe Hart – Liverpool v. MANCHESTER CITY
07/08: Tomasz Kuszczak – Birmingham v. MANCHESTER UNITED
10/11: Craig Gordon – SUNDERLAND v. Bolton
GK: Cech, Freidel, Given, Hart, D.James, Reina, Schmeichel, Schwarzer, Seamen, Van der Sar
RB: W.Barton, Carr, Dixon, G.Johnson, R.Jones, G.Kelly, G.Neville, Petrescu, M.Richards, Sagna
CB: Adams, Bruce, S.Campbell, Carragher, Desailly, Ferdinand, McGrath, Stam, Terry, Vidic
LB: Riise, Baines, Clichy, A.Cole, Evra, Harte, Irwin, Le Saux, Pearce, Winterburn
RM: Anderton, Beckham, J.Cole, Kanchelskis, Lennon, Ljungberg, McManaman, Ronaldo, Stone, A.Young
CM: Fabregas, Gerrard, Ince, Keane, Lampard, Le Tissier, Makelele, Petit, Scholes, Vieira
LM: Bale, Barnes, Duff, Giggs, Ginola, Kewell, Overmars, Pires, Robben, Silva
ST: Bergkamp, Cantona, Cole, Fowler, Henry, Rooney, Shearer, van Nistelrooy, I.Wright, Zola