The Premier League has given us its share of incredible games and world-class players over the years, as well as some of the most shocking and surprising results that fans never saw coming. The league is always a source of prediction among fans as to who will win and lose, but it’s fair to say that no-one predicted how these matches would turn out. These are a few of the biggest surprises in the competition’s history, with fans left in awe at the outcome for better or worse.
Liverpool 0-1 Barnsley (1997)
When Barnsley went up against Liverpool in their debut top-flight campaign back in 1997, not much was expected from the outcome. They’d had a few home triumphs over Crystal Palace and Bolton which gave them hope that they could avoid immediate return to the second tier, but then the reality of the task ahead hit them when they picked up just four points from a possible 30 before heading to Merseyside. With a team containing Michael Owen, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp, even an inconsistent start to the season didn’t stop them from thinking they would have an easy game against Barnsley. But they were shocked to discover that Ashley Ward’s first-half effort was enough to give them the edge in their first ever away win in the top tier.
Southampton 6-3 Manchester United (1996)
Having just been beaten by Newcastle 5-0, Manchester United were hoping to take their anger out on an unsuspecting Southampton side who had only won two of the 10 previous encounters. But the plan didn’t quite play out like that, with Alex Ferguson’s side down 1-0 just 21 minutes in. By the 35th minute, they were down another goal and though Beckham evened things out slightly shortly after, it wasn’t enough to win them the game. Southampton scored three times in the last ten minutes, leaving them with a satisfying victory and a surprised but ecstatic fanbase.
Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City (2011)
It’s bad enough to have to deal with your worst home defeat in more than 56 years, but it’s even worse when it’s your neighbours inflicting the pain. Manchester City beat United 5-0 in February 1955 but unsurprisingly it was this game at Old Trafford that scored more attention. Alex Ferguson later deemed it the worst ever day in management history. Roberto Mancini’s side, however, were on top form with David Silva running the match. The game finished with a great result for City and one of the biggest surprises for United fans in their history which would have netted a heavy return if you had used Paddy Power to bet on this result.
Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn (2011)
Rovers were at the bottom of the standings in 2011, winning just one out of 13 games, and United were hopeful for a win to move them into the top spot. Even when Yakubu scored Blackburn’s second goal in the 51st minute, it seemed unlikely that Blackburn would win the match overall. That feeling only got more intense when parity was restored by Dimitar Berbatov. But, with ten minutes left to go, they managed to turn it around and won the match in a truly surprising outcome.