The last whole month of football gave us one of the most surprising scores in recent years, when Liverpool – rising high in the Premier League and seemingly unstoppable – was beaten 3-0 by Watford. We say it was debated, but perhaps the most painful was the most appropriate adjective, since the Hornets kept their name by inflicting serious pain on the Reds. Few could have predicted Liverpool's winning streak (18 consecutive matches) ending like this.
Having a team in formerly divine form brought down by underdogs far below the table has made this a result for the ages. But here are three other times the Premier League has surprised us in the past decade …
Leicester City beat Man City (and won the league)
It was on February 6, 2016 that Leicester City took over Manchester City and educated them in their territory, winning 1-3 at Etihad. This should have been similar to entering the lions' den. But with Leicester in excellent shape (and City so mediocre), it was yet another case of foxes invading the henhouse, with Robert Huth and Riyad Mahrez scoring while the defense proved to be a well-oiled machine.
At any ordinary time, this would have been a memorable result. But for Leicester in the 2015/16 season, it was just a wonder among many as they paved the way for victory in the Premier League. If any experienced user of sites like Topratedbetting.com if they had invested in such a result, they would have been almost as excited as the Leicester City players themselves. After all, the Foxes were 5,000-1 outsiders. To put this in perspective, betting agents he thought Simon Cowell would become prime minister and Piers Morgan would become manager of Arsenal, they were more likely than Leicester to win the Premier League title.
Leicester's new manager, Claudio Ranieri, had been considered by many to be a man on a downward career path. His recent spell in the Greek national team ended with a failure so abject that the president of the Hellenic Football Federation literally apologized to the nation for hiring him, saying, "I take full responsibility for the unfortunate choice of the manager."
Meanwhile, Leicester himself was seriously without star power, considered by a BBC journalist to be a "team of rejections and bargain purchases".
And yet, this tattered talent team, who had narrowly avoided relegation last season, led by a very mocking manager (we're looking at you, Gary Lineker), took the table and delivered a fairytale ending. Alan Shearer called it the "biggest thing that happened in football", while Lineker said "I can't think of anything that goes beyond that in the history of the sport". Yes, that sums it up.
Leicester makes a historic comeback against Manchester United
We are keeping up with the Foxes because, a few years before the historic Premier League triumph, they showed a glimpse of what they were capable of in a surprising 2014 clash against Manchester United. It wasn't just the fact that they won, but the way of winning, which went back 3-1 down in an eight-goal thriller that got everyone in trouble – and helped to form a Jamie Vardy star.
For a start, it looked like United were winning a comfortable victory, with a two-goal lead established in 16 minutes. The first was driven home by Robin van Persie (through a diversion by Liam Moore). Moments later, Angel di Maria, recently signed by United for £ 59.7 million, proved his record value with a chip that put Red Devils 0-2 ahead.
Leicester reacted immediately, with a perfect cross from Vardy, allowing Leonardo Ulloa to head the ball. In the second half, United extended their advantage when Ander Herrera intercepted a shot from Di Maria to score a third goal for Red Devils. Case closed? United fans would have been forgiven for thinking that, but then came a David Nugent penalty, granted after Vardy was knocked down by Rafael.
Less than two minutes later, the tie was courtesy of Esteban Cambiasso's left boot. It was now 3-3, with Leicester playing for the first time in a decade, now having the absolute daring to face Manchester United. It was Jamie Vardy who scored the next goal, with his first Premier League goal, and then hit United's coffin when Ulloa scored thanks to another penalty.
Manchester United had never lost a Premier League game before winning two goals. Leicester manager Nigel Pearson was the very voice of the understatement, saying: "When you beat Manchester United 3-1 to win the game … I think it is a decent result".
Chelsea beat Sunderland at home
Remember the mists of time, until the beginning of the decade, and you can remember one of Chelsea's worst performances in living memory. This was the November 2010 clash with Sunderland, when the Blues were at the top of the table and really shouldn't have lost 0-3 at Stamford Bridge.
But they lost so decisively that coach Carlo Ancelotti had to admit that merited saying, "I think that was the worst performance since I was here".
To be fair to Chelsea, they had some serious attacks even before the whistle, with Frank Lampard and John Terry discarded due to injury, and midfielder Michael Essien in suspension. While the side was undeniably weakened, the Black Cats must give full credit for their stellar performance, with goals from Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck, who were on loan from Manchester United.
The attack was supported by a solid defense, while Chelsea made a lukewarm and lackluster effort, paving the way for a famous victory – Sunderland's first win over the Blues since 2001.
Black Cats manager Steve Bruce seemed relieved, delighted and proud in equal measure. "You don't always win this lot 3-0 in the yard", he said. "People are so afraid to come here and no one wants to humble themselves, so we thought about trying." They certainly tried, and then some.
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