Rare was the 2015/16 Premier League season. Claudio Ranieri’s welcoming surprise of a conquering Leicester City made history.
Not to take away any limelight from the King Power, the season was marked by other curiosities worth mentioning.
This article will examine them.
Here are the six most interesting matches and their results for the 2015/16 Premier League season:
- What it means to be a champion, Leicester - Arsenal
If there is a game that proves individual matches can only create and carry sentimental feelings in league contexts, but cannot win you titles, it is this one.
The shared secret is individual matches can build or destroy confidences, but in the long run, consistency wins trophies.
On the day, the Gunners destroyed the thus-far undefeated King Power: a hat-trick by Alexi Sanchez, goals by Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, while two by Jamie Vardy gave the hosts consolation, 2-5.
At the end of this gruelling season though, it was the team that lost that donned the crown.
Viewed from a wide lens, to call a Manchester United victory ‘unlikely’ would be considered a candidate for the ‘most ignorant statement of the year’ award, but on that day it was spot on.
United churned out only five shots on target, their lowest throughout the whole season, compared to the Citizens’ onslaught of 26. Yet they won 1-0.
These things happen in football. On this level, sometimes even a single shot is enough.
What made United’s victory special was that they did it, while heavily underperforming with their young and star-less squad and a new manager, Luis van Gaal.
The victory held a much more personal meaning for Marcus Rashford who became the youngest player to score in the derby at 18 years and 141 days.
- Southampton do a Liverpool
Comebacks are known to be a trademark of the club, the football Beatles. Liverpool.
The reason they are so entertaining and unpredictable is that they fight to the end. Need we remind you of their famous Champions League final against AC Milan?
But even Liverpool can have a bad day now and then. They have had quite few in the last two decades, but that’s another matter.
On the day, Liverpool rode out a comfortable first half and by half-time were two goals up already.
But Ronald Koeman’s magic speech at half-time and the introductions of Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama in second half had planted a seed was to accumulate enough weight to overwhelm Liverpool.
Two goals by Mane and one by Grazioano Pelle spearheaded a motivated Southampton rally that extinguished heroic Liverpool attempts to keep their advantage.
The spark of the victory kept the fire going for Koeman’s men as they finished above Liverpool in the final table.
- West Ham’s fitting tribute to Upton Park
This match held a ridiculous resemblance to a Hollywood production.
West Ham were to play their last game at Upton Park for 112 years, sentimentality was to be tarnished by events of hooliganism before the start.
The hammers faced the underperforming Manchester United as hopes for a top four spot for the Red Devils were still burning on the day.
Both teams took turns in bashing one another.
Mohamed Sakho opened the score early on while United made a comeback with a double by Anthony Martial in the second half.
Only minutes later, however, West Ham’s quick-fire double by Michail Antonio and Anthony Reid gave them a precious 3-2 win against the Red Devils–a fitting tribute to 112 years of history.
- Drama that took us places, Liverpool - Norwich
Now, I would now even blink before I pay an Arsenal ticket price to watch such a game.
The entertainment was of the sort that stands the test of time: nine goals, turnarounds, craziness, and Jurgen Klopp in the middle.
The Reds took the lead first, but then Bezua, Steven Naismith and Wes Hoolahan made it 3-1 to Norwich.
Trailing by two goals is an explored territory for Liverpool as they characteristically came back and turned the game around to 3-4.
Norwich then equalised, surely last goal of the game, courtesy of Sebastien Bassong in the 92th minute.
There was one more ace left in Liverpool’s sleeve though, and when Adam Lallana scored in the 95th minute, the deafening silence of the Norwich supporters drowned out the Liverpool fans’ screams of frenzy, 4-5.
To top it, Klopp did a Benny Hill, losing his pair of glasses amidst the wild final goal celebrations then complained, “I have a second pair of glasses but I can't find them. It's really difficult looking for glasses without glasses.”
His colleague, Norwich boss Alex Neil, was in a slightly more sceptical mood, “I’m not happy obviously. When you conceive five goals, you deserve to lose.”
Come on, Neil, your team scored four!
- Newcastle have the final say, Newcastle - Tottenham
It’s the odds of this match that make it special.
It was not to be.
By half time, Newcastle racked up a two-goal lead. Spurs battled to reduce the deficit through Eric Lamela and then faced a favourable position when Aleksander Mitrovic from Newcastle was sent off in the 67th minute.
Reduced to ten men, with nothing to play for but their honour, Newcastle scored three more goals to set the lights of the scoreboard to a mocking 5-1.
The humiliating defeat cut the Spurs deep as it ensured the Arsenal faithful had another Saint Totteringham.