Chelsea 4-3 Manchester United: Greatest comebacks in English football history

United feature prominently in memorable comebacks, while few will forget Michael Thomas' championship-winning goal at Anfield or Liverpool v Newcastle classic

Cole Palmer, centre, scored three goals to inspire Chelsea's come-from-behind win against Manchester United. EPA
Powered by automated translation

A Cole Palmer hat-trick inspired one of the greatest comebacks in English football on Thursday as Chelsea came from two goals down to defeat Manchester United 4-3.

The Blues took an early two-goal lead at Stamford Bridge only for United to draw level by half time and then creep ahead 3-2 in the 68th minute through Alejandro Garnacho.

But Palmer struck twice in the 100th and 101st minutes of a remarkable match, the first of the strikes coming from the penalty spot, to ignite wild celebrations.

Here are a few other great comebacks involving English clubs.

1989: Division One, Anfield. Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal went to Anfield needing to win their last game of the season by two clear goals to clinch the Division One title ahead of their opponents. An Alan Smith header raised Arsenal hopes but they looked to have blown their chance when Michael Thomas wasted a glorious chance one-on-one with Reds keeper Bruce Grobbelaar. With the clock ticking, Arsenal launched the ball forward one last time, and Thomas made no mistake second time around.

1996: Premier League, Anfield. Liverpool 4 Newcastle United 3

Voted the greatest game in Premier League history. A seesaw encounter eventually saw Liverpool striker Stan Collymore smash a dramatic last-minute winner to spell heart-break for Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle's faltering title hopefuls. It was the Magpies’ fourth defeat in six matches as Manchester United claimed the championship.

1999 Champions League final, Barcelona. Manchester United 2 Bayern Munich 1

Manchester United's hopes of ending a 31-year wait to lift the European Cup looked dead in the water as they trailed to an early Mario Basler free-kick and were battered throughout the match by the German giants. The final was slipping away from them when Alex Ferguson introduced substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Sheringham snatched a dramatic equaliser 40 seconds into injury time and Solskjaer provided a sensational winner right at the death.

2001 Premier League, White Hart Lane. Tottenham 3 Manchester United 5

Spurs got off to a flying start and were 3-0 up courtesy of goals from Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand and Christian Ziege. But Manchester United responded in the first minute of the second period through Andy Cole before Laurent Blanc’s header and Ruud van Nistelrooy’s finish made it 3-3. Juan Sebastian Veron fired United in front with 16 minutes left before David Beckham had the final say.

2011 Premier League, St James’ Park. Newcastle 4 Arsenal 4

Arsenal's title hopes were derailed by one of the most stunning comebacks in football history. The Gunners were seemingly out of sight as goals from Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou and Robin van Persie put them 3-0 up inside 10 minutes before Van Persie’s fourth appeared to guarantee the three points. But Newcastle, aided by the red card shown to Abou Diaby, had other ideas. Joey Barton converted penalties to sandwich a goal from Leon Best before Cheik Tiote struck a superb equaliser with three minutes left.

2012 Premier League, Etihad Stadium. Manchester City 3 QPR 2

Manchester City had not won an English top-flight title in 44 years, and they looked to be surrendering the championship to neighbours Manchester United as the clocked ticked down on the 2011/12 season. City trailed 2-1 to 10-man QPR after former City midfielder Joey Barton was shown a red card. City needed two goals in injury time to clinch the title and levelled through an Edin Dzeko goal but United's 1-0 win at Sunderland meant they had one hand on the trophy. City poured forward in search of a winner, and on 93: 20 – a number forever in City folklore – Sergio Aguero snatched a late winner to gift City a first Premier League title under Abu Dhabi ownership with virtually the final kick of the campaign.

Updated: April 05, 2024, 6:34 AM