1. Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City, 20/09/2009
2. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle United, 03/04/1996
3. Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal, 21/04/2009
The 2011/12 Barclays Premier League title may be going down to the wire between Manchester City and Manchester United, but it is the Reds who have taken the honours in the Premier League Match of the 20 Seasons. The 2009 Manchester derby, that saw United emerge victorious 4-3 over City, has been voted the greatest 90 minutes in the history of the Premier League in a poll of hundreds of thousands of football fans from around the world.
The Match of the 20 Seasons is the fifth award to be announced as part of the Premier League’s 20 Seasons celebrations, which are designed to honour the players, managers and football that has taken place over the two decades of the world’s most watched and supported football league.
In a close contest, the Manchester derby from September 2009 took 18% of the public vote. One of the great Manchester derbies also had one of the most exciting finishes. Wayne Rooney’s early opener was cancelled out by Gareth Barry to ensure parity at the interval. Darren Fletcher headed United back in front but Craig Bellamy equalised with a rocket shot worthy of the occasion. Fletcher thought he had won it with another header 10 minutes from time, but again Bellamy thwarted him with a wonderful solo effort on 90 minutes. Yet in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Michael Owen produced a trademark finish to win the match.
The runner-up was the game that won Match of the 10 Seasons, the classic Liverpool 4-3 game with Newcastle United from April 1996, which got 15% of the vote. Newcastle travelled to third-placed Liverpool only three points behind leaders Manchester United and desperately needing a victory. Les Ferdinand and David Ginola put the Magpies ahead after Robbie Fowler’s early goal, then after Fowler levelled, Tino Asprilla restored the visitors’ lead. Enter Stan Collymore. He bundled in to make it 3-3 then, in the dying moments, with space on the left of the area, Collymore smashed in a near-post drive which left Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan stunned
Another Liverpool game was close behind on 14%, their 4-4 draw with Arsenal in April 2009. A match which will be forever associated with an exceptional display from Arsenal’s Andrey Arshavin which hit Liverpool’s title challenge. His first strike in off the bar gave Arsenal a half-time lead. And after Fernando Torres’ header and Yossi Benayoun’s bundled finish put Liverpool ahead, the Russian scored a beauty with an unstoppable drive. He pounced for a third, Torres levelled again, then Arshavin finished off a breakaway for number four. Benayoun’s injury-time leveller denied Arshavin the label of match-winner, but it was a fitting conclusion to an amazing contest
There were 300,000 fans who voted in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards casting over 4.4m votes in five categories: Goal, Match, Save, Goal Celebration and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons. In addition, there are also six panel categories: Player, Manager, Team, Season, Most Memorable Quote and Fantasy Team of the 20 Seasons. The remaining winners of these Awards will be announced over the next few days before a made-for-media event on Tuesday 15 May when the Player and Manager of the 20 Seasons Awards will be announced.