The Premier League is often seen as the most competitive league in the world of football. Any day any team can pull off an upset against the biggies.
This is what makes the league so popular among fans and experts alike. The results aren’t always as straightforward as they may seem, meaning neutrals will change for matches as well.
This was best evidenced when Manchester United visited Everton at the start of the 2010–11 season. Everton were no pushers but United had finished second last season.
As such, many expected United to win. And when they went 3–1 up with 20 minutes remaining, many assumed the points were on their way back to Old Trafford. However, Everton would incredibly snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat.
After 11 years of the game, let us look back at what an exciting match it was in so many ways.
United, Everton evenly matched in first half
In the match, both the teams took lead at different points of the game. But it was the home team who shed the first blood in the early stages of the match.
A long ball over the top from Tim Cahill clean sweeps Mikel Arteta; However, his shot was saved by Edwin van der Sar. The rebound fell to Leon Osma, and a through ball from Steven Pienaar saw the South African forward slot in from close range.
United didn’t take that initial setback lying down. They went on the attack and would soon find an equaliser. A well-weighted cross from Nani found Darren Fletcher, who slotted home from the six-yard box.
They also went on to break honours, but the second half was a very different story.
joint storm led
When the second half started at 1-1, it looked like both the teams had everything to play for. But it was United who struck the key early on.
Once again the grandmother became the provider. He headed a cross in from a corner, but it was cleared by an Everton man. The ball went straight to Paul Scholes, who almost went for a shot but instead played it to Nani on the right.
The Portuguese winger played another brilliant ball which was headed in by Nemanja Vidic. 2-1 United with 2 minutes left in the second half.
Encouraged by this, United pressed ahead in search of a second goal. However, it would only arrive about twenty minutes after the other.
Scholes collected the ball from a deep position, playing a wonderful through ball for Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian striker took the ball in his stride and ran with it before calmly slotting past Tim Howard.
Everton continued to look for a goal but the game was looking settled at this point, much to the frustration of manager David Moyes.
However, things would change in the 90 seconds after injury time.
Everton steals point in Premier League classic
With just over a minute of stoppage time remaining, Everton went ahead in search of a half chance. Pienaar played a through ball to Marouane Fellaini, who played it wide for Leighton Baines.
Baines spelled a wonderful cross which was met by Cahill, who did not celebrate. He ran in only to get the ball and start the game again. 3-2 now but it still looked like a consolation goal and nothing more.
However, there was now a spring in Everton’s footsteps and United looked to be in genuine trouble. Thus, it was no surprise to anyone when the home team again led with the second count down.
Pienaar was probing down the left and found Baines on the overlap. He played in another inch-perfect cross, only this time Cahill could not head it towards goal.
He was cleared of the crowd by United’s defence, and as such, a shot on goal was not an option. Instead, he gently passed it to Arteta, who was lurking on the edge of the box.
The Spaniard pounced on the ball as no one had picked it up. His shot took a deflection off Fletcher but flew into the back of the net. 3-3.
Amazingly, Everton could have had a fourth. They launched a sharp counter-attack in the final seconds, and Arteta played Phil Jagielka.
However, the centre-back shot straight at Van der Sar. Not that it mattered as he was flagged offside anyway.
But the game ended at 3-3. It was a modern Premier League classic in many ways. And some might argue that Everton didn’t deserve the point.