Premier League 2015-16 — the five best games


London (AFP) – With another dramatic Premier League season at an end, AFP Sport looks back at the five best matches of the 2015-16 campaign:

Manchester City 1 Leicester City 3

Rarely can a goal from Sergio Aguero have been greeted with such apathy, but the sound of the Manchester City star’s irrelevant late strike barely being acknowledged by the chastened home support told the story of a defining day in the title race. Leicester arrived at Eastlands in February regarded in some quarters as a novelty act, whose time at the top would soon be over once a superpower like City had finished with them. But by the end of a bravura Leicester display, it was clear Claudio Ranieri’s side were more than capable of completing their fairytale title bid. Robert Huth met Riyad Mahrez’s free-kick to give the Foxes an early lead and Mahrez doubled the lead himself with a cool finish before German defender Huth sealed the points with another header to leave City stunned.

Norwich City 4 Liverpool 5

Arguably the most dramatic match of the season featured Liverpool’s inconsistent attack at its dynamic best and Norwich’s creaky defence at its very worst. Liverpool took the lead through Roberto Firmino before Norwich hit back with goals from Dieumerci Mbokani and Steven Naismith before half-time. Wes Hoolahan’s penalty gave the hosts a 3-1 lead early in the second half. But back came Jurgen Klopp’s team and three goals in 20 minutes from Jordan Henderson, Firmino and James Milner made it 4-3 with 15 minutes to go. Sebastien Bassong looked to have rescued a point for Norwich in the 92nd minute, but Alex Neil’s side showed why they were destined for relegation by immediately losing focus and allowing Liverpool substitute Adam Lallana to volley home a 95th-minute winner.

Liverpool 3 Arsenal 3

Few teams in the Premier League can surpass Arsenal for their jarring ability to combine moments of jaw-dropping brilliance and astounding ineptitude. Never was that frustrating split-personality more visible than at Anfield in January, in a game that became an instant classic. With a suitably dramatic snowstorm providing the backdrop, Liverpool playmaker Roberto Firmino scored twice in the first 20 minutes, including a superb long-range effort, either side of Aaron Ramsey’s equaliser for Arsenal. Olivier Giroud netted twice for the Gunners to put them 3-2 ahead by the 55th minute, but Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen capped a breathless encounter when he slammed home a 90th-minute equaliser.

Newcastle United 3 Manchester United 3

At first glance this January meeting between a Newcastle team painfully short of attacking quality and a Manchester United side constrained by manager Louis van Gaal’s tactical conservatism should have been forgettably drab. Instead, they banished those preconceptions with a six-goal thriller. Wayne Rooney’s penalty and Jesse Lingard’s strike seemingly put United in control before Georginio Wijnaldum and Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty levelled the scores. Rooney’s sublime long-range second restored United’s advantage in the 79th minute, only for Newcastle defender Paul Dummett to salvage a draw in the last minute.

Leicester City 3 Aston Villa 2

Claudio Ranieri’s side gave an early indication of their title credentials with a stirring September fightback, while Villa’s dispiriting slide towards relegation was already underway. Villa should have strolled to victory after doubling the lead they held at half-time through Carles Gil’s 63rd-minute goal, but Richie De Laet and Jamie Vardy equalised before Nathan Dyer’s 89th minute strike left Villa feeling like they had been smashed in the solar plexus and sent Leicester into orbit.

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