The biggest half-time leads in Premier League history

  • Arsenal marched into 5-0 half-time lead over Sheffield United in March 2024
  • Man City and Liverpool have previously enjoyed rampant opening 45-minute spells
  • Steven Gerrard's last Reds game saw his side concede five goals in one half at Stoke
Arsenal swarmed all over Sheffield United
Arsenal swarmed all over Sheffield United / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Once Sweden scored their fifth goal against Cuba in the quarter-final of the 1938 World Cup, the French reporter Emmanuel Gambardella stopped firing away on his typewriter.

"Up to five goals is journalism," he declared. "After that, it is statistics." One can only imagine what the former president of the French Football Federation would have made of this article.

On no fewer than seven separate occasions, a Premier League team has rifled five goals past their opponent before the half-time interval (Sweden had only been 4-0 up at the break against Cuba).

Here is a look at the English top-flight matches which Gambardella wouldn't have bothered coming back from half-time for.

Sheffield United 0-6 Arsenal

Kai Havertz
Arsenal roared into a 5-0 lead at Bramall Lane / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Half-time score: Sheffield United 0-5 Arsenal

The gulf in class between Premier League title hopefuls Arsenal and doomed relegation candidates Sheffield United was clear to see in this clash in March 2024.

Martin Odegaard had put the Gunners ahead in the fifth minute before Jayden Bogle's own goal and another strike from Gabriel Martinelli made it 3-0.

Two further efforts from Kai Havertz and Declan Rice put Mikel Arteta's side well on their way to another impressive victory.

Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Bolton (1997)

Paolo Di Canio
Paolo Di Canio opened the scoring / Clive Mason/GettyImages

Half-time score: Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Bolton

Sheffield Wednesday were almost propelled into the atmosphere by the new-manager bounce the Owls enjoyed in November 1997. A week after a 6-1 reverse against Manchester United ended David Pleat's reign, caretaker boss Peter Shreeves oversaw the club's largest top-flight win in three years.

West Ham cult hero Paulo Di Canio scored 20 minutes in to kick off proceedings, with Guy Whittingham firing home just six minutes after.

An Andy Booth hat trick was the icing on the cake as all three of the home side's frontmen had stamped their authority in the opening half.

Burnley 1-6 Man City (2010)

Vincent Kompany, Patrick Vieira
Vincent Kompany and Patrick Vieira were integral to their side's dominant display / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Half-time score: Burnley 0-5 Man City

A torrential downpour during the half-time interval raised genuine concerns that Burnley's league meeting with Manchester City may have to be abandoned. Given the yawning 5-0 lead the visitors boasted, they would have been within their rights to declare.

Within seven minutes, goals from Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez had City 3-0 up. Former Arsenal man Patrick Vieira then made it four before Adebayor doubled his tally just before the interval.

The five-goal difference was, however, the extent of the drubbing as both Burnley and Manchester City notched second-half goals once the heavens had emptied.

Stoke 6-1 Liverpool (2015)

Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard's last game at Liverpool ended horrifically / Dave Thompson/GettyImages

Half-time score: Stoke 5-0 Liverpool

Steven Gerrard described his Liverpool debut as "an absolute dream". The legendary captain's last outing for the Reds was an unmitigated nightmare.

Mame Biram Diouf began the rout with two goals in quick succession for Stoke City before Jonathan Walters, Charlie Adam and Steven N'Zonzi piled on the pressure.

Gerrard swatted in a not-so-consolatory consolation before his former teammate Peter Crouch twisted the knife with Stoke's sixth on the final day of the 2014/15 season.

Man City 8-0 Watford (2019)

Manchester City v Watford FC - Premier League
Manchester City's home crowd were understandably in good spirits / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Half-time score: Man City 5-0 Watford

David Silva's opener within the first minute was a sign of things to come as Sergio Aguero joined him six minutes later from the spot. It only took another five minutes for Riyad Mahrez to add to the drubbing.

Bernardo Silva scored the first of his eventual hat-trick as Watford heads began to hang. Surprise scorer Nicolas Otamendi topped off an exemplary 20 minutes to see City roar 5-0 into the lead.

However, Pep Guardiola's side were not done there. A further three were netted when the teams returned to action following the break, thanks to a second-half Bernardo double and assister-turned-scorer Kevin De Bruyne.

Southampton 0-9 Leicester City (2019)

Youri Tielemans, James Maddison, Wilfred Ndidi
The Leicester players sharing a special moment with their travelling fans / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Half-time score: Southampton 0-5 Leicester City

A student of the game, Jonny Evans would have been well aware of the record Leicester equalled after taking a 5-0 lead into the interval against Southampton in 2019.

It was Ben Chilwell who opened the scoring, but a brace from Ayoze Perez followed sharply after. Youri Tielemans extended the cushion before the talismanic Jamie Vardy scored Leicester's fifth of the half.

It was the statistically savvy skipper that implored his side to keep their foot on the throttle after the break. Evans' colleagues heeded his cajoling and successfully chased down the record for the largest away win in English top-flight history.

Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth (2022)

Liverpool FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
The final score ended 9-0, with five of these coming in the first-half / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Half-time score: Liverpool 5-0 Bournemouth

While the scoreline convinced Bournemouth manager Scott Parker to publicly decree that his side were "ill-equipped at this level", Liverpool enjoyed a freak finishing glut in August 2022.

Four of the first six shots which Liverpool took on Bournemouth's Anfield arrival ended in the back of the net. Virgil van Dijk thumped in a record-equalling fifth before the half-time break but the rout wouldn't stop there.

Mark Travers belatedly dirtied his gloves between the Bournemouth posts but couldn't prevent Roberto Firmino, Fabio Carvalho or Luis Diaz adding to deluge.

Newcastle 6-1 Tottenham (2023)

Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Tottenham's patchy away fans as the goals began to mount up / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Half-time score: Newcastle 5-0 Tottenham

You know it's bad when your goalkeeper gets hooked after 45 minutes of football. A catalogue of errors saw Champions League-chasing Newcastle net five past Hugo Lloris in the space of 21 crippling first-half minutes.

After watching their captain make one save before the break - which only served to parry Joelinton's shot into the path of Jacob Murphy for a tap-in - numerous embittered Tottenham fans made for St James' Park exits with more than three-quarters of the contest remaining. Few could begrudge that decision.