The best Boxing Day games of all-time - ranked

Daniel Feliciano
Dec 25, 2020, 2:00 PM GMT
Thierry Henry enjoyed Boxing Day in 2000
Thierry Henry enjoyed Boxing Day in 2000 / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
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It's that time of year again: when football fans get to eat leftover turkey, have a drink without worrying about work the next day and watch the beautiful game all day long.

Boxing Day is traditionally a football-filled extravaganza and has previously seen some of the craziest fixtures of the season played out on that date.

2020's offering is pretty mouthwatering, with Chelsea travelling to take on north London rivals Arsenal, while high-flying Leicester host a resurgent Manchester United.

Lets take a look at the best games to have ever been played on 26 December.

11. Coventry 3-2 Arsenal - 1999

A young Robbie Keane put Arsenal to the sword
A young Robbie Keane put Arsenal to the sword / Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Once upon a time, Coventry were a competitive Premier League outfit. Their team consisted of Moroccan superstar Mustapha Hadji, Scotsman Gary McAllister and a little-known Irish prospect by the name of Robbie Keane.

All three of them were on the scoresheet in this game as Gordon Strachan's Sky Blues put Arsène Wenger's side to the sword to dent the Gunners' title charge.

10. Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool - 1978

Having failed to score in their last five visits to Old Trafford and being denied an unprecedented treble in the FA Cup final two years prior, Liverpool turned up to ruin Christmas for Manchester United.

Bob Paisley's side dominated proceedings as Ray Kennedy, Jimmy Case and a wonderful solo strike from David Fairclough were enough on the day. According to the Liverpool Echo, United fans actually applauded Fairclough's goal, which tells you all you need to know about it.

9. Hull City 2-3 Manchester United - 2013

Rooney scored as Manchester United completed a comeback
Rooney scored as Manchester United completed a comeback / Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

David Moyes' only Boxing Day fixture as Manchester United boss was one to remember.

Relegation battlers Hull were the hosts and they took a shock 2-0 lead inside 13 minutes thanks to James Chester and David Meyler goals. United battled back though and were level before the half-hour mark, thanks to Chris Smalling's header and a stunning Wayne Rooney volley. An Antonio Valencia cross in the second half saw Chester head into his own net as Moyes' side completed the comeback.

It was also the game that saw the return of Darren Fletcher from ulcerative collitis. Two Christmas miracles in one.

8. Manchester City 5-1 Hull City - 2008

A game remembered for what happened on the pitch at half-time more than what happened on the pitch during the game.

As Man City and Hull battled it out at the Etihad Stadium, the day started with the Blues in the relegation zone and the Tigers in the top six. It didn't play out that way on the pitch as two goals each from Felipe Caicedo and Robinho saw City 4-0 up at the break.

This led to manager Phil Brown doing his team talk on the pitch in front of the crowd, where he berated his players publicly. He apologised to the fans after the game for the performance as they fell to a 5-1 defeat.

7. Stoke 3-2 Sheffield Wednesday - 2019

A very recent entry, as these two sides met each other in the Championship just last season.

Stoke took the lead through winger James McClean after just 11 minutes before two goals in seven second-half minutes saw Sheffield Wednesday turn the game on it's head thanks to Morgan Fox and Tom Lees.

Stoke then turned up the pressure and the Owls collapsed in injury time. Tyrese Campbell equalised in the 93rd minute with an acrobatic volley in the box before Sam Vokes poked home the winner in the 97th after a goalmouth scramble. Scenes.

6. Arsenal 6-1 Leicester City - 2000

Thierry Henry got his first Arsenal hat-trick in this game
Thierry Henry got his first Arsenal hat-trick in this game / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A memorable game back in 2000 as Arsenal's king Thierry Henry got his first Premier League hat-trick in his 50th appearance in a 6-1 win over a poor Leicester City side.

The Gunners were in the title race and took the lead thanks to Henry in the 33rd minute, before Leicester changed their system to try to cope. It didn't stop Patrick Vieira doubling the lead though just after half-time. Ade Akinbiyi pulled one back before the Henry show really began.

He turned the defender and slotted left-footed through the legs of Tim Flowers before sealing his hat-trick after rounding the keeper. Freddie Ljungberg and Tony Adams also got on the scoresheet in a huge win.

5. Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham - 2017

A Premier League classic between these two sides
A Premier League classic between these two sides / Steve Bardens/Getty Images

A crazily yoyo-ing game saw both teams throw away leads late on to share the points in 2017.

West Ham took an early lead thanks to James Collins' header before Bournemouth fought back through goals from Dan Gosling and Nathan Ake. They held the lead until the 81st minute, when Marko Arnautovic pounced on a mistake from Asmir Begovic to equalise. He then scored a second in the 89th minute from close range to snatch the three points...or so he thought.

Bournemouth fought back once again and controversially got an injury-time equaliser when an offside Callum Wilson diverted the ball into the goal via his hand, and the referee overruled his linesman to give the goal anyway. Utter chaos.

4. Bolton 4-3 Newcastle United - 2002

Michael Ricketts breaks through the Newcastle defence
Michael Ricketts breaks through the Newcastle defence / Michael Steele/Getty Images

An absolutely crazy game in the Premier League as Bolton Wanderers edged out Newcastle at the Reebok Stadium in 2002.

Jay-Jay Okocha gave the home side the lead with a powerful strike from the edge of the box, before Alan Shearer equalised just minutes later. Ricardo Gardner's stunning free-kick found the top corner to restore Bolton's lead before a Michael Ricketts double made it 4-1 just after the hour mark.

Newcastle fought back though, as Shola Ameobi's deflected strike made it 4-2 before Shearer scored a rocket from 25 yards out to worry the home fans, but Sam Allardyce's men held out for the win in a thrilling game.

3. Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United - 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson's final Boxing Day game was one to remember as the Red Devils grabbed yet another late goal to take all three points.

James Perch gave the Magpies the early lead before Jonny Evans equalised from close range. Just three minutes later though Evans deflected a strike into his own net to restore the visitors' lead. Patrice Evra equalised again for the Reds in the second half with a low drive into the bottom corner, only for Newcastle to retake the lead again thanks to Papiss Cisse.

Robin van Persie equalised for a third time for United with 12 minutes remaining before Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez scored the winner in the final minute to seal a memorable win for the Old Trafford side.

2. Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa - 2007

An absolutely ridiculous game of football, to put it simply.

Aston Villa took the lead at Stamford Bridge through Shaun Maloney before a handling error from Petr Cech allowed the Scot to double his and Villa's tally. Andriy Shevchenko (remember him?) pulled one back from the spot just before half-time for the Blues, before the Ukrainian scored an absolute screamer to equalise.

Shevchenko then got an assist for Alex to give Chelsea the lead, before Villa fought back to level terms thanks to Martin Laursen's effort. Chelsea then retook the lead thanks to a Michael Ballack free-kick with two minutes to play, before an Ashley Cole handball allowed Gareth Barry to equalise from the spot in injury time.

1. All of them - 1963

What's better than one crazy Boxing Day game? Well how about ten crazy Boxing Day games on the same Boxing Day?

That's what happened in 1963 as 18 teams combined for 66 goals during one match day, including Fulham scoring ten and Blackburn scoring eight. Manchester United were thumped by Burnley too, while West Brom and Spurs shared eight goals between them.

It's a classic graphic that gets rolled out year on year, but crikey: what a day of football.

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