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Premier League: remembering the most iconic moments of the year

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 2:46 IST

It has been quite a year in the Premier League, the world's most watched domestic football competition. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea stamped their authority in the first half of the year, winning their fourth league title in 11 seasons. However, the year ended with the London club showing Mourinho the door after a wretched start to the season.

On the other hand, Leicester City, who started the year at the bottom of the league table, and avoided the drop with a string of wins late into the season, are at the top of the table in the new season at Christmas. The Claudio Ranieri-managed side has managed to defy all critics and keep punching above their weight this season.

The year 2015 has given some highly memorable moments to the Premier League fans from across the globe. Here is a look, in chronological order, at the 10 most iconic of the lot:

Juan Mata scores wonder-goal to give United win over Liverpool - 22 March, 2015
Juan Mata. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Manchester United and Liverpool were separated by just two points when the Louis van Gaal-managed side visited Anfield in late-March. With Liverpool in good form, United needed some inspiration to get ahead in the race for the top-4. They found it in the form of Juan Mata, who scored two elegant goals, including an acrobatic scissor-kick finish, to help United to a 2-1 victory.

To compound Liverpool's misery, skipper Steven Gerrard, who was playing in his last game against United, was sent off just seconds after entering the pitch in the second half, following a stamp on United's Ander Herrera.

United come from behind to win Manchester derby - 12 April, 2015
Fellaini. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

United's big-game aptitude in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era has often come under scrutiny. However, manager Louis Van Gaal managed to shut all of the club's doubters up following this game against fierce local rivals Manchester City. The Dutchman produced a tactical masterclass as United came from a goal behind to beat City 4-2.

Eden Hazard clinches Premier League title for Chelsea - 3 May, 2015
Eden Hazard. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Going into the game against Crystal Palace, Chelsea needed just three more points from their remaining games to secure the league title. A few minutes before half-time, Eden Hazard stepped up to take a penalty for the London club. Hazard's initial shot was saved, but the Belgian headed in the rebound to help his club to a 1-0 win. Chelsea, in the process, lifted their first league title since 2010.

Sunderland's great escape under Dick Advocaat - 20 May, 2015
Sunderland. Photo: Twitter/sunderlandafc

Photo: Twitter/sunderlandafc

Sunderland looked set for relegation when Dick Advocaat was appointed the manager of Sunderland in mid-March. The Dutchman, however, didn't take long in turning the club's fortunes around. Back-to-back wins over Southampton and Everton in early-May boosted Sunderland's chances of survival, and in their penultimate game of the season, they took a point off Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium to beat the drop.

An emotional Dick Advocaat shed a few tears following the goalless draw, which ensured that Sunderland would play their 9th consecutive season in the Premier League in 2015-16.

Cancer-survivor Jonas Gutierrez ensures Premier League survival for Newcastle - 24 May, 2015
Jonas Gutierrez. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

After a battle with testicular cancer, which saw Gutierrez sidelined from football for a few months, the Argentine footballer returned to the pitch in March, earlier this year. In their last game of the season, Newcastle needed a win against West Ham to ensure survival.

With a nervy 1-0 lead late into the game, Gutierrez came on as a substitute and scored for his side in the 85th minute to remove all possibilities of relegation for Newcastle.

Anthony Martial scores in United debut vs Liverpool - 12 September, 2015
Anthony Martial. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

After a big-money move from Monaco to United, which saw the English club reportedly pay Monaco an initial sum of 36 million pounds, Anthony Martial saw himself hounded by the British press. The Frenchman made his debut against Liverpool at Old Trafford, with minutes remaining in the game and United leading 2-1.

Cutting in from the left, Martial finished exquisitely to hand United a 3-1 win. His finger-in-lips celebration said it all, as the youngster managed to shut the media up with a dream debut performance.

Arsenal destroy United at the Emirates - 4 October, 2015
Arsenal. Photo: Twitter/arsenal

Photo: Twitter/arsenal

Arsenal hadn't beaten United in the league since 2011, and the latter were in good form heading into the game at theEmirates, having won their last three games. However, a 13-minute blitzkrieg saw Arsenal race into a stunning 3-0 lead within the first 20 minutes itself, leaving the United backline completely stunned.

The 20-time English champions failed to come back in the the game, and the Gunners held on for a famous victory.

Jurgen Klopp's inspired Liverpool side humiliate Manchester City at Etihad - 21 November, 2015
Liverpool. Photo: Twitter/LFC

Photo: Twitter/LFC

There is no doubting the fact that Liverpool have greatly improved as an attacking unit under new manager Jurgen Klopp. There couldn't have been any better evidence of the same than Liverpool's emphatic win over Manchester City in November. The Reds put on arguably their best performance of the year, as they humiliated City by a scoreline of 4-1 at the latter's own Etihad Stadium.

Jamie Vardy breaks Van Nistelrooy's record with goal vs United - 28 November, 2015
Jamie Vardy. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Leicester City's Premier League journey under Claudio Ranieri has been nothing short of phenomenal this season. Among others, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have been the two standout players for the club. Vardy's goals, in particular, have been vital, and have helped the club stay at the top of the standings till Christmas.

In late November, he broke Ruud van Nistelrooy's record of scoring in 10 league games in a row when he scored against the Dutchman's former club, Manchester United, with a right-footed finish from a tight angle. Vardy's performances saw him win the Premier League Player of the Month award for November, becoming the fifth ever player to win the accolade in two consecutive months.

Mahrez and Vardy combine to relieve Mourinho of his Chelsea job - 14 December, 2015
Leicester City. Photo: Twitter/premierleague

Photo: Twitter/premierleague

With 8 defeats from 15 games, Chelsea's chances of retaining the title were as good as over by early December. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea future was said to be on the line when his side visited Leicester on 14 December. Things didn't go down well for Mourinho and Chelsea, as Vardy and Mahrez scored to hand Leicester a 2-1 win. Mourinho was relieved of his duties by the club a couple of days after the defeat.

First published: 26 December 2015, 5:56 IST