Top ten matches of the 2015-16 Premier League season

Leave a comment

All week at ProSoccerTalk we are reviewing the dramatic 2015-16 Premier League season. From dishing out awards to looking back at the highs and lows as 20 teams battled it out, we’ll have every angle covered.

MORE: All 2015-16 PL season reviews ]

For the full archive of our review content, just hit the link above. Now, it’s time to take a look back at the ten best matches from the 2015-16 Premier League season.


September 13, 2015: Leicester City 3-2 Aston Villa

Unbeaten through four matches, it looked like Leicester would suffer their first loss of the season as they trailed Aston Villa by two goals with less than 20 minutes to play. But then, a miraculous comeback capped off by Nathan Dyer’s 89th minute winner handed the Foxes another three points, showing a spirit and fight that was omnipresent during Leicester’s title run.

November 28, 2015: Bournemouth 3-3 Everton

When the clock showed 80 minutes, Everton led this match 2-0. However, the Cherries fought back to tie the score at two after quick goals from Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas, only to have Ross Barkley silence the Vitality Stadium with what looked to be the game-winner in the 95th minute. However, Everton’s long celebration led to added stoppage time, with Stanislas grabbing a last-gasp equalizer with the final kick of the ball as the clock hit 98′.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: Junior Stanislas (1st R) of Bournemouth celebrates scoring his team's third goal with his team mates during the Barclays Premier League match between A.F.C. Bournemouth and Everton at Vitality Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
(Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

December 28, 2015: Everton 3-4 Stoke City

0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3, 3-4. Look away Everton fans, it’s another blown lead for the Toffees. After twice drawing level from a goal down, Everton took their first lead of the match in the 71st minute when Gerard Deulofeu put the home-side ahead 3-2. Finally in the driver’s seat, Everton collapsed in the closing minutes, allowing Joselu to equalize before Marko Arnautovic buried Stoke’s winner from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

January 13, 2016: Liverpool 3-3 Arsenal

Liverpool and Arsenal combined for six goals in a snowy thriller at Anfield that ended with a 90th minute equalizer from Reds’ substitute Joe Allen. After 25 minutes the scoreline read 2-2 as a Roberto Firmino brace canceled out goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. Giroud would get his own brace in the second half to put the Gunners in front until Allen’s late tally split the points.

January 16, 2016: Chelsea 3-3 Everton

Everton supporters must really be hating this list. Once again the Toffees led this match 2-0, but quickfire goals from Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas knotted the score at two. Everton thought they won the match when Ramiro Funes Mori scored the Toffees’ third in the 90th minute, only to see John Terry equalize in the 98th to steal a point for Chelsea in his 700th Premier League appearance for the Blues.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback – What did we learn from the 2015-16 season? ]

January 23, 2016: Norwich City 4-5 Liverpool

Nine goals scored from ten shots on target could give Liverpool’s epic win over Norwich the crown for match of the season. The Canaries led 3-1 in the 54th minute, then found themselves down 4-3 just 20 minutes later. Sebastien Bassong thought he won back a point for Norwich with their fourth goal in the 92nd, but Adam Lallana found Liverpool a winner in the 95th, highlighted by a classic Jurgen Klopp moment in which the Reds’ boss broke his glasses while celebrating with a shirtless Lallana.

February 6, 2016: Manchester City 1-3 Leicester City

An emphatic win at the Etihad put Leicester six points clear at the top of the table and had people thinking, “Maybe they can pull this off.” Robert Huth put the Foxes ahead inside the opening three minutes, with Riyad Mahrez doubling their lead with a brilliant individual effort just after the break. Huth would score again to put Leicester up 3-0 as a team of misfits tore apart the one of the most expensive starting lineups in football history.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 06: Robert Huth (3rd L) of Leicester City celebrates scoring his team's first goal with his team mate Shinji Okazaki (2nd R) during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
(Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

April 9, 2016: West Ham United 3-3 Arsenal

With Arsenal still in pursuit of the Premier League title, a 2-0 lead on the road seemed like the perfect position to be in. Enter: Andy Carroll. The big West Ham striker grabbed a hat-trick in just eight minutes as Upton Park erupted, only to see Laurent Koscielny pull the Gunners back as the match finished a 3-3 draw. The result effectively ended Arsenal’s title hopes but was a thrilling 90 minutes in the final London derby at Upton Park.

May 2, 2016: Chelsea 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham needed a win to keep their title hopes alive, and sitting 2-0 up at halftime, Spurs were in control. However, second half goals from Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard leveled things up to hand Leicester City the title. The final minutes of this match were overshadowed by a bench-clearing altercation that saw Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink take a tumble.

May 10, 2016: West Ham United 3-2 Manchester United

The final match at Upton Park was one of the more memorable ones, as West Ham went 1-0 up and 2-1 down before coming from behind to win by a final score of 3-2. Winston Reid scored the game-winner in the 80th minute, the final goal ever scored at West Ham’s fabled ground.

Bartomeu vows Messi will finish career at Barcelona

Messi staying with Barcelona
Photo by Pablo Morano/MB Media/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lionel Messi will finish his career at Barcelona, says embattled president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

The exit clause in Messi’s latest Barcelona contract expired on June 1, putting a temporary end to worries that the world’s top player would leave a messy Barcelona season.

Messi, 33, is still near the top of his powers. He has 22 goals and 19 assists in 29 La Liga appearances this season, adding five goals and four assists in nine cup games.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

“(Messi) will end his working and footballing life at Barcelona”, said Bartomeu in a Monday radio interview. “We are negotiating with many players but Messi has explained to us he wants to stay. And so we’re going to enjoy him for much longer.”

Only four players in Europe’s top five leagues have scored more league goals than Messi and none of those players has more than eight assists. Messi’s 19 La Liga assists are two behind Thomas Muller in that same group.

It had been reported since November that Messi would not exercise his option to leave the club, but there were numerous reasons to think he might rethink things given problems at Barcelona.

There has been chaos in the board room and players including Messi were angry to be thrown under the proverbial bus when Ernesto Valverde was fired early this year.

Notably, he called Barcelona “home” but noted “weird things happening” at the Camp Nou. Fortunately, the club announced that an independent inspector cleared Barca’s hierarchy of wrongdoing after allegations that a third-party company contracted to the club tried to smear current and former club legends on social media.

Bartomeu needs Messi to stay as the club waits for Frenkie de Jong and Ansu Fati to come into the peaks of their powers. If the Argentine leaves Barca, who looks destined to finish second to Real Madrid despite leading the table for most of the year, the pressure on the president will reach an even higher level.

The president has overseen a mostly successful time at Barca during his tenure, winning four domestic titles and the 2014-15 Champions League.

FC Dallas withdrawn from MLS is Back tourney; Vela to sit out

FC Dallas withdraws from MLS is Back
Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Carlos Vela’s decision to sit out the MLS is Back tournament has been one-upped by reports that MLS has pulled an entire team out of the fray in Florida.

Vela, considered by many to be the league’s top player, is opting out of representing LAFC and choosing to spend time with his pregnant wife and children.

The Mexican star, 31, said he would love to play but the coronavirus pandemic means missing out is in “the best interest of the health of my family to stay home and be with my wife during what is a risky pregnancy.”

[ MORE: Mourinho, Lloris react to Son spat ]

LAFC released a statement supporting Vela’s “difficult decision,” which will not help the West’s top side in its bid to outlast the Galaxy, Houston, and Portland in Group F, should the tournament go forward as planned.

Meanwhile, FC Dallas’ bad month has gotten much worse. Six players reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 last week and reports grew to include 10 players and one coach.

The side’s opening match against Vancouver was postponed on Saturday. Now FC Dallas says it is supporting an MLS decision to take the team out of the tournament. FC Dallas says it will take every precaution to make sure its return to Texas “minimizes risk of exposure to all parties involved.”

Dallas was drawn into Group B with Seattle, Vancouver, and San Jose. Two of the teams were set to advance to the knockout rounds.

Here is MLS’ statement on FC Dallas’ withdrawal:

“Major League Soccer announced today that FC Dallas have been withdrawn from the MLS is Back Tournament due to 10 players and one member of the technical staff confirmed positive for COVID-19. Each of these positive tests either occurred upon the club’s arrival or within a few days of arrival. The decision was made in the best interest of the health of all players and staff participating in the tournament, and in line with protocols created in conjunction with local and national health authorities and infectious disease experts.
“’Given the impact of the number of positive tests on the club’s ability to train and play competitive matches, we have made the decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS is Back Tournament,’ said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. ‘The health of everyone involved in our return to play has always been our top priority, and we will continue to make decisions consistent with that priority.’
Of the 557 players currently in Orlando, Fla. 13 total players have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, 10 of those being FC Dallas players and the remaining three from two other clubs.”

Mourinho: ‘Nice boys only win the fair play cup’

Leave a comment

The reaction to two Tottenham players having a scrap was very on brand for Jose Mourinho.

[ MORE: Premier League standings ]

Mourinho called a half time coming-together between captain Hugo Lloris and star forward Heung-min Son ‘beautiful’ and praised the fighting spirit of his players as they beat Everton 1-0.

Speaking to reporters via Zoom after the win, Mourinho made a point that he wants his Tottenham side to be nastier as he was asked about saying they needed to grow up.

“A team of good boys, nice boys, the only thing that they win at the end of the season is the fair play cup. Which is something I’ve never won and I’m not interested in winning that,” Mourinho said. “You need to have a certain character. You need to grow up in terms of your mentality, in your responsibility because it is very, very important to be consistent. To have a good game, win a match, then lose the other one, then win another one, then draw another one. That is the kind of mentality that doesn’t take you further in your ambitions. It is not a specific concept but it is a concept that covers many, many areas. I think it is very, very important. I don’t like a team without communication, without demanding from each other. I don’t like a team without a critical sense. Probably what happened today at half time shouldn’t happen there, should happen just inside the dressing room, but I can promise you my teams, my winning teams, we had big fights in the team.”

That Jose Mourinho reaction said it all as to what he expects from Tottenham. He certainly knows all about winning and that is why Tottenham hired him.

A narrow win to beat Everton at home to move in to eighth place, nine points off the top four, probably isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things but Mourinho loved what he saw.

“I think they are the same thing, the same spirit,” Mourinho said when ProSoccerTalk asked him about the fight of his players on and off the pitch. “We spoke a lot after the game at Sheffield United and one of the things we spoke about was to have a critical sense, to be open with each other and be demanding with each other. Don’t accept the attitude. Don’t be passive in relation to the others. I think that was a consequence of that. The performance was very solid. My feeling was that the game was under control and I never felt the game wasn’t under control.

“Could we play better? Could we score more? Yes, of course. I always fear matches after bad defeats because sometimes you stay in the bad defeats. Sometimes you carry to the match the weight of the bad performances, the weight of the critics and the boys were great in their attitude. They really fought hard for the three points and in this moment of the season the most important thing is the points, to try to finish in the best possible position.”

Tottenham are becoming a Mourinho team and that means the play on the pitch won’t be as good to watch as it could be, but he will grind out results like this.

Mourinho was asked about becoming just the fifth manager in Premier League history to win 200 games, with only Sir Alex Ferguson reaching that milestone in fewer matches than him, and this was his response.

“Of course, as you know, I am not a very humble guy, but when you coach three of the best clubs in England you have more chances to get to that,” Mourinho smiled. “Sir Alex did it because all of his career in England was at Manchester United. I did it because I was with Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham. I think nobody asks the coaches without titles that their teams put in 200 amazing performances. You are telling me your teams won 200 Premier League matches. You don’t tell anyone who won nothing, ‘your team had 100 or 200 amazing performances.’ But I want to admit that today I would be even more happy if it was not just a victory, but it was a beautiful victory, I would be more happy and I want my team to do that.”

Mourinho will be playing ‘all I do is win, win, win’ over the radio on his car ride home on Monday. Then he will probably officiate a punch up between Harry Kane and Eric Dier just because.

Lloris explains Son scuffle, which Mourinho deems “beautiful”

Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris explained his halftime dust-up with teammate Heung-min Son, with all in better spirits after a 1-0 home win over Everton on Monday.

Lloris needed to be separated from Son as the two walked off the pitch, though cameras caught them making up at halftime and hugging after the final whistle.

Lilywhite reconciliation.

TOTTENHAM – EVERTON FULL MATCH REPLAY

As our broadcast crew surmised, Lloris was unhappy that Son quit on his press after a giveaway. That led to a Richarlison scoring chance before halftime.

Lloris faced the cameras after completing the clean sheet in North London.

“What happened between me and Sonny is something that’s part of football some times but there’s no problem at all,” Lloris said. “You can see after the game that we are more than happy to be part of the team. … To concede a chance a few seconds before halftime because we don’t have the proper press is annoying but that’s football.”

Spurs manager Jose Mourinho loved it.

“It’s beautiful,” Mourinho said to Sky Sports after the game. “Probably it’s consequence of our meetings. If you want to blame somebody for that, it’s me because I was critical of my boys because they are not critical themselves of each other. I asked them to be more demanding, to put their colleagues under that pressure, that team spirit where you have to do everything for everything.

“An amazing kid that everybody loves like Son, a team boy, but in that situation the captain said you have to do more and give more to the team. A couple of bad words, I don’t know if there was a push, but that’s important for a team to grow up. I was really pleased. At halftime I told them, when you have those reactions I have no doubt you will stick together til the end.”

Mourinho went on, calling back to Spurs’ Thursday loss at Sheffield United which featured a bizarre and controversial decision from VAR chief Michael Oliver to take a goal off the board after a fouled, falling, and looking the other way Lucas Moura had the ball hit his arm prior to a Harry Kane goal.

“It tells me that they care. They were upset, frustrated and probably blaming each other for the last result. I could be very protective of my team and my players and put all the blame on Michael Oliver. A lot of people did it and rightly so but inside I was in the direction of forget Michael Oliver and focus on our performance so today we knew, right?”

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

The North Londoners are one point behind local rivals Arsenal ahead of this weekend’s big derby (though there’s still a Thursday visit to Bournemouth for Spurs).

“We are in a situation we need to fight against,” Lloris said. “We are not happy to be in that position but what’s important today is to say focused on the team and do everything to finish as high as we can. When you play a system like this one, it’s very easy to fall apart as a team. To think about the interest. But today we showed we are ready to fight until the end.”

Spurs will like their chances to win at desperate Bournemouth if they can stay focused on the task at hand and not focus on the North London Derby.