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It’s fair to say that defending isn’t quite what it used to be, with much of the onus in modern football now on attacking and scoring goals.
It’s undoubtedly worrying for many clubs who often pride themselves on defensive diligence, but a joy for neutral fans and those seeking to be entertained as the game unfolds before their eyes.
This season’s Premier League has already witnessed some incredible, high-scoring battles, but Aston Villa’s 7-2 thumping of champions Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur’s 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United somehow fall short of the record number of goals for a single match in the competition.
We take a look at the top five highest scoring Premier League games of all time.
1. Portsmouth 7-4 Reading (29 September 2007)
With an astonishing 11 goals scored, this fixture boasts the most goals in a single match in the competition. The remarkable meeting has gone down in history thanks to the extraordinary, end-to-end nature of ruthless attacking and shameful defending that took place throughout the afternoon.
Even more incredibly, the hosts went into the half-time break just 2-1 up. Pompey striker Benjani did his best to steal the headlines with a hat-trick, but much of the post-match reaction focused on the final scoreline, which included six goals in the final 20 minutes of the match.
2. Spurs 6-4 Reading (29 December 2007)
Extraordinarily, after coming off badly in an 11-goal thriller, Reading were then involved in a ten-goal thriller exactly three months later. The result was slightly different, but the outcome was the same, with the Royals ending the season in the relegation zone by goal difference alone.
Once again, the major shock resides in the fact that nothing could separate the sides at 1-1 at the halfway stage, before iconic striker Dimitar Berbatov took matters into his own hands, adding three more goals to his early opener as Spurs came from 4-3 down to win the match.
3. Spurs 9-1 Wigan (22 November 2009)
Two years later and Spurs were at it again in front of goal, this time putting nine past poorly Wigan at White Hart lane. In keeping with the high-scoring games that had come before it, this one was, sensationally, just 1-0 to the home side after 45 minutes.
But that all changed soon after, with Jermain Defoe netting one of the quickest hat-tricks in Premier League history, with his three strikes coming just seven minutes apart. The pacey forward added two more to his tally soon after, with Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar also on the scoresheet.
4. Man United 8-2 Arsenal (28 August 2011)
Arguably the most famous of the league’s highest scoring encounters, both Manchester United and Arsenal fans – and indeed many neutrals – will never forget this drubbing at Old Trafford. United were in fine form going into the game, starting off their title defence with three wins from three.
The Gunners certainly weren’t helped by a red-card to Carl Jenkinson late on, but by that stage the game was already well and truly out of their grasp. Wayne Rooney made the headlines with a signature hat-trick, with Ashley Young scoring a brace as Arsenal suffered their heaviest league defeat since 1927.
5. Arsenal 7-3 Newcastle (29 December 2012)
Fortunately Arsene Wenger managed to conduct a huge league victory of his own a year later, with Newcastle their victims in a ten-goal thriller at the Emirates as the hosts secured four wins on the bounce.
In a central striker role, Theo Walcott was undoubtedly the hero of the afternoon, with his three goals and two assists clinching victory in a game where his side lost the lead on three occasions. The Gunners would go on to clinch a spot in the top four that season, one point ahead of fierce rivals Spurs.