On this day in 2007, Portsmouth and Reading played out an 11-goal thriller at Fratton Park to become the highest scoring match in Premier League history. To mark the occasion, we look through a selection of Premier League goalscoring firsts.
Different Goalscorers for a Team in a Match
Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa (December 23, 2012)
Chelsea turned on the style in this emphatic 8-0 victory over Aston Villa back in December 2012, but importantly for the purposes of this feature, they did it with inclusivity.
Seven different Chelsea players scored a goal in this victory, which broke a Premier League record for the highest tally of teammates to score in a single game in the competition.
Fernando Torres, David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Ramires (2) all netted for the Blues and the record would have been extended to eight, had Lucas Piazon not missed a late penalty with what proved to be his only ever shot in his single Premier League appearance.
For Villa, this was their heaviest competitive defeat in history and came after back-to-back league wins away at Norwich City and Liverpool. It was also the fourth and final time that they deployed Brad Guzan in goal protected by a defence of Nathan Baker, Eric Lichaj, Ciaran Clark and Matt Lowton. Probably for the best, eh.
This record was replicated on February 2, 2021 by Manchester United in their record-equalling 9-0 Premier League victory over Southampton at Old Trafford. Excluding Jan Bednarek’s own goal, Man Utd saw seven of their players score in the win: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial (2), Scott McTominay, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James.
Different Goalscorers in a Match
Tottenham Hotspur 4-5 Arsenal (November 13, 2004)
An enthralling north London derby took place at White Hart Lane in November 2004, with Arsenal just one of six teams to win a Premier League match by a 5-4 scoreline. However, this fixture remains the only one in the history of the competition to see as many as nine different players score a goal.
Strangely, it was only 1-1 at the break, with Noureddine Naybet’s opener for Spurs being cancelled out by Thierry Henry on the stroke of half-time. The second half saw Jermain Defoe, Ledley King and Frédéric Kanouté score in vain for Spurs, as Arsenal’s Lauren, Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires completed one of the best-ever NLD victories.
This was only Martin Jol’s third game in charge at Spurs and it didn’t get much better for the Dutchman in derby games against the Arsenal. During his spell at the club, he failed to win a single game versus the Gunners (D3 L4) while also seeing his Spurs side knocked out of the League Cup in 2006-07 by Arsene Wenger’s team following a 3-5 aggregate defeat in the semis.
Most Goals in a Match
Portsmouth 7-4 Reading (September 29, 2007)
An 11-goal thriller was played out between Portsmouth and Reading in September 2007 – the only game to see this many goals in any of the last 33 top-flight league seasons in England.
This match was both the first in the top division to see 11 goals scored and the first to finish 7-4 since Luton Town’s victory over Oxford United at Kenilworth Road back in February 1988.
29% of the total Premier League goals scored at Fratton Park in 2007-08 arrived in this single game with the other 18 matches at the stadium that season providing an average of just 1.5 goals per game. Just to emphasise how clinical the two teams were on this day, 26 matches in the Premier League that season were to produce more shots than this fixture (35).
Benjani scored a hat-trick to help him reach 12 Premier League goals in 23 appearances for Pompey during 2007-08 – enough to make Sven-Goran Eriksson decide to take him to Manchester City in February of that campaign. He was to score the same number of goals in 657 minutes of pitch time at City that season as he did in the space of 63 minutes in this single game against Reading, however.
Most Penalties Scored in a Match
Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City (September 27, 2020)
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no fans were in English football stadiums and thus nobody witnessed this seven-goal thriller that featured a Jamie Vardy masterclass against Man City…well, apart from those watching at home.
The English striker scored a hat-trick, with two penalties that he’d won himself added to a customary near-post flick. James Maddison went on to win a third penalty in the 86th minute, but as Vardy had been substituted just a minute earlier, Youri Tielemans was the man to slam home a unique record in Premier League history, as Leicester City became the first team in the competition to score three penalties in a single match.
Overall, The Foxes’ Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy has won 21 penalties in the competition – the only Premier League player to have as many since it began in 1992 is Raheem Sterling (also 21).
Most Free Kicks Scored in a Match
Wigan Athletic 2-3 Birmingham City (December 5, 2009)
An unremarkable Saturday afternoon fixture between bottom-half sides Wigan Athletic and Birmingham City in December 2009 turned out to be the game where a unique Premier League record was created and still stands to this day.
A couple of direct free-kick goals from Birmingham’s Swedish midfielder Sebastian Larsson helped the Blues to an away win in Lancashire, despite Jordi Gomez’s late set-piece setting up a nervy finish. Thanks to these goals, this is the only Premier League fixture to ever see three direct free kicks scored.
Larsson is undoubtedly one of the most underrated free-kick shooters in Premier League history. With 11 goals from direct shots in the competition history, he is only outscored by David Beckham (18), Gianfranco Zola (12) and Thierry Henry (12).
As a side note, this was also the only home game in Premier League history that Jason Scotland was involved in a goal and of course it came against a team led by Scottish manager, but we’ll leave that for the Scottish special on another day. All five goals from this game can be viewed here, including the three free kicks.
Most Own Goals Scored in a Match by a Team
Sunderland 1-3 Charlton Athletic (February 1, 2003)
Sunderland came into their game with Charlton Athletic on 1 February 2003 just two points clear of bottom club West Bromwich Albion and having won just one point in their previous six games. Facing a Charlton side who had lost just one of their previous 12 league games, the Black Cats decided that they needed to help Alan Curbishley’s side out a little bit and duly scored three own goals in the opening 32 minutes and just eight minutes apart.
Michael Proctor scored two of those three own goals in the space of three minutes, meaning he ended his top-flight career on a goal difference of zero after undoing his work earlier that Premier League season in scoring at home to both Liverpool and Leeds United. All three of Charlton’s goals can be watched, here.
As if this wasn’t enough pain for Sunderland fans, they replicated this feat in an 8-0 defeat at Southampton in 2014 – Santiago Vergini, Liam Bridcutt and Patrick van Aanholt the culprits that day.
No other club has scored three own goals in a Premier League game once. Sunderland have done it twice. Every club needs an ethos.
Different Nationalities to Score in a Match for a Team
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn Rovers (October 4, 2009)
This game will rightly be remembered as the match that Cesc Fàbregas assisted four goals for the only time in his Premier League career, but it also holds its place in Premier League history for another reason.
Arsenal’s six goals in this match came from players of six different nationalities – the record for a single team in a Premier League game.
Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen opening the scoring in the 17th minute, before further first half goals from Dutch striker Robin van Persie and Russian Andrey Arshavin saw the Gunners take a 3-2 half-time lead. Strikes after the break from Spaniard Fàbregas, young English striker Theo Walcott and an 89th minute strike from Niklas Bendtner sealed the emphatic victory.
In 2009-10 overall, Arsenal saw players from 14 different nationalities score for them in the Premier League. This is a joint record in the competition within a single season, level with Wigan in 2009-10, Everton in 2011-12 and West Brom in 2013-14.
Two Children Scoring in a Premier League Match
Everton 2-2 Arsenal (September 27, 1997)
Arsenal came into this game with Everton as Premier League leaders following an unbeaten start to the 1997-98 campaign with five wins and three draws in their eight matches, while Everton were struggling with seven points from seven games.
It was the first season in which Arsene Wenger had benefitted from a pre-season with his squad & the signs were promising. Despite this, the Gunners had already thrown leads away in three of their league games before this trip to Goodison Park and worries about their ability to offer a title challenge resurfaced thanks to blowing a 2-0 lead in this encounter.
Ian Wright and Marc Overmars had given the Gunners a comfortable half-time cushion, but then they allowed two under-18s to score against them. Michael Ball scored his first Premier League goal in the 49th minute, before Danny Cadamarteri netted his second top-flight goal in what was only his third Premier League start, seven minutes later. As a side note, Cadamarteri went on to score 13 goals overall in the top-flight and all of these came in Saturday 3pm kick offs – no player in the history of the competition scored more exclusively in this time slot.
With both Toffees’ players being 17 years old, this remains the only time in Premier League history that two players legally defined as children have scored in the same match and on this occasion the goals were scored against a goalkeeper twice their age in David Seaman (34).
Arsenal went on to have the last laugh, however, as they wrapped up their first Premier League title with a 4-0 victory at home to Everton later on that season at Highbury.
A Hat-Trick Scorer for Both Teams in a Match
Wigan Athletic 5-3 Blackburn Rovers (December 15, 2007)
Wigan Athletic hosted Blackburn Rovers in December 2007 having scored just six goals in their previous seven Premier League home games of the 2007-08 campaign, but they received a pre-Christmas boost with this exciting Lancashire derby.
This game is also remembered for providing a hat-trick scorer for both teams, with Blackburn’s Roque Santa Cruz and Wigan’s Marcus Bent scoring trebles – the only Premier League fixture to see a player for both teams score a hat-trick. Rovers’ Paraguayan striker also remains the only player to score a hat-trick in the competition but end on the losing side, this century.
Bent scored three goals and assisted another in this match, but he failed to score or assist a goal in a Premier League home game for Wigan Athletic in the 14 appearances either side of this performance. Conversely, Santa Cruz ended the season with 13 Premier League away goals in 2007-08; a tally that only Emmanuel Adebayor surpassed (14).
All eight goals from this thriller can be seen, here.
A Goalkeeper Scoring in a Match
Everton 3-2 Aston Villa (October 20, 2001)
Peter Schmeichel was the first goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal; in Aston Villa’s 3-2 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park.
The Dane went up for a corner with Villa 3-1 down in injury time when even the most optimistic goalkeeper probably wouldn’t bother with a two-goal deficit and with the 90 minutes up. But he was rewarded with a goal from a clever strike from a difficult angle & then given slightly bemused applause from all fans in the ground.
With this goal Schmeichel probably thought the sky was the limit with his goalscoring exploits. Unfortunately for the Dane he never scored in the competition again, but he did score more goals away at Goodison Park than Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher (14 apps), Roy Keane (12), Gary Neville (10), Jamie Redknapp (9) and Patrice Evra (7) combined, so that’s something.
Just over 10 years later, Goodison Park was to witness another goalkeeper goal in a Premier League game, as Everton’s Tim Howard netted against Bolton Wanderers in January 2012. This means that the only Premier League ground to see a goal for and against the home team is Everton’s historic base.