This weekend’s unsportsmanlike conduct from Leroy Fer in Norwich City’s 0-0 draw with Hull saw a fight break out amongst the players but how does it rate amongst the Premier League’s top fights?
5) Newcastle v Arsenal (2011)
One of the more recent fisticuffs came on the opening day of the season in 2011/12 as Arsenal took on Newcastle at St James’ Park. As has so often been the case, Joey Barton was at the centre of the storm, clashing with Gervinho resulting in the Ivorian being sent off on his debut for the Gunners.
4) Swansea v Manchester United (2012)
Last season many will remember the incident that Sir Alex Ferguson claimed could have ‘killed’ Robin van Persie – Swansea defender Ashley Young seemed to clear the ball right into the back of the Dutchman’s head whilst he was on the ground, leading to the striker to chase Williams around furiously pulling at his shirt.
3) Manchester United v Arsenal (2003)
One of the most memorable incidents in the history of the Premier League was Arsenal’s hostile reaction to Ruud van Nistelrooy’s missed penalty for Manchester United. The Gunners’ players felt aggrieved, believing the Dutch striker dived to earn the spot kick and, in what some might call karma, Van Nistelrooy missed, leading to something of a playground game of tag at the final whistle.
2) Newcastle v Aston Villa (2005)
This one goes down in the history books for two reasons – one, it was aggressive and uncompromisingly violent and two, because it was between two players on the same team. Both Lee Bowyer and Kieran Dyer were sent off for Newcastle following the altercation that left them with bruised egos as much as it did ripped shirts.
1) Fulham v West Brom (2004)
This one makes the list because of the heavy-handed punches thrown – in the words of Turkish from ‘Snatch’, these lads were out to hurt each other. Neil Clement and Andy Cole were both sent off for their parts in the fracas involving eight or nine players throwing punches.
Unlucky to miss out:
Arsenal v Chelsea (2007)
This fight seemingly involved every person on the pitch, including the managers and escalated into something of a pantomime affair after Kolo Toure and John Obi Mikel exchanged initial blows following a rash tackle from the Blues man, leading Cesc Fabregas to intervene. It should go in as one of the best fights in the Premier League but doesn’t because it was actually an FA Cup final.
Joey Barton v The World
As an additional tribute to Joey Barton’s contribution to this list (which he could fill on his own) here is a clip of Barton fighting around the world.
image: © michael kjaer