Boxing Day football is to Christmas as Rudolph is to Santa. and the Premier League has delivered some real crackers over the past decade.
We take a look back at some of the festive moments that got us all talking during the 2010s.
THAT Mkhitaryan scorpion kick
Manchester United 3-1 Sunderland (26 December 2016)
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s Manchester United career was largely uneventful but the Armenian will forever be remembered at Old Trafford for a piece of skill that left Jose Mourinho praising “the beauty of football”.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cross was behind Mkhitaryan but the midfielder rapidly readjusted, arcing his foot to send a barely believable backheel looping past Jordan Pickford.
It was a strike never to be repeated – at least not until Olivier Giroud scored an even better version just five days later.
Arsenal fail to deliver
Southampton 4-0 Arsenal (26 December 2015)
Arsenal’s demise has been a feature of the past decade and Boxing Day 2015 summed up Arsene Wenger’s side’s decline.
The Gunners travelled to Southampton two points off the top after humbling Manchester City but they were terrorised by Shane Long and mauled 4-0 at a jubilant St Mary’s.
Cuco Martina’s stunning opener – he’s not scored since – was the pick of the goals and Arsenal ultimately finished the season as a second-placed footnote to Leicester’s incredible title story.
Premier League table based on Boxing Day fixtures 2010-18
Giroud’s inexplicable headbutt
Arsenal 2-1 Queens Park Rangers (26 December 2014)
Arsenal may have squeaked a victory against struggling Queens Park Rangers but it was nearly sabotaged by Olivier Giroud.
With the score 1-0 to the Gunners, Arsenal’s then clean-shaven striker took exception to a nudge from Nedum Onuoha, jumped up and thrust his face into the QPR defender.
Onuoha fell to the floor, referee Martin Atkinson brandished a red card and Giroud walked.
Fortunately for boss Arsene Wenger, Arsenal survived a QPR flurry and held on to stay in sixth place.
Fergie’s final Boxing Day didn’t disappoint
Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United (26 December 2012)
A last-minute Manchester United winner? That’s how games always used to turn out.
Jonny Evans scored at both ends as Newcastle led the league leaders three times at a rain-soaked Old Trafford.
But Sir Alex Ferguson’s side kept hitting back and Javier Hernandez netted at the start of added time to snatch all three points.
Madness at Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth 3-3 West Ham United (26 December 2017)
West Ham manager David Moyes bemoaned Bournemouth’s “killer” 93rd-minute equaliser after a madcap match at Vitality Stadium.
Two late Marko Arnautovic goals had put West Ham in charge but Callum Wilson’s bundled leveller, initially disallowed for offside, was allowed to stand despite a suspicion of handball and robbed the Hammers of all three points.
“The ref said his assistant only put his flag up to draw attention to it, which I’ve never heard of before,” raged Moyes.
Free-scoring Spurs on fire at Christmas
Maybe it’s the fuel of a roast turkey dinner but Tottenham have cut loose over the Christmas period this decade, scoring 22 Boxing Day goals in just seven games.
Harry Kane alone has seven goals in four matches and will hunt for more against Brighton in this year’s early kick-off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Graham Potter, you have been warned.
Can you name the top 10 Boxing Day scorers in the Premier League?
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