Leeds thriller amongst best ever Premier League games
31 May 2020 05:48 pm, by YorkshireSquare
Best Premier League game ever? The pundits from BBC Match of the Day have been debating the question in the latest edition of the Match of The Day: Top 10 podcast. Alan Shearer and Ian Wright decided upon their top 10 game, one of which was an absolute classing involving Leeds United. The game in question took place on the 4th November 2000 when Mark Viduka's four goals helped Leeds to a famous win over Liverpool. Viduka had scored goals everywhere he had been before David O’Leary signed the Australian for £6m but United had just finished third in the Premier League to secure a Champions League qualifying spot and it remained to be seen whether he could cut it at that level, after all his goals had come at an inferior standard of football in Oz, Croatia and Scotland.
Viduka’s inaugural season went pretty well on the league front as well as he was top scorer for the club with 17 goals, which helped his team to a fourth place finish. It was expected that Viduka and fellow Australian Harry Kewell would combine with Michael Bridges to form a deadly offensive trio but, sadly, the physios spent more time with the latter two and Viduka instead hit it off with Alan Smith. The first time they both appeared on the score sheet together was on 30th September in a 4-3 victory over Tottenham where the pair grabbed a brace each and
Just six weeks later the Elland Road faithful were treated to the highlight of the league campaign, this time the enthralling 4-3 defeat of Liverpool who had taken a two-goal lead. Viduka scored all four in a performance that showed every single one of his attributes and, on reflection, it was probably the best display of his entire career – let alone for us. Leeds were staring defeat in the face after ex-skipper Gary McAllister pulled the strings early on for the Reds but Viduka had different ideas; the first of his goals was a clever dink after Smith charged down a Christian Ziege clearance whilst the second was a thumping header after a pinpoint cross from the marauding Gary Kelly.
Viduka completed his first hat-trick for Leeds when he received the ball from Oliver Dacourt with his back to goal before showing great strength and control to twist and turn away from two Liverpool defenders and, after buying himself half a yard, he unleashed a smart finish across goal and in off the post. The home crowd was buzzing and just two minutes later the roof came off when Viduka bagged the best of his four; he showed an instinctive touch to capitalise on a miscued shot from Dacourt and delicately chipped the ball over the rapidly advancing Sander Westerveld to secure maximum points.
On the Match of the Day podcast Ian Wright said; "Mark Viduka was one of those number nines who could have played for any of the top four teams. He was that big player who had the touch, the finishing ability and the calm persona. When I watched that game, it didn't surprise me because of what I saw when I played with him at Celtic. I couldn't believe he was there and that no-one had taken him before that point. He had everything and he was one of the best number nines I played with."