The 26th of December, aka Boxing Day, has not just been about recovering from Christmas lunch but also about going to football and watching your team play.
Indeed, the traditional round of Premier League games on Boxing Day have produced some real corkers over the years, so in anticipation for Monday, here are 7 of the best…
7. Arsenal 6-1 Leicester City, 2000
A game which typified the manner in which Arsenal used to take teams apart at Highbury, Leicester City were the Boxing Day victims in 2000, succumbing to a final scoreline of 6-1, despite being just a goal down at half-time.
Thierry Henry grabbed a hat-trick, while Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg and captain Tony Adams got in on the act too, sending the fans home happy. The Foxes, who would go on to finish 12th that season, at least got on the scoresheet, courtesy of none other than Ade Akinbiyi.
6. Charlton Athletic 4-2 Chelsea, 2003
Chelsea’s short trip to the Valley set up an exciting London derby on Boxing Day 2003, a game which will go down in most Addicks supporters’ memories for a very, very long time indeed.
Hermain Hreidarsson opened the scoring within the first minute, getting on the end of Paolo DI Canio’s corner, but John Terry brought the Blues level. Yet, three further goals from Matt Holland, Jonatan Johansson and Jason Euell respectively, effectively ended the affair.
Claudio Ranieri’s side grabbed a consolation through Eidur Gudjohnsen, but it would be a festive period to forget for the travelling Blues.
5. Sheffield Wednesday 3-3 Manchester United, 1992
In the first Boxing Day of the Premier League era, eventual winners that season Manchester United travelled to Hillsborough to take on Sheffield Wednesday, but it was like they didn’t show up at all with the Owls racing into a 3-0 lead after the hour mark.
Yet, in typical Red Devils fashion, Sir Alex’s men rallied and were brought straight back into the game thanks to a Brian McClair brace. Then, as the game reached its close, Eric Cantona capitalised on some shocking Wednesday defending to give his side a vital away point.
4. Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal, 2008
A tremendous game of football between two Premier League heavyweights, the spoils were shared on Boxing Day in 2008 as Aston Villa came back from two goals down to claim a point in front of their home fans.
Despite being under the cosh, the Gunners went 2-0 up through Denilson and Abou Diaby, but the Villans rallied and halved the deficit via a thunderous penalty from captain Gareth Barry. With just seconds left to play, Zat Knight fired home to send Villa Park into raptures.
3. Manchester United 4-3 Newcastle United, 2012
In typical ‘Fergie time’ fashion, Manchester United came away from Old Trafford with all three points on Boxing Day in 2012, as Javier Hernandez put home the game’s seventh goal in the dying minutes.
In a time when Newcastle United were a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League, the Magpies led three times in the game thanks to James Perch, a Jonny Evans own goal and Papiss Cisse strike.
However, the Red Devils equalised on all three occasions before Chicharito ended the dramatic affair when he connected with Michael Carrick’s curled cross.
2. Coventry City 3-2 Arsenal, 1999
Similarly during that Golden Age of Arsenal a year prior to the destruction of Leicester City, the Gunners were victims to a Boxing Day defeat themselves. Coventry City were the victors, although it was a tight affair by the end.
A deflected Gary McAllister strike was followed by a delightful effort from Moroccan star Mustapha Hadji to put the Sky Blues 2-0 up at the break. Fredrik Ljungberg got the away side back in the game, but a very young Robbie Keane ensured the win at Highfield Road. Davor Suker would get a consolation for the star-studded Arsenal side.
1. Chelsea 4-4 Aston Villa, 2007
Not just one of the best Boxing Day ties in Premier League history, but in the top flight in general. This topsy-turvy games, which took place at Stamford Bridge simply had it all; 8 goals, 3 sending offs, 2 penalties and a Petr Cech gaffe.
Villa raced into a two goal lead thanks to Shaun Maloney but Andriy Shevchenko tied the game with a brace of his own, the first from the penalty spot as Zat Knight was dismissed. Each side scored again in the second-half as the score got to 3-3, before Michael Ballack fired home a free kick to seemingly win the game.
However, two quick Chelsea red cards in succession, the second of which saw Ashley Cole save off the line with his hand, allowed Gareth Barry to snatch a point at the death with a penalty.