Best Tottenham Comebacks in the Premier League Era
When compiling this list it was impossible not to be reminded of the times Spurs have been on the wrong end of comebacks. There was Manchester City in the cup and that United game that gets played endlessly on repeat right across the summer.
It felt like I would never be able to come up with any positives but, in fact, there are plenty. Many involve West Ham which was pleasing but there are more. We’ll come to the historical ones in another section but for now, let’s take a look at the greatest Spurs comebacks in the Premier League era.
2016/17: Swansea City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3
At a crucial point in the Premier League campaign, Spurs were trailing to the Swans with just two minutes of normal time remaining. By the final whistle, the score had been reversed to a scarcely believable 3-1 and the result had one newspaper referring to the club as the ‘comeback kings.’
At that time, it was the 20th occasion that a team had come from behind to win with less than five minutes on the clock. Tottenham had achieved the feat on four occasions – more than any other side – hence the comeback-related sobriquet.
As for this game at the Liberty Stadium, Spurs fans retained hope of an equaliser and as the minutes ticked by, Dele Alli duly delivered. Son Heung-Min then broke Swansea resistance with the winner before Christian Eriksen added the final blow.
It was something of a personal triumph for Vincent Janssen who played a crucial part in assisting at the death as the Dutchman contributed to one of our more remarkable comebacks in recent seasons.
1993/94: Spurs 3 Everton 2
Around the mid-90s, Spurs were something of a bogey team for Everton. The Toffees featured, usually on the wrong end of high-scoring thrillers and they also gave fringe Spurs players the opportunity for a brief glimpse of the limelight. Anyone remember Andy Turner or Danny Hill?
This time it was over to Darren Caskey to break Everton hearts and seal an early comeback in our EPL history. Like most of these games, it had all started fairly uneventfully with Paul Rideout’s 16th minute strike giving Everton a 1-0 lead at half time.
Teddy Sheringham’s deft header drew things level early in the second half but the hosts didn’t enjoy parity for long. Tony Cottee’s penalty on 66 minutes restored the away side’s lead and the game looked to be heading for a 1-2 final scoreline.
Sheringham turned provider on 88 minutes with what looked to be a volley on goal that merely ran across the six yard box for Darren Anderton to slot in. At that stage, Spurs fans might have been happy to settle for a point but up stepped Caskey to become an unlikely match winner, sliding the ball into the far corner in stoppage time.
2006/07: West Ham United 3 Tottenham Hotspur 4
If we can somehow detach ourselves from the fact that this was West Ham, this might still rate as the greatest Spurs comeback, not just of the Premier League era, but of all time. It had it all – high class goals, obvious drama, the late, late winner and an unlikely hero in Paul Stalteri.
The first point to note is that in this game, we were 2-0 down and not trailing by just a single goal. Mark Noble and Carlos Tevez had struck before Spurs seemed to wake up. Step forward Lee Bowyer whose foul on Aaron Lennon allowed Jermaine Defoe to pull one back from the spot.
Our equaliser came from another unlikely source: Teemu Tainio scored three league goals for Spurs in his career and his second half volley to level at 2-2 was undoubtedly his finest moment. West Ham might have crumbled but there was time for them to go back into the lead via a towering header from former Spur Bobby Zamora.
The next few minutes will live long in the memory with Dimitar Berbatov’s goal direct from a free kick enough to grace any game. Given the circumstances, West Ham might have settled for the point but incredibly, they were caught on the counter with Stalteri picking up on the loose ball to seal an amazing contest.
2010/11 Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3
That West Ham fixture may have given us the most remarkable comeback of the EPL era but this was surely the sweetest. At 2-0 at half time, how we all chuckled when receiving text from Arsenal supporting acquaintances who’d forgotten the first rule of football – never gloat until the final whistle.
Like all of these matches, things started badly and, facing that 2-0 deficit, we were all fearing the worst. Spurs sides of the past might have capitulated but this was the start of better times ahead and two of our key men – Gareth Bale and Rafael Van Der Vaart, were behind the comeback.
Bale started it by slotting home with the outside of his left boot before VDV’s calm penalty levelled things up. Once again, it was left to an unlikely source to seal the win as Younes Kaboul’s header took the points. The result also went a long way towards ending a period of misery in the North London Derby.
2016/17: Tottenham Hotspur 3 West Ham United 2
There were a number of candidates for our final game in this round up. The 4-4 against Arsenal in 2008 nearly made it through but, on the basis that it was only a draw, we left it out.
So, we’ll go back to West Ham and another sweet victory in the final season at the Old White Hart Lane. November 2016 saw Spurs concede to Antonio’s header from a Dimitri Payet corner. It stayed at 0-1 until the second half when Harry Winks tapped in his first goal on his full Premier League debut.
The lead didn’t last long as Vincent Janssen quickly conceded a penalty that Manuel Lanzini duly converted. Once again, the clocks ticked down, feckless Spurs supporters left until Harry Kane scrambled in an equaliser.
‘It’s happening again’ – it certainly was as West Ham conceded a late penalty. This time it was your author’s turn to lose faith as he turned his gaze away. Harry duly buried it and a barely deserved three points were sealed.