The top football matches of 2023
We’re almost at the end of 2023, and from a footballing perspective, it has been a fantastic year. Clubs like Brighton were able to qualify for European competition for the first time in their rather turbulent history, Arsenal came close to winning the Premier League for the first time in what feels like centuries and Chelsea seemed to go through a bit of a downfall. The footballing year was completely unexpected, and we reckon not even gamblers could have predicted how some of the matches would have ended up.
Since we’re now nearing the end of November, we figured that we’d take the time to look at some of the best football matches in 2023. These matches were not only fun to watch, but wholly unpredictable…which we love!
Aston Villa 2 – 4 Arsenal
This was the match that made many people believe that Arsenal had what it took to win the Premier League. After going down in the game twice, including once pretty early on, Arsenal looked well and truly beat. They looked as they didn’t have the talent to pull the game back, but oh how wrong everybody was.
In injury time, Arsenal whacked two goals into the back of the net, walking away the winners. This put them back at the top of the Premier League, where they stuck around until the tail end of the season. That all went a bit wrong, we guess.
Honestly, if you were live betting at an online bookmaker during this game, perhaps taking advantage of one of Ireland’s best online casino bonuses from your favourite bookie, you probably would have made bank if you had predicted that Arsenal would walk away the clear winners.
Liverpool 2 – 5 Real Madrid
When Real Madrid visited Anfield in the Champion’s League, everybody just assumed that Liverpool would walk away as winners. It is Anfield, after all. At the time, Liverpool wasn’t doing too bad as a team. At the start of the match, it almost seemed as if Liverpool were going to take the match. They went up 2-0 in just 15 minutes. Everything went downhill after that.
By the end of the first half, Real Madrid had equalised, and they went to the dressing room to receive probably one of the most epic half-time talks of all time, at least we assume it was epic. As soon as Real Madrid ran back onto the Anfield pitch, they were a whole other team. So was Liverpool, for that matter. It wasn’t long before Real Madrid knocked in a further three goals, forcing Liverpool fans to leave the stadium with their tails between their legs. Shocking!
Manchester City 4 – 0 Real Madrid
2023 wasn’t all sweetness and rainbows for Real Madrid, though. Real Madrid still had to face Manchester City in the Champion’s League semi-final and, honestly, we reckon that Real Madrid probably wish they hadn’t bothered to turn up. In fact, looking back at the game now, we are wondering whether they actually did turn up in the first place. It was an absolute massacre, with Bernando Silva knocking in two goals in the first half. If the match hadn’t been put to bed at the end of the first 45 minutes, it was shortly into the second.
It is a shame that the final was such a dull affair with Manchester City winning 1-0. We suppose there is only so much excitement a team can offer in one competition.
Liverpool 7 – 0 Manchester United
Just like it wasn’t all good for Real Madrid, it wasn’t all bad for Liverpool. In fact, they played in a game that is likely to go down in history. We can only imagine the chants of 7-0 that are going to ring through both Anfield and Old Trafford when these two teams face each other once again.
This 7-0 slaughter didn’t even look like it was going to happen. Before the match started, Manchester United was the clear favourite. Even by the end of the first half, they were only down by one goal, so they could have easily managed to creep in. We suppose that was never to happen though. Clearly the Manchester United players had one eye on going home because Liverpool was able to put in six easy goals against them in the second half.
We doubt we are ever going to see a similar scoreline between these two teams again. This was a once in a lifetime moment, but we can’t imagine that the Liverpool fans were all that disappointed. Twitter was absolutely awful for Manchester United fans shortly after the game.
Thankfully, Manchester United was able to recover later on in the season, with Liverpool faltering ever so slightly. That was completely unexpected, as Manchester United was playing like a relegation-bound team in this game.
Tottenham 2 – 1 Brighton
This game wasn’t a high-scoring thriller. If you just look at the scoreline, you might think it was just an average game; however, it was anything but. After almost a whole season of being the victim of incorrect VAR decisions with Brighton having had more apologies than any other team, it all came to a head in this game.
Brighton should have won this game. They received an apology for two incorrect VAR decisions, and there should have been a third apology too. Their manager, Roberto De Zerbi, was even issued a red card for appealing it.
We think this was the match that really opened up people’s eyes to just how terrible VAR could be. There was also a good chance that this game could have ended up ruining Brighton’s season. They were competing with Tottenham for the Europa League, and that four-point swing could have meant the world. Thankfully for Brighton, Tottenham faltered in the latter part of the season. Although, Brighton did come close to missing out on a history-defining moment all because a few referees didn’t quite understand the rules of the game.
Manchester City 4 – 1 Arsenal
Up until this point, many people believed that Arsenal was certain to win the Premier League. In fact, we did too. However, in order to stand a chance of winning the league, they needed to overcome the challenge of Manchester City. After all, a loss here would really tighten up the gap at the top of the league. If Arsenal had won, they would almost certainly have walked away the title winners. Unfortunately for Gunners fans, that wasn’t to be.
Manchester City completely dominated Arsenal on the field. Arsenal looked like they were a relegation-bound team — they played that shoddily. This match must have really ruined the confidence of the Arsenal team too, as they never recovered their early season form. Hopefully it all changes for them in the 2023/2024 season.
Genk 2 v 2 Royal Antwerp
We’re going to be moving away from games that feature English teams for this one, as we do love ourselves a good title battle on the last match day.
Genk and Royal Antwerp were the only teams left in the running to win the Belgian Pro League. Genk needed to win this game to even stand a chance of winning the title. Royal Antwerp needed just a draw.
Going into extra time, Genk thought they had sealed the deal. They were up 2-1. We have no doubt the supporters were already dancing in their seats. Alas, it wasn’t to be. In the final minute, one of the most amazing goals we have ever seen — although, this may have been just the adrenaline from the watching the match — was smashed into the top corner of the Genk goal, ensuring that Royal Antwerp walked away as the title holders.
The only time we have ever seen a league ending this dramatic was when we watched Manchester City win their first Premier League title.
FC Koln 1 – 2 Bayern Munich
For the last 10 years, Bayern Munich has walked away with the league title. People assumed that they would be doing the same in 2023, with Bundesliga tips unsurprisingly backing them at the beginning of the season. However, heading into the last day of the season, they still hadn’t quite wrapped things up. Up until the 89th minute, it appeared as if their title dreams were done and dusted. Bayern Munich was tying with FC Koln. It just wasn’t enough points to clinch the title. Luckily, Jamal Musiala was there to save the day. In the 89th minute, he smashed the ball into the back of the FC Koln net, helping to pick up yet another title for Bayern Munich.
So, what do you think? Do you agree that these are the best football matches of 2023? Did your club have more drama than these matches? A lot of the drama in football comes from watching your team on the field. We have no doubt that whoever you support, there were a few nail-biting moments for you. Hopefully your team’s season ended up positively. If it didn’t, there is always next season — and we hope you don’t have too many ‘dramatic’ moments then.