Ten of the most controversial moments in Premier League history - Cantona, Pardew, Suarez...

From shoves to kung-fu kicks, bites to fights, Planet Sport picks out the controversial on-field moments that left an indelible mark on the top flight.

The English top flight is never far from controversy. Such is the pressure that players and managers are under, it is no surprise that issues often bubble to the surface.

There have been many controversial moments in Premier League history, both on and off the pitch. Planet Sport has whittled down the list to 10 iconic instances, focusing on events that took place during a match.

Cantona's kung-fu kick (1995)

Matthew Simmons Eric Cantona Crystal Palace vs Man Utd Jan 1995

Manchester United's talismanic Frenchman Eric Cantona is revered among Red Devils fans for leading the club to four Premier League titles and two FA Cups, as well as his 81 goals in 180 games. For everyone else, he is mostly remembered for his kung-fu kick during an away game at Crystal Palace in January 1995.

Cantona had initially been sent off for a foul on Palace's Richard Shaw. As he was leaving the pitch, a Palace fan, Matthew Simmons, hurled a volley of abuse at the Frenchman from what he thought was the safety of the stands. Cantona had other ideas and launched a 'kung-fu style kick' at Simmons and followed up with a flurry of punches.

Many expected the Frenchman to be given a prison sentence for assault and be banned from the game for life. However, his two-week prison sentence turned into 120 hours of community service on appeal. He was also given a four-month suspension and a £20,000 fine by Manchester United, but the FA extended the ban to nine months and fined Cantona a further £10,000.

The enigmatic Cantona also managed to turn the event into one of the strangest and most talked about press conferences of all-time, too.

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

A statement that has gone down in Premier League folklore.

Ali Dia (1996)

Ali Dia is arguably the Premier League's biggest con man. Signed on a month-long contract by Southampton, Dia was allegedly George Weah's cousin and came highly recommended by the world footballer of the year.

Due to an injury crisis at Southampton, Dia found himself as the only attacking option on a bench full of defenders for a Premier League game against Leeds. Unfortunately, Saints star man Matthew Le Tissier was forced off with an injury in the 32nd minute and Dia was thrown into the action by then-manager Graeme Souness.

Graeme Souness Southampton bench Sep96

Dia was far from Premier League, or even League Two, standard and was substituted in the 85th minute following a performance that Le Tissier has since described as "Bambi on ice", although many people forget that Dia came close to scoring that day.

Dia found himself removed from the Southampton squad soon after his debut, and although he briefly reappeared for Gateshead later that season, he failed to make any further impact on world soccer.

Want to read more about Ali Dia's debut? Check out Planet Football's analysis of his 53 minutes of Premier League infamy, here.

Suarez bites Ivanovic (2013)

There's something about Luis Suarez that makes you think he should have a good meal before he plays a game of soccer.

The former Barcelona striker is now notorious for his penchant for taking a bite out of opposing players and one of his most famous incidents came in the Premier League in April 2013.

With Chelsea leading 2-1 at Anfield, Suarez tussled with Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic inside the area. As Steven Gerrard fired in a shot that was blocked for a corner, Suarez took a chunk out of Ivanovic's arm.

Branislav Ivanovic Chelsea Luis Suarez Liverpool bite Apr13

In the days before VAR, referee Kevin Friend didn't see the incident and Suarez remained on the pitch. Typically, Suarez went on to score an equaliser seven minutes into stoppage time.

Suarez did apologise for his actions, but it did nothing to stop the FA dishing out a 10-game ban, which saw him miss the remainder of the 2012/13 season and the start of the following campaign.

The Uruguayan striker had already received a seven-game ban in 2010 while playing for Ajax after biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal's shoulder.

A year after the Anfield biting incident at the 2014 World Cup, Suarez was at it again, this time chomping on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

Suarez's nickname is El Pistolero. Perhaps it should be changed to The Vampire.

Beach ball goal (2009)

Arguably one of the strangest goals in Premier League history and also one that shouldn't have been allowed.

The history books will show that Sunderland striker Darren Bent scored the only goal in the Black Cats' clash with Liverpool at the Stadium of Light in October 2009. What it won't show is the goalscorer should be marked down as Liverpool Beach Ball.

Darren Bent beach ball goal Sunderland Liverpool

The beach ball had been knocked into the Liverpool box by 16-year-old Reds supporter Callum Campbell. In the fifth minute of the match, Bent's innocuous shot was heading towards Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, but it hit the offending beach ball and was diverted into the net. The score remained 1-0 for the rest of the game.

Referee Mike Jones should have disallowed the goal as the rulebook states that the game must be stopped if an 'outside agent' (something that should not be on the pitch) makes its way onto the field.

The beach ball is now part of The People's Collection at the National Football Museum in Manchester.

Dyer and Bowyer fight (2005)

There's never any guarantee that a team of Premier League soccer players will always be the best of friends, but you certainly wouldn't expect hostility between team-mates to rise up during a match.

Yet that's exactly what happened in Newcastle's clash against Aston Villa in April 2005.

Newcastle's Lee Bowyer came to blows with fellow midfielder Kieron Dyer with 10 minutes to go in the game after Bowyer accused Dyer of intentionally not giving him the ball.

Kieron Dyer Lee Bowyer Newcastle handshake

Both players were sent off and continued their argument down the tunnel. It was later reported that hardman manager Graeme Souness challenged them to a fight, which they both declined.

Both received bans; three matches for Dyer, who protested his innocence, and four for Bowyer, who had been dismissed earlier in the season. Bowyer was also fined a record six weeks' wages.

You can read a full analysis of the dust-up on Planet Football.

Di Canio shoves ref (1998)

The Premier League's most mercurial of talents usually tread a fine line between brilliant and bonkers. None more so than Italian forward Paolo Di Canio.

Before he joined Sheffield Wednesday, Di Canio had already played for some of the biggest Italian clubs including Lazio, Juventus, Napoli and Milan, as well as enjoying a successful stint at Celtic.

Paolo Di Canop incensed Paul Alcock Sheff Wed vs Arsenal Sep 1998

Well known for his fiery temper, Di Canio sealed his place in Premier League infamy in September 1998 when he pushed over referee Paul Alcock after receiving a red card in the match with Arsenal.

Di Canio was banned for 11 games and fined £10,000 for the incident. He never played for Sheffield Wednesday again.

Wednesday's loss was West Ham's gain as he joined the London side in January 1999 and established himself as a club legend.

Fowler 'sniffing' celebration (1999)

Few players would expect to receive a hefty punishment for scoring a goal, but that's just what happened to Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler in 1999.

Fowler stroked home an equalising penalty against local rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby and then proceeded to sniff the white line of the penalty area in response to accusations that he had taken drugs.

The striker was given a four-match ban and a £32,000 fine, a record at the time, for the celebration.

Despite apologising for the incident, he later told Four Four Two magazine that he didn't have any regrets about it.

"I used to get absolutely mullered by Everton fans, so I was always going to do it… it was a chance to wind them up after all the abuse they'd given me!"

The Battle of Old Trafford

Patrick Vieira Ruud van Nistelrooy Arsenal Man Utd Sep03

Matches between Manchester United and Arsenal have always been hotly contested affairs. However, when a match gets dubbed 'The Battle of Old Trafford', you know that it perhaps has gone too far.

On September 21, 2003, the two sides scrapped out a bitter 0-0 draw, with Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira sent off for a second bookable offence and United missing a last-minute penalty.

However, it was the players' reactions at the end of the game that led to charges from the FA.

Arsenal defender Martin Keown jumped on Ruud van Nistelrooy and screamed in his face moments after the Dutchman had missed the spot-kick. It was the spark that led to a mass brawl between both sides at the end of the game.

Six Arsenal players and two from Manchester United were made to pay fines. There were also several match bans for some of the players involved and Arsenal were handed a fine for "failing to ensure the proper behaviour of their players".

Terry racial slur (2011)

Chelsea defender and England captain John Terry was alleged to have aimed a racial slur at QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League clash in October 2011.

Although Ferdinand didn't hear the words, the incident was caught on camera and a member of the public brought it to the attention of the police.

John Terry Anton Ferdinand Oct 11

Terry denied the claim, stating he said the words in response to being accused of using them.

Although found not guilty of a criminal offence in the High Court, Terry was found guilty by an FA independent regulatory commission. He received a four-match ban, a fine of £220,000 and was stripped of the England captaincy by the FA. England manager Fabio Capello resigned as a result after he challenged the decision.

Pardew headbutts Meyler

David Meyler Alan Pardew Hull vs Newcastle Mar 2014

David Meyler made 147 appearances for Hull City over six years but despite two promotions and an FA Cup final appearance, the Republic of Ireland midfielder will forever be remembered for one thing - being headbutted by Alan Pardew.

The Tigers were trailing Newcastle 3-1 when Pardew impeded Meyler as he tried to quickly retrieve a ball on the sidelines. The Magpies boss received a push for his troubles and as tensions escalated he squared up to Meyler before unleashing a headbutt.

Not that Meyler remembers it that way, recalling it more of a headbrush. Speaking later about the incident he said: "I don't know what Alan Pardew was at the time, 56, 57, but if he'd have dropped me I would never have lived it down."

Nevertheless, the headbutt/headbrush saw Pardew sent off and hit with a seven-game ban and £60,000 fine.

"I apologise to everyone. I should not have got involved in it," admitted Pardew who was no stranger to public apologies.

Eight days later, Meyler, who was contacted by the police to ask if he wanted to press charges, mocked the incident by headbutting the corner flag after scoring in Hull's 3-0 FA Cup quarter-final win over Sunderland.

READ MORE: Thierry Henry’s most iconic moments for Arsenal, Barcelona, and the New York Red Bulls

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