10 forgotten Premier League hat-tricks you really need to re-live
Raheem Sterling nabbed the first hat-trick of the new Premier League season, as Manchester City brushed West Ham aside 5-0 at the London Stadium. However, his performance will likely be overshadowed in the history books by the first VAR-disallowed goal and VAR-retaken penalty in the Premier League.
To celebrate the City forward, here's 10 more hat-trick you might have forgotten about – but shouldn't.
1. Eric Cantona (Leeds 5-0 Tottenham, August 1992)
Before Cantona moved to Manchester United, the enigmatic Frenchman was determined to show Leeds fans exactly what they'd be missing. He started that season with a hat-trick in the Charity Shield against Liverpool before adding the Premier League’s first-ever treble against a miserable Spurs side.
In a game that ended 5-0 to the Whites, Leeds were gifted an opener after a howler from goalkeeper Erik Thorstvedt – and then Cantona began his spree. Justin Edinburgh’s attempted defensive header fell straight to the Frenchman, who fired a right-footed drive past Norwegian Thorstvedt. David Batty found him with a cross he headed in for No.2 shortly afterwards, but his hat-trick didn't come until the second half; strike partner Lee Chapman's nuisance work freed up space for Cantona, who volleyed through bodies to score Leeds's fourth.
That was as good as it got for the title holders in a season that saw them finish 17th. For Cantona, running Spurs ragged was his thrilling prelude to becoming one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever strikers.
2. Rod Wallace (Leeds 3-3 Coventry, May 1993)
Wallace’s predatory instincts helped Leeds to the old Division One title in 1992, but the following season brought with it tremendous pain. He was called up to the England squad for a friendly against Spain, but injury denied him a debut, and he was never summoned by his country again. While that stung, it didn’t help that he became the first Premier League player to score a hat-trick and not end up on the winning side in the same season.
Coventry supporters were bidding farewell to the popular Spion Kop stand at Highfield Road, but were denied victory themselves in this game despite leading 3-1 against a then-10-man Leeds. Wallace had initially hit an equaliser before Howard Wilkinson's strugglers fell two behind, but he went on to complete his treble courtesy of late strikes which made an emotional home support even more tearful.
Leeds fans, in stark contrast, invaded the pitch as if they'd dramatically avoided relegation. They'd actually achieved that the previous week, but having completed a whole season in which they'd failed to win away from home, they were probably just glad it was all over.
3. Jan Aage Fjortoft (Swindon 3-1 Coventry, Feb 1994)
There’s a great pub quiz question to be asked about Norwegian strikers who have scored a Premier League hat-trick. There’s the fairly obvious: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Tore Andre Flo; the reasonably ‘getable’: Steffen Iversen, John Carew. Then there’s Jan Age Fjortoft, who'd surely be a better should as a Pointless answer.
There wasn’t much to shout about for Swindon in their one and only Premier League season, and while Fjortoft’s treble wasn’t a Bergkamp-esque clinic in finishing – two penalties (both given away by the same player) and a poacher’s tap-in – it provided a rare moment to savour for the Robins during a (42-game) campaign that only yielded five wins.
Fjortoft had a decent season, scoring 13 times. Swindon did not, relegated with 100 goals conceded.
4. Fabrizio Ravanelli (Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool, Aug 1996)
Wouldn’t Aitor Karanka’s profligate Boro just love to have a striker of Fabrizio Ravanelli’s class leading their line. Ravanelli arrived on Teesside to much fanfare in the summer of 1996, having just won the Champions League with Juventus (just consider that for a second), and made an immediate impact against Roy Evans’s Liverpool.
Affectionately dubbed the 'White Feather', he was anything but gentle against the Reds on his debut, pulling his shirt over silver barnet three times during a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Riverside.
At 27, Ravanelli was cultured and experienced enough as a marksman to capitalise on the Neil Ruddock-sized hole in Liverpool’s defence. An emphatically dispatched penalty preceded two opportunistic finishes, with the Boro fans ending the day by singing that Ravanelli would be the man to deliver silverware for them.
He wasn’t that good, unfortunately, despite Boro reaching two domestic cup finals. In fact, regular outbursts throughout the season meant he was unpopular by the time Boro were relegated at the end of the season, so he packed his bags and joined Marseille instead.