10 surprising winners of the BBC’s Goal of the Month competition
Glen Johnson – Portsmouth vs Hull, November 2008
Just a few months after winning the FA Cup, Portsmouth’s remarkable run was coming to an end. With Harry Redknapp gone and investment in the squad slowing down, the horrible financial reality would soon be revealed as several of Pompey's star players departed in summer 2009. Johnson was one of them, moving to Liverpool for £17m.
He scored four goals during his time at Fratton Park, the best of which came in a 2-2 draw with Hull. A free-kick from the left was headed clear by Michael Turner, with the ball falling to Johnson around 30 yards from goal. Controlling it on his chest, the right-back then struck a sweet volley into the top corner with his weaker foot. Boaz Myhill didn’t even have time to move before it hit the net.
Ashley Cole – Chelsea vs Sunderland, January 2010
A striker in his youth, Cole went on to become one of the world's best full-backs for Arsenal and Chelsea. But despite his attacking past, goals often eluded him. He scored only 15 in the Premier League, with the pick of the bunch coming during a 7-2 demolition of Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.
In contrast to many of the strikes on this list, Cole’s effort was not a speculative shot from distance but an example of neat footwork and cool finesse. Played in over the top by John Terry, he brought the ball down well, cut back inside past a sliding tackle and stabbed a shot home as the goalkeeper advanced.
Simon Cox – West Brom vs Tottenham, April 2011
If you’re only going to score once in the Premier League, you might as well make it one to remember. Cox had an enviable record in the lower divisions but had made 15 appearances at the top level before finally breaking his duck with a splendid effort against Tottenham.
Brought on for the last few minutes of the game as West Brom chased an equaliser, Cox levelled the scores in spectacular fashion. After playing a one-two with Nicky Shorey, he worked an angle on the edge of the box and curled the ball expertly into the top corner. Unable to build on that solitary strike, he didn’t score at all in his subsequent 21 Premier League outings.
Adam Smith – Bournemouth vs Everton, November 2015
For some reason games between Bournemouth and Everton seem to guarantee plenty of action and incident. The two sides have met seven times in the Premier League so far and shared 29 goals. The first meeting after the Cherries’ promotion to the top flight ended in a breathless 3-3 draw thanks to some late drama.
Everton were leading 2-0 with 10 minutes remaining when substitute Smith brought the contest back to life. A poor corner failed to beat the first man but was only cleared as far as the right-back, whose powerful shot looked to be heading wide until it veered back in at the last, pleasingly rattling the post on its way into the net.
Emre Can – Liverpool vs Watford, May 2017
The German midfielder was always a tidy and effective player for Liverpool, but not somebody you’d readily associate with barnstorming overhead kicks. But at the end of Can’s third season at the club he scored a stunning goal to seal victory over Watford at Vicarage Road.
Can was the most advanced player as Lucas Leiva looked up and lofted the ball into the penalty area, from where the former Bayern Munich man engineered an acrobatic effort which left Heurelho Gomes with no chance. Running over to celebrate with Jurgen Klopp, Can was engulfed by team-mates who could barely believe what they’d just witnessed.