Lists

Ranked! The 25 best Premier League goals EVER

Paolo Di Canio, West Ham

On this day in 2000, Paolo Di Canio did something daft against Wimbledon. But where does it rank here? Seb Stafford-Bloor separates the Carbones from the Cantonas

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25. Benito Carbone vs Newcastle (1997/98)

Carbone had a touch of evangelism to him. He arrived at Sheffield Wednesday at a time when foreign players were still scarce in English football and that isolation framed his excellence. Helpfully, he looked like the imagined caricature of a foreign player, but the Italian also oozed technical class - and never more so than in August 1997 when, before flick-flacks and rabonas, a bicycle kick was the height of footballing sophistication.

24. Frank Lampard vs Everton (2006/07)

Behold the power of the right camera angle. 

Was this Frank Lampard’s most important or best goal for Chelsea? No on both counts, but there isn’t a more vivid depiction of his ball-striking. It could be argued that this wasn’t even the finest goal scored in this game (Didier Drogba would win it with a late, dipping volley), but it still characterises the nonchalance with which Lampard use to rake 30-yarders into top corners.

23. Luis Suarez vs Newcastle (2012/13)

The touch! Suarez has scored better goals. He even scored better goals for Liverpool that season. But that misses the point: most forwards can finish, many of them from long range and with great power. By contrast, few who have played in England had Suarez’s first touch or his habitual awareness of what was going on around him. 

On first viewing this was “neat”, by the third replay it looked - and continues to look – very special.

22. Gareth Bale vs Stoke (2010/2011)

Control: that’s the important bit here. Pretend that you’re younger than you are, do yoga three times a week, and that your hip bone wouldn’t be fractured just by attempting this. Even then, to maintain so much control over a waist-high ball would be remarkable. 

This owed much to Aaron Lennon's drifted cross and to Stoke's decision to leave one of the most dangerous players in the league unmarked at the back post, but Bale showed another shade of excellence at a time when his game was growing ever more diverse.

21. Steve Froggatt vs Everton (1998/99)

What’s the appropriate verb here? The same tired descriptions have been trotted out so often and been drained so efficiently of meaning that Coventry winger Froggatt’s goal – so truly hit, so obviously destined to knock someone out if not for the goal netting – almost requires a category of its own. 

Another which has been forcefully consigned to history on account of its lack of post-millennium gloss.

Goal from 0.48 onwards 

20. Muzzy Izzet vs Tottenham (1998/99)

Younger football fans won’t remember Filbert Street, but it was the kind of place where – how to be polite? – it was hard to imagine good goals being scored. By the late 1990s, Martin O’Neill had built a formidable Leicester side, but they were more functional than spectacular.

Emile Heskey was at the more mobile stage of his career, Steve Guppy was one of the best crossers in the country and Matt Elliott was a truly terrifying centre-half. Izzet usually supplied any genius on show, but this was still probably not what anybody expected to see at the end of a largely forgettable game with Spurs.

19. Dalian Atkinson vs Wimbledon (1992/93)

The two parts of this goal that everyone remembers – Atkinson's chipped finish and the fan with the umbrella who joins in the celebration – have obscured the obvious: look who it was scored against. Playing against Wimbledon in the early '90s might not have been what it was in the late 1980s, but Aston Villa's Atkinson had to ride some particularly robust challenges during his surge upfield. The tackling laws didn't offer nearly the same protection that they do today, and he did remarkably well just to stay on his feet. 

Hans Segers' curious positioning probably invited the finish and stopped this from appearing higher up the list, but it's still a wonderful goal which has stood the test of time. 

(Starts at 0:24)

18. Harry Kewell vs Arsenal (2002/03)

The trouble with goals scored at the end of the season, or at least those scored by teams with little to play for, is that they tend to be easily dismissed. In May 2003, Leeds’s only objective on arriving at Highbury, before their descent into financial oblivion, was to finish Arsenal’s title hopes for that season. 

And they did just that, handing Manchester United the championship after a 3-2 win, which begun with Harry Kewell carving this angled shot beyond David Seaman. Kewell burned brightly but briefly. History may record him as a Champions League winner (Liverpool in 2005), but really his career peaked early in those thrilling years at Leeds. 

17. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Portsmouth (2005/06)

Not the free-kick he scored at Old Trafford against the same opposition, but the spitting drive he unleashed at Fratton Park. At that point of his career, Ronaldo was still largely treated with distrust and reliably received plenty of abuse on the south coast that night, wolf-whistled and jeered every time he touched the ball.

This, on his weaker left foot, was quite an answer. Looking back now, this was one of the earliest indications of the goalscoring force he would ultimately become.

YEAR ZERO The making of Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United, 2006/07)

2:04 for Ron's rasper

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