Ranked! The 25 best Premier League goals EVER
8. Didier Drogba vs Liverpool (2005/06)
His signature goal. Drogba scored one similar when Chelsea faced Barcelona the following season, but the Premier League variation had difficulty on its side. The skill was hard enough – to hold off Jamie Carragher, to create enough separation to fashion a shooting angle – but the physics of the goal are absurd. To generate so much power and whip while going backwards is almost physically impossible. Almost.
7. Wayne Rooney vs Newcastle (2004/05)
Given recent events, nobody will have gone more than a day without seeing this goal. But to leave it off the list on those grounds would be contrary and wrong: it’s so descriptive.
This was Young Rooney, Angry Rooney, Liable To Scream In A Referee’s Face Before Doing Something Like This Rooney. And he was thrilling. An intoxicating blend of fury and ability that was never more watchable than he was here.
6. Dennis Bergkamp vs Newcastle (2001/02)
Did he mean it? Yes – and it really shouldn’t be that contentious.
Most of the cynicism exists because Bergkamp produced something few people had seen before at St James’ Park and because the bounce and spin of the ball was so unusual. But watch his reaction to his first touch: his movement was fluid and, rather than reading and reacting to an unexpected ricochet, he never broke stride. He knew where the ball was going, he knew how he was going to finish; it was exactly as he saw it in his head.
Or, as Bergkamp would tell The Guardian in 2015: “I thought the ball was a little too much behind me so I had to turn to control it. The quickest way to turn the ball was going that way. It looked a bit special, or strange, or nice, but for me it was the quickest way to the goal.”
5. Georgi Kinkladze vs Southampton (1995/96)
Interestingly, Kinkladze’s role in the Manchester City team would eventually cause great resentment among his team-mates. Tactically, everything became so focused towards the Georgian that a clear hierarchy would develop and fractures would begin to grow in Alan Ball's doomed squad.
The cost (of that and other factors) was relegation in May 1996, but the benefit was plain to see. City were regularly awful in the early-to-mid 1990s, reckless and chaotic, but Kinkladze was often brilliant and he never burned as brightly as he did on this gloomy afternoon at Maine Road.
4. Matthew Le Tissier vs Newcastle (1993/94)
The description writes itself and the internet is already heaving with loving tributes to Le Tissier. The appeal of this goal, like nearly every moment associated with him, lies in how it characterised his playing style: all of his craft and originality will forever remain packed into these few seconds.
Had it been scored by someone else it would still be among the finest Premier League goals in the competition’s history. That it belongs to Le Tissier and is replete with his various signatures allows it to endure all the more. It’s his masterpiece and even the bobbled finish at the end seems somehow right, acting as the rough edge to his brilliance.
3. Paolo Di Canio vs Wimbledon (1999/2000)
One of the challenges when compiling this kind of list is the regularity with which a lot of these goals are shown. Over time – and quite unfairly – Di Canio's goal has had its glint tarnished and, sadly, we’ve even become deadened to the resonance of Martin Tyler’s reaction in the commentary box.
Go outside and try this. Pump up an old Mitre, get a friend to fire it at you from 40 yards, and see if you can come close to replicating either the contact or the grace. Your neighbours will love you for it.
2. Tony Yeboah vs Liverpool (1995/96)
Iconic, because every Sunday morning when a ball breaks to a wheezing amateur on the edge of a wobbly-lined penalty box, this is the goal they envisage themselves replicating.
That’s quite the accolade: to score a goal which takes ownership of a genre. By late 1995, Nayim had filed the patent on optimistic punts from 40 yards and a year later David Beckham would plant his own flag on the halfway line, but does any player in the history of the game hold a more enviable two-goal association than Tony Yeboah?
Whenever anybody who lived in England in the 1990s sees the underside of a crossbar struck – in any game, in any competition – they think of him and they think of this.
1. Rod Wallace vs Tottenham (1993/94)
Hold those reflexive judgements and consider a couple of things. At the time that Wallace scored this goal, football was still quite primitive: the pitches weren't carpets and the players weren't super-athletes. Consider also how people might react to this today if it existed in gleaming high-definition and had been scored in a new-built cathedral stadium. Imagine the aesthetic, then – the angles, the slow motion, the applause rippling through the gentle-banked tiers. It would look wonderful.
Perhaps there's a prejudice at work, too? After all the famous faces who have come through the league and all the billions of pounds spend, it can't be that its greatest individual moment was produced by someone born in Lewisham. Truthfully, if Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry or Eden Hazard had run 70 yards, beaten three players and produced this finish, nobody would have ever stopped talking about it.