10 Players Who Have Scored Vital Goals Against Their Former Club
Robin van Persie's goal against Arsenal was inevitable.
Players have a habit of haunting their former employers. Nothing is more dramatic in football than an individual scoring an important goal against the team that used to pay their wages.
I've hunted down 10 vital goals scored by former players. All have produced memorable results.
Let's take a look. Enjoy the article!
Robin Van Persie vs Arsenal
Date: November 3, 2012
Result: Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Robin van Persie's goal against Arsenal was the inspiration for this article. The £25 million striker barely took three minutes to punish his former side. To make matters worse, the former Gunners captain latched onto a mistake from new skipper Thomas Vermaelen to put the home team ahead.
Old Trafford rocked, Piers Morgan scoffed, and United cruised to an easy victory.
While van Persie decided not to celebrate the goal, Wayne Rooney more than made up for his colleague's lack of enthusiasm with an over exuberant dive onto the Dutchman's back.
Kaspars Gorkss vs Queens Park Rangers
Date: November 4, 2012
Robin van Persie may have grabbed the headlines, but Kaspar Gorkss scored a goal of equal importance last weekend. The Reading centreback returned to Loftus Road and netted against his former club for the second time.
By finishing the acrobatic effort against Mark Hughes' side, Gorkss became the second Latvian ever to score in the Premier League (after Marian Pahars). His countrymen will be proud, but Reading manager Brian McDermott will be even happier with the strike.
Both sides are likely to be relegation fodder this season. Neither have won any of the opening 10 games. Gorkks' goal might prove to be hugely vital later in the season.
Glen Johnson vs Chelsea
Date: November 20, 2011
Liverpool fans fear the worst against Chelsea. Former golden boy Fernando Torres is yet to make an impact against the club that brought him to England.
Instead of realising away support's darkest fears, a former Chelsea man decided to steal the headlines in last year's clash at Stamford Bridge.
Glen Johnson brushed aside Ashley Cole and slotted home an excellent winning goal in the 87th minute. The home side had no time to reply, leaving Kenny Dalglish with a rare three points.
Kevin Phillips vs Sunderland
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Date: November 19, 2005
The highlight of Kevin Phillips' career undoubtedly came in the red and white of Sunderland. He netted 30 Premier League goals in the 1999-00 season, winning plenty of plaudits and the European Golden Shoe in the process (via UEFA.com).
Alongside the assistance of Niall Quinn, Phillips provided the Black Cats with some memorable moments. Unfortunately for Sunderland, the striker didn't lose his touch once he moved on.
Phillips' headed goal for Aston Villa condemned his former side to a 3-1 defeat. Although early in the season, Sunderland never recovered. The club plummeted towards the Championship, finishing in last place by 15 points.
David Villa vs Sporting Gijon
Date: September 22, 2010
Result: Barcelona 1-0 Sporting Gijon
How good is Barcelona without Lionel Messi? Thankfully for the Catalans, this isn't a question that has needed to be answered too often.
The Argentine maestro is Barcelona's most potent threat.
When he was missing in the 2010 clash against Sporting Gijon, the Camp Nou witnessed a noticeable lack of spark. Pep Guardiola's team needed inspiration from another source. David Villa was the man to provide it.
Villa smartly finished an incisive move by the home side. The tiny Spaniard jogged away apologetically, reminding Gijon fans he has the utmost respect for the club. Barcelona eventually pipped Real Madrid to the La Liga crown by four points, indicating Villa's goal was hugely important.
Sporting Gijon may be sick of the playing against their former employee. Villa netted another beauty against the side in February 2011.
Nicolas Anelka vs Liverpool
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Date: May 3, 2003
Result: Liverpool 1-2 Manchester City
Nicolas Anelka wanted to be a Liverpool player. He enjoyed a successful loan spell at the club. Gerard Houllier looked set to splash out on the Frenchman, but decided to spend his cash on El-Hadji Diouf. A silly maneuver with hindsight.
Diouf's inspirational displays at World Cup 2002 ensured a big move for the Senegalese striker. Anelka ended up at Manchester City, where he would later haunt supporters in the Kop.
With his side 1-0 down, the former Arsenal man shot into life. He won and dispatched a penalty to make the score 1-1. Seconds before the final whistle, Anelka stole all three points with an impressive volley.
Liverpool missed out on an automatic Champions League spot and City finished in the top half of the table.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Inter Milan
Date: November 14, 2010
Result: Inter 0-1 Milan
Oh Zlatan. You loveable, arrogant and completely ridiculous man.
No surprises here.
The Big Swede won and converted the penalty which beat his old side. The Inter fans weren't happy with Ibrahimovic's decision to join the red side of the city. Supporters voiced their disdain at his reappearance in Milan, but Zlatan answered in the only way he knows how.
No, not with a kung-fu kick.
Ibrahimovic scored the winner, prompting Milan's vice-president Adriano Galliani to say the Serie A title was in the bag by Christmas (via The Guardian). Of course, Galliani was correct. Milan captured the Scudetto by six points, leaving Inter in second.
Stephan El Shaarawy vs Genoa
Date: October 27, 2012
Stephan El Shaarawy has been a rare bright spot in AC Milan's torrid season. The 20-year-old is currently the leading scorer in Serie A, netting eight goals in 11 matches so far.
The youngster's instinctive strike against Genoa may turn out to be a key goal for the Rossoneri. Milan remain in 10th position, picking up just 14 points from a possible 33. If they are to qualify for the Champions League next season, El Shaarawy's strike may make all the difference.
Emmanuel Adebayor vs Arsenal
Date: September 12, 2009
Result: Manchester City 4-2 Arsenal
Emmanuel Adebayor's knows how to rile the opposition's fans. His well-placed header and subsequent celebration is arguably more famous than any other event on this list.
Running the entire length of the Etihad Stadium is a silly thing to do. As you can see in the clip, Arsenal fans are rightfully provoked in a scene that could have gone sour if it wasn't for the effective work of stewards.
While Adebayor's goal put City above Arsenal for the time being, the Gunners eventually toppled Roberto Mancini's side. The Citizens ended the Premier League season in fifth—a major step for a club that continues to strengthen with frightening pace.
Denis Law vs Manchester United
Date: April 27, 1974
Result: Manchester United 0-1 Manchester City
Denis Law is a Manchester United legend. He also scored one of the most discussed goals in English history against his former side, although the myth is more appealing than fact.
Law returned to Old Trafford with Manchester City on the final day of the 73-74 season. He brilliantly backheeled a late winner and opted not to celebrate. Law believed his goal had relegated his former club. It turns out United were going down no matter what, so Law could eventually remain guilt free.
Even so, the iconic striker struggled with the stigma. He spoke to The Daily Mail in April 2010:
I was inconsolable. I didn’t want it to happen. How long did the feeling last? How long ago was the game? Thirty-odd years. There is your answer.
The subject always crops up. It’s one of those things. It’s always there and I am always remembered for it. That’s a shame.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to discuss the list and any other relevant goals in the comments section below. Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter: