Picking the Premier League's 15 Best Goals of the Year
Premier League season 2012-13 is complete. With the final round of results confirmed, it's time to select the 15 best goals of the year.
As you'll see, there are plenty of candidates to choose from. In order to distinguish the good from the great, a loose set of criteria has been applied to determine exactly which goals deserve to be outlined as the most memorable of the year.
Important strikes will receive a slight advantage, as will contributions from unlikely sources. Impressive technique and unique goals may also receive favourable treatment. Has your favourite goal of the season been included?
Read on to find out.
Here's 50 goals that should be considered the best of the rest. These are not ranked in any particular order and could be debated until the end of time as to which should be included inside the top 15. Enjoy!
UPDATE: After a complete brain malfunction, Rafael's corker against QPR is missing from the list. Feel free to consider this inside the top 15, and be sure to call me a doofus for accidentally overlooking the strike: Rafael vs. Queens Park Rangers.
Fernando Torres vs. Newcastle United
15. Hatem Ben Arfa vs. Aston Villa
Injured for much of the season, Newcastle United fans will hope the Magpies' dismal campaign doesn't force Hatem Ben Arfa to lose interest in the club.
His early season performances suggested that, if Alan Pardew was able to deploy the Frenchman more regularly, St. James' Park wouldn't have struggled under the threat of relegation. Ben Arfa's wonderful September strike saw Newcastle nab a point at home to Aston Villa in a 1-1 draw (via BBC).
14. Sebastian Larsson vs. West Ham United
Sebastian Larsson's worst Premier League season has coincided with Sunderland battling against the drop.
The experienced Swede scored once in a disappointing campaign for the Black Cats. Thankfully for Larsson, it was an absolute corker that kickstarted Sunderland into an important 3-0 win over West Ham. Just look at the way he wallops that ball.
13. Jason Puncheon vs. Chelsea
Southampton's topsy-turvy season has seen them be relegation favourites, safe from the drop, relegation fodder once more and then ultimately safe again. Amongst the yo-yo ride, Nigel Adkins was replaced by Mauricio Pochettino as Saints boss.
Amidst the madness was a number of important goals for the newly-promoted side. Trailing 2-0 away at Chelsea, nobody expected Southampton to offer any sort of challenge going into the game's final third. An excellent Rickie Lambert header made the score 2-1, before Jason Puncheon brilliantly flicked up and volleyed home the equaliser.
Unfortunately for Adkins, he would get the chop just days after the remarkable comeback (via BBC).
12. Jose Enrique vs. Swansea City
Brendan Rodgers has fitted Liverpool with a free-flowing attacking style that isn't too dissimilar to his style at Swansea.
Sadly for his former employers, this came into play when Jose Enrique latched onto a memorable move for the Reds, as Liverpool brushed the Welsh side away 5-0 at Anfield.
This goal will be a little low down the list for some. The reasoning for such a monstrous decision is that many of Swansea's starting lineup were rested due to the imminent Capital One Cup final and that Enrique's goal didn't have much impact on the result. Harsh, but that's what criteria is for.
A stunning goal nonetheless.
11. Sergio Aguero vs. Liverpool
Pepe Reina strikes me as a the kind of guy who likes to see others happy. Look here; all the Spaniard wanted to do was give Cesc Fabregas a lovely keepsake for winning the 2010 World Cup.
Perhaps Reina has become too generous. With Liverpool leading at the Etihad, the 30-year-old stopper decided to rush wide of his goal to collect a long ball. Sergio Aguero lurked and quickly changed the momentum of the pass to his favour.
Although an open goal showed itself, the Argentinian's present wasn't quite gift-wrapped. Aguero calmly tucked his shot into the back of the net from an insanely tight angle, providing City with a 2-2 draw and decent point towards second place (via BBC).
10. Theo Walcott vs. Newcastle United
You might want to phone an ambulance, because this top 10 will make your jaw drop out of place. Like Jason Derulo, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott kicks us off with a goal that can only be described as "Ridin' Solo."
Granted, the Gunners were already 6-3 up against Newcastle at this point. Walcott wanted more, and in the dying seconds, picked the ball up on the left wing. Little danger seemed imminent until he turned on those explosive afterburners.
Walcott evades at least four challenges, hits the deck, gets back up again and chips the ball over the onrushing keeper. A real highlight from one of the season's most memorable results.
9. Kevin Mirallas vs. Stoke City
Another solo goal makes it just inside the top 10.
Kevin Mirallas' debut season at Everton has seen him struggle with injury and fitness problems, but the Belgian's talents remain impressive. Goodison Park saw the best of him as the campaign came to a close, summed up by his ridiculous solo effort against Stoke.
Picking the ball up inside his own half, Mirallas bamboozles his opponents with a quick twist of the hips and burst of pace. His goal comes in ahead of Walcott's contribution due to it being an important winner for the Toffees (via BBC).
Although Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth aren't the quickest defenders, Mirallas made their movements appear in slow-motion with his excellent run.
8. Emmanuel Adebayor vs. Chelsea
Emmanuel Adebayor has been useless this season. Truly useless.
Even so, Tottenham's disinterested forward managed one moment of genius during a Spurs' last-ditched attempt to grab a place in the 2013-14 Champions League.
With Chelsea leading at Stamford Bridge, Adebayor bumbled from his own half and towards the home side's penalty area. Rafa Benitez's defence didn't bother challenging the Togolese forward, providing him with the perfect opportunity to curl a shot into Petr Cech's top corner.
Adebayor's goal helped Spurs to a 2-2 draw against the Blues, but it wasn't enough by the season's end (via BBC).
7. Gareth Bale vs. Sunderland
Talking of important goals for Tottenham, how often did Gareth Bale thrust his team away from a disappointing result?
Even on the final day of the season—with the Spurs needing a win—the Welshman delivered in front of the White Hart Lane crowd. Bale's late winner summed up the 23-year-old's incredible season and added a few extra coins onto any possible transfer fee away from North London (via BBC).
We've witnessed a number of Bale corkers this year. Although Arsenal's result meant the Spurs didn't qualify for the Champions League, he wasn't to know. Bale's powerful finish was undoubtedly the best of his (pretty stunning) lot.
6. Cameron Jerome vs. Southampton
Now for a spot of role-play. I'm going to describe Cameron Jerome's goal using Tony Pulis' pre-match tactical team talks as inspiration.
"Long ball. Push about a bit. Run towards Peter Crouch. Thwack! Perfect."
Joking aside, Jerome's stunning long-ranger provided Stoke with a vital point in the 3-3 draw with Southampton (via BBC).
5. Leon Osman vs. Manchester City
It takes something truly special to break into the top five goals of the 2012-13 Premier League season.
Leon Osman knows exactly what to do. His curled opener in the 2-0 win against Manchester City underlined an Everton side that lost just one home game all year. Doggedness, determination and a hint of style often saw Goodison Park visitors off quickly and efficiently.
Joe Hart was left with no chance. Osman floats the ball into his England colleague's top corner with an absolutely wicked curl. Wonderful technique from the often overlooked engine in a game that pretty much forced City to say goodbye to the Premier League trophy (via BBC).
4. David Luiz vs. Fulham
David Luiz seems to be popping up on more and more best goals lists.
With one or two Europa League corkers to his name, the frizzle-haired Brazilian saved his best for the Premier League outing at Craven Cottage. Hitting the ball from such a distance takes guts. Managing to blast it beyond the reach of Mark Schwarzer takes a tremendous amount of skill.
Luiz opened the scoring in a routine 3-0 victory for Chelsea. Despite an easy win, the result would go a long way to sewing up third place for the Europa League winners (via BBC).
3. Luis Suarez vs. Newcastle United
Sometimes a goal's brilliance isn't determined by distance. Sometimes insane technique prevails over any top corner finish.
Luis Suarez's equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle is one of those goals (via BBC). Jose Enrique's long pass looks to be going nowhere until Suarez expertly outruns Fabricio Coloccini, controls the ball with his shoulder, rounds Tim Krul and pokes into an open net.
Only a handful of players across the world would be able to complete this move. The Uruguayan's ability to stop the ball dead—whilst running away from the pass—is just absolutely phenomenal.
2. Robin Van Persie vs. Aston Villa
Robin van Persie's debut season for Manchester United saw the Dutchman emerge as the Premier League's top scorer with 26 goals.
Similar to Bale and Suarez, the 29-year-old netted plenty of brilliant goals at important moments for his team. The best undoubtedly came in the 3-0 home win over Aston Villa; a game United had to win in order to secure the domestic championship.
Wayne Rooney's pinpoint long pass is matched by Van Persie's run. The striker peels away from the Villa defence and volleys straight beyond Brad Guzan. Not only was Van Persie running at full speed, he didn't even bother to take a touch before unleashing the shot.
This goal sneaks in above Suarez's effort due to its perfect timing. If Manchester United's season is to be remembered for one moment, this is probably it.
1. Matthew Lowton vs. Stoke City
Let's think about the aforementioned criteria once more. The 2012-13 Premier League goal of the season needs to show amazing technique, be highly important and come from an unlikely source.
Matthew Lowton's unbelievable winner against Stoke ticks all the boxes. Although Paul Lambet's men eventually went on to win 3-1, the full-back's ridiculous volley secured three points with just three minutes remaining (via BBC). Hit that reply button and watch it over and over again.
When you consider Villa finished five points above the relegation zone, and were deep in trouble when this goal went in, it pips Van Persie's effort to the finish line. A thoroughly deserved winner from a campaign littered with memorable moments.
Which goal is your favourite of the season? Any missing from this list? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to follow me on Twitter right here:
All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored
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