Premier League: 15 Best Goals in EPL History
Goals are the lifeblood of football. Sure tackles, tricks and tantrums are part of the game's appeal, but watching the net bulge after a spectacular effort is what keeps people glued to their seats or television sets.
The Premier League began play in the 1992-93 season. Counting up until the 2012-13 campaign, 21,651 goals have been scored.
Some own goals, some tap-ins, some offside and some didn't even cross the line; but there too have been undoubted moments of sheer brilliance and jaw-dropping awe—they're moments of splendor which keep us watching, writing and chanting every match week.
Here are the top 15 moments Premier League goal scorers have offered us thus far.
*As with all lists of this nature, some omissions have been made which may seem a bit harsh. Feel free to leave comments or links regarding your favourite EPL goals in the comment section!
Honourable Mention: Mario Balotelli vs. Norwich City (December 2011)
How could you not love Mario Balotelli? A man willing to score with his shoulder must be included in the countdown, albeit on the outskirts of it.
Balotelli was such a pleasure to watch—mainly because you never knew what he was going to do. Would he get a hat-trick, would he net a wonder goal, or would he make a rash tackle and get sent off? Nobody in Manchester knew, not even him.
Here's hoping the Italian enigma finds a way back to England before his career ends.
15. Michael Essien vs. Arsenal (December 2006)
The Stamford Bridge unbeaten streak announcers, pundits and fans love to bring up about Jose Mourinho was in grave jeopardy against Arsenal in December 2006.
Down 1-0 to the Gunners in the 84th minute, Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien took a pass from Frank Lampard and produced a moment of magic from far out to salvage a point and save a bit of history.
14. Robin van Persie vs. Charlton Athletic (September 2006)
Robin van Persie has had a series of impressive volleys in Premier League play. His effort against Aston Villa as a Manchester United player in 2013 was additional evidence, but his 2006 goal versus Charlton in an Arsenal kit was a class above.
The movement was typical orchestration by an Arsene Wenger side, but the Dutchman's finish was anything but "typical."
13. David Beckham vs. Wimbledon (August 1996)
David Beckham wasn't a global icon in 1996, but with the ability to score goals like the one shown above, there's no mystery why he is now.
This goal is famous and has been canonised as an all-time strike, but in goals like these, more attention should be given to poor goalkeeping.
That being said, having the unmitigated gall to attempt something that audacious has to be given its just due.
12. Steven Gerrard vs. Middlesbrough (April 2005)
Steven Gerrard is known mostly as a brilliant passer, but in his mood he can strike a ball as cleanly as any striker around.
The Liverpool captain's goal against Middlesbrough in 2005 is Exhibit A.
11. Didier Drogba vs. Everton (December 2006)
An irrepressible figure in Stamford Bridge for eight seasons, Didier Drogba scored 100 Premier League goals, but none as spectacular as his 2006 effort against Everton.
From well outside the "D," the Ivorian legend unleashed a rocket, beating American goalkeeper Tim Howard with a fantastic strike.
10. Peter Crouch vs. Manchester City (March 2012)
Standing at 6'8", Peter Crouch is an anomaly. Possessing the height of a goalkeeper and the technical ability of a forward, the Englishman's a handful for any defence.
Crouch's strike against Manchester City in 2012 was the perfect blend of his traits: the stature to corral the ball, and the ability to finish with great aplomb against England's No. 1 goalkeeper Joe Hart.
9. Papiss Demba Cisse vs. Chelsea (May 2012)
Currently, Newcastle United striker Papiss Demba Cisse is in a bit of a rut. But only 18 months ago he was in the form of his career.
Beating arguably the best Premier League goalkeeper of the past decade, Petr Cech, with a bit of magic, this goal's an absolute masterclass in shooting with the outside of a football boot.
8. Thierry Henry vs. Manchester United (September 2000)
The highest-scoring foreign player in Premier League history, with 175 goals in 258 appearances, Thierry Henry was the epitome of class.
Highlighted even more so by the competition, the Frenchman's flick-and-volley against Manchester United in 2000 was absolutely sublime.
7. Matt Le Tissier vs. Newcastle United (October 1993)
If you research "Matt Le Tissier goals" on YouTube or elsewhere, you'll begin to wonder if he ever scored a tap-in. All of his goals were spectacular. He enjoyed what can only be described as a unique ability to score wonder goals.
His goal against Newcastle United in the Premier League's second season of operation was the perfect combination of touch, skill and composure.
6. Tony Yeboah vs. Liverpool (August 1995)
Tony Yeboah's goal against Liverpool is widely seen as a Premier League classic. The ability to keep the football down yet keep the shot's pace was bewildering.
The Ghanaian striker's goal wasn't a one-off either; his goal against Wimbledon a month later has also been documented as a timeless Premier League strike.
Yeboah's play, highlighted by two wonder goals, earned him the 1996 Leeds United Player of the Year award.
5. Alan Shearer vs. Everton (December 2002)
As the Premier League's all-time leading goal scorer with 260, Alan Shearer was bound to have moments of utter brilliance—Everton in late 2002 being one of his many victims.
Claiming the ball 20 yards out and unleashing a venomous volley, the Englishman's goal is certainly an ageless Premier League wonder strike.
4. Eric Cantona vs. Sunderland (December 1996)
Eric Cantona plus that goal plus that celebration equals "legendary."
That is all.
3. Wayne Rooney vs. Manchester City (February 2011)
It's hard to place this goal. It could easily be higher, and it could easily be lower—but top three seems fair.
Wayne Rooney's bicycle effort against Manchester City is far and away the best goal produced in the 2010s so far. While it hasn't had the time to fully age like a fine wine, the goal speaks for itself.
A great ball in from Nani, against a stalwart City defense including Vincent Kompany, Micah Richards and Joe Hart, finished off in the most beautiful of fashions.
The goal in a word? Stunning.
2. Dennis Bergkamp vs. Newcastle United (March 2002)
Dennis Bergkamp's first touch against Newcastle United in 2002 was the best ever seen on a Premier League football pitch; that he followed it up with a goal made it all the more spectacular.
The Dutchman's touch and turn around the defender seemed effortless. The cool, collected finish was icing on the proverbial cake.
Words may detract from it, so just watch the goal again.
1. Paolo Di Canio vs. Wimbledon (March 2000)
Love him or hate him, Paolo Di Canio was a brilliant footballer, and he scored the greatest Premier League goal of all time.
The Italian's flying volley is like The Godfather; it gets better every time you watch it.
The irreverence to try the shot must be appreciated; that Di Canio actually made it at that angle, and in such style, can only be lauded and revered.