Manchester United's 10 Best Goals of the 2013/14 Premier League Season
When discussing great goals, it's rare that people will agree on which one is the best, as we all look for something different in our favourite goals.
Some people like to see a screamer, where the player picks the ball up on the edge of the area and thumps it in to the back of the net on the volley. That's my sort of goal.
Other people like to see intricate build-up play, with clever one-touch passing and great vision, although wouldn't insist it needed to result in a spectacular finish, as the quality of the goal was seen in how it was created.
The favourite goal for some fans will be against hated rivals. It doesn't matter how it goes in the net, as long as it does.
The occasion and context of the goal can be important to some supporters, with last-minute winners or goals in important games ranking highly on their list of favourites.
So, bearing all of that in mind, which Manchester United goals of 2013-2014 were the best?
10. Carrick vs Fulham
Manchester United's 2-2 draw against Fulham was a turning point for many supporters, with lots of reds coming to the conclusion that David Moyes just wasn't cut out for the job.
United conceded a goal early on, with Steve Sidwell putting the relegation fighters 1-0 up after 18 minutes.
With 15 minutes left to play, United were still losing, until Robin van Persie scored an equaliser. The home fans could breathe a sigh of relief at avoiding further humiliation.
Before even having the time to take to their seats, the fans saw United take the lead 80 seconds later after a Michael Carrick effort from outside the box deflected in to the top corner.
It was only against Fulham, and the opposition went on to score an injury-time equaliser anyway, but when it went in Old Trafford was absolutely rocking.
9. Juan Mata vs Newcastle
Whilst you could also include Juan Mata's first goal from his game in the shortlist, as you probably could every free-kick he has scored for United this season, it is his second goal that stands out.
Javier Hernandez made a great run down the right-hand side and pulled back a perfectly weighted ball for Mata. The Spaniard dropped his shoulder, which lead to Fabricio Coloccini throwing himself across the pitch in attempt to block Mata's effort, and Rob Elliot going to ground. Instead of shooting though, Mata took a touch with his left foot before tapping in to the open net with his right.
The goal, in the end, was easy to score, but that is only because of Mata's ability to con the opposition with his movement.
8. Nani vs Bayer Leverkusen
United's 5-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen, who were the second-best side in Germany at the time, was one of the stranger moments of the season.
Whilst Antonio Valencia's powerful shot that put United 1-0 up was a decent-enough finish, it was Nani's goal, two minutes from time, that was the best of the evening.
Ryan Giggs played a looping ball over the Leverkusen defence which Nani ran on to, sandwiched between two players. He took one touch to take the ball around the keeper and then from an incredibly tight angle found the net with the outside of his right boot.
There aren't many United players who could score a goal like this, it was a rare finish for most players in fact, but it's just a shame for the fans that these moments of genius are few and far between where Nani is concerned.
7. Adnan Januzaj vs Newcastle
The away win for United against Newcastle had already been wrapped up when Adnan Januzaj found the back of the net in the second minute of injury time. A 4-0 win over Newcastle at a point when United didn't have anything to play for meant very little.
This finish was probably the least impressive of all Januzaj's goals too, but the assist for it was fantastic.
The Belgian picked up the ball outside of the penalty area and played it forward to Mata. Mata stabbed the ball behind him and back across goal with his heel, perfectly weighted for Januzaj to run on to. Januzaj, surrounded by defenders, then beat the goalkeeper at the near post.
6. Ashley Young vs Stoke
Ashley Young isn't a popular figure at Manchester United and his contribution to any success they've enjoyed since he signed for them has been negligible.
That said, he does have a habit of scoring screamers, even if he hardly ever scores. The scorcher he scored against West Ham would probably be a contender for most team's goals of the season, but it was his finish against Stoke that really took people's breath away.
With over an hour played and the scoreline still at 0-0 in the Capital One Cup, Young played a one-two with Chicharito then smacked the ball in to the back of the net. The speed of it left the goalkeeper with no chance. BANG!
5. Adnan Januzaj vs Sunderland
Januzaj made his full debut on the first weekend of October as United travelled to Sunderland. United conceded after five minutes and went in 1-0 down at half-time.
However, 10 minutes after the restart, the United youngster equalised after thumping Patrice Evra's cross in to the back of the net.
Six minutes later, John O'Shea tried to head away a Nani cross but instead set up Januzaj perfectly to score the winner, with him scoring a quality goal on the volley.
The finish was fantastic but this goal was about much more than that to United fans. Having spent the past few weeks raving about Januzaj after the rare glimpses they'd had, this was the moment he really stepped up to the plate, and he saved United from defeat with two moments of top quality.
4. Wayne Rooney vs Hull
On Boxing Day, United went 2-0 down against Hull with less than 15 minutes played. It's wasn't quite the Christmas present United fans had been hoping for.
However, within 10 minutes, United were level, thanks to Rooney assisting Chris Smalling, before scoring a cracking goal for himself.
He played a one-two with Welbeck before catching the ball perfectly on his laces. The ball looped up in to the air then dropped down perfectly over the goalkeeper's fingers and into the goal.
The technique was fantastic but the relief United fans felt to be back in the game after going 2-0 down was huge. United went on to win the game 3-2.
3. Danny Welbeck vs Swansea
The nerves ahead of United's opening game of the season against Swansea must have been huge. Their first game without Sir Alex Ferguson. But on that day, it turned out they had nothing to worry about.
Robin van Persie scored two quality goals, which narrowly miss out on the top 10, and Danny Welbeck grabbed one as well.
Then, two minutes into injury time, Welbeck scored a fantastic goal. Rooney played him through and he took one touch with his left, before chipping the ball in to the far corner.
In the first game of the season, local boy Danny had already equalled last season's scoring tally, and what a way it was for him to do it.
2. Wayne Rooney vs West Ham
Rooney's 60-yard half-volley was voted United's goal of the season by the fans and this honour was recognised at the end-of-year celebration last week.
David Beckham, who was the last United player to score from the half-way line, was watching from a box at the Boleyn Ground. There was plenty of debate over which of these long-distance goals was better but, for me, it has to be Rooney's.
Young had booted the ball up the pitch rather hopefully in the direction of Rooney. The England striker let it bounce then caught it perfectly on his boot, leaving the goalkeeper wrong-footed and the United fans and players celebrating wildly.
To direct a ball accurately for that distance without the benefit of striking it dead from the ground is an incredible skill. You don't see goals like this very often!
1. Patrice Evra vs Bayern Munich
Evra's goal has to be United's best of the season because it ticks so many boxes for what a great goal should be.
Firstly, Evra is a bit of a cult hero at the club and it's always great to see your favourite players score. Secondly, this was a goal scored against the current champions of Europe and Germany at their ground. Thirdly, the goal put United 1-0 up meaning, as it stood, United were set to progress to the Champions League semi-finals. Fourthly, the goal was an absolute scorcher.
Antonio Valencia put a cross in to the box but it missed all of the players. Evra, who had legged it down the left wing, arrived at the edge of the box just in time to meet the ball and struck it perfectly with his first touch.
That feeling was the best feeling any United fan had experienced all season, even if it was short-lived! But if you're still not sold on the goal, you should listen to Evra's explanation of it.
It was an emotional day, the day before the game. Everyone had been to the Munich memorial, where the plane had crashed with the Busby Babes. It was amazing. I was talking with a young player like Adnan Januzaj and telling him, 'These people were like us, they were on a plane going to play a football game.' And at the end they never see their families again.
I always pray before games, I pray every day – to save my family, I even sometimes pray for my enemy. But I asked, 'Can I give something for the Busby Babes'. I didn't say a goal, but just to make sure we played for them in that game. That's why when I scored that goal, you can see I was really emotional, I was angry. I couldn't believe it. That's my little secret – and now everyone knows that secret. In the end we went out of the competition and that is why I was really disappointed, but it was a special moment for me.
Congratulations, Pat. What a goal.
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