The English Premier League will be celebrating 20 completed seasons once 2011-2012 is all wrapped up, so the men incharge decided it should be a good time to choose the greatest goal so far in the short history of England’s ‘new’ top footballing division.
Old, new and whatever’s in between – Four Englishmen in Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Alan Shearer and Matthew Le Tissier (only player with two goals on this list) and five foreign players – Two from France (Cantona, Henry), one Dutch (Bergkamp), one Italian (Di Canio) and one from Ghana, Tony Yeboah.
Matthew Le Tissier
Le Tissier is the only player on this list with two goals, as he had this knack of only scoring pretty ones. And he scored a lot of them. Le Tissier spent his entire career with Southampton, scoring 162 goals in 443 matches, 102 of them under the flagship of the premiership, the first midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League. The first goal is Le Tissier scoring against Newcastle on October 24, 1993. The second one is against Blackburn, on December 1994.
Despite his success in league play for Southampton, Le Tissier only won 8 caps for the English national team.
Tony Yeboah never won anything with his teams, but he was quite the prolific goal scorer before injuries and age caught up with him. Only the second black player to appear in the Bundesliga, Yeboah made it to Leeds United in 1995, making an immediate impact with two stunning goals against Liverpool and Wimbledon. His Liverpool cracker made this list from all of Yeboah’s strikes, finishing with 23 goals in 47 Premier League matches. It was scored on August 21, 1995.
Still doing his free kicking thing for the Los Angeles Galaxy, that goal against Wimbledon was the moment David Beckham broke out, and the mania revolving his looks and skills began. Beckham went up to the United senior squad in 1992, but didn’t play a match until the 1994-1995 season. He won six Premier League title with the club before leaving to Real Madrid. He scored the goal on August 17, 1996.
There was always something special about Eric Cantona. You know there were better players than him, but no one was quite like the genius-madman, who played a huge part in Manchester United’s revival and return to the status of the biggest team in England. He scored 64 goals in 143 matches for the team, winning for league titles, leaving after turning 31, at the top. His nomination came from a goal against Sunderland on December 21, 1996. The arrogance after the goal makes it even better.
Paolo Di Canio
Di Canio has been through quite a few teams, much bigger than West Ham. He struck a chord with the fans, not just for his goal scoring and the next goal on the list, which was voted as the goal of the decade in the Premier League. He scored 48 goals 4.5 seasons for the Hammers, most memorably this one against Wimbledon on March 26, 2000.
The best striker in the world during the previous decade, and Henry just might be the greatest player in the 20 year history of the Premier League. He won two league titles under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, including the famous Invincibles’ season of 2003-2004. He scored 176 goals in 258 matches for the Gunners, including this classic against Manchester United on October 1, 2000.
Dennis Bergkamp arriving at Arsenal in 1995 signaled the change of ways for the Gunners. From George Graham and ‘Boring, Boring Arsenal’ to something more… continental. Bergkamp scored 87 goals in 315 league matches for Arsenal, winning three league titles under Arsene Wenger. His incredible goal against Newcastle on March 2, 2002, was another example of how Bergkamp just couldn’t score a goal that wasn’t great. No tap ins, what so ever.
Alan Shearer still sits safely on top of the Premier League’s scoring list, scoring 260 goals in 441 Premier League matches for Blackburn and Newcastle. He won the golden boot, the league’s top scorer award, three seasons in a row (1995-1997), scoring at least 20 goals a season seven times. He won one league title, with Blackburn, in 1995. His great goals aren’t brilliant-genius type ones. Shearer was never the gentle type. This one came against Everton on December 1, 2002.
Wayne Rooney might have a shot at Shearer’s record if he keeps his scoring pace at this rate, so far netting 141 times in 314 matches. He started his career famously with a great goal for Everton against Arsenal, making him the youngest scorer in the history of the EPL at the time. Like many others on this list, Rooney tends to mix his scoring with penalty kicks and brilliant ones as well, non more famous than his scissor kick against Manchester City on February 12, 2011.