Top five significant Premier League goals
The English Premier League has witnessed many heroic moments and dazzling displays till date. And nothing enthralls a fan more than the sight of a great goal. But when the occasion is of incredible significance, the effect that a goal has, is manifold. We look at five such crucial EPL goals.
5. Didier Drogba (2010)
The Ivory Coast striker was a supreme attacking phenomenon with brute force and incisive finishing that he was almost impossible to mark for a defender. But when Chelsea visited Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side finding itself a solo point below Sir Alex’s men, Didier Drogba found himself on the bench. With Chelsea leading through Joe Cole’s back heel opener, Drogba came on for Nicolas Anelka and 11 minutes later, he doubled the lead for the Blues, albeit in hugely controversial circumstances. Salomon Kalou charged forward and slipped a clever pass beyond the United defence, for Drogba to lash it home past a hapless Edwin Van der Sar. Replays confirmed that the striker was clearly offside. However, the goal stood and proved to be the winner, as Chelsea won the game 2-1 and took a two point lead with five games to play, only to win the title a few days later.
4. Wayne Rooney (2011)
Arguably one of England’s most natural and instinctive footballers, Wayne Rooney produced a gravity-defying moment to stun the Old Trafford crowd at the biggest of occasions; a Manchester Derby. City had equalized through David Silva after Nani had put United ahead on a tense day. After the drama that unfolded at the start of the 2010-11 season that left Rooney tantalizingly close to a mega money move to the blue half of Manchester, the Englishman stayed put and gave every Red Devil fan a reason to celebrate. Nani crossed the ball a bit high from the right flank behind Rooney who positioned himself near the penalty spot after a minor readjustment and acrobatically sent a strong bicycle kick, that thundered into the net, well clear of Joe Hart. No list would be possible without mentioning this worldie, which saw United extend their vice-like grip on the top of the table, and win the title eventually.
3. Thierry Henry (2004)
A search for the most defining contribution by Thierry Henry for Arsenal would get us to the epic match against Liverpool at Highbury in the 2003-04 season. During the season in which Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ finished unbeaten and came close to footballing perfection, the match was played at a breakneck speed, with Arsenal having lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup semifinal and to Chelsea in the last eight Champions League earlier. They found themselves a goal down within five minutes thanks to Sami Hyypia, and their lead being curtailed to four points. Henry equalized only for Michael Owen to make it 2-1 from a brilliant through ball from Steven Gerrard. The Frenchman combined with Freddie Ljungberg to set up Robert Pires to restore parity, before scoring what was a momentous goal in EPL history. After collecting the ball inside his own half, he intelligently got away from the Liverpool players and literally glided past Dietmar Hamann and Jamie Carragher before calmly guiding it past a spellbound Jerzy Dudek. Henry went on to complete his hat-trick, making it 4-2 for Arsenal, and extended the Gunners’ lead to seven points with as many matches remaining.
2. Steve Bruce (1993)
Manchester United’s first title winning season of 1992-93 saw them welcoming Sheffield Wednesday to Old Trafford. In what was the debut season of the newly branded Premier League, the Owls went in front. However, United captain Steve Bruce had other ideas. He had always been a threat in set pieces, although he had a goal drought for six months, which was to end in unreal fashion. The centre-half thumped home a header from a Denis Irwin corner to make it 1-1. To compensate for the game time lost during the treatment of the referee before he went off, seven minutes of injury time were added, in what was unofficially the beginning of ‘Fergie time’. United threw the kitchen sink at it, and in the 96th minute, Gary Pallister’s cross found Bruce again who emphatically headed the winner into the bottom corner, sparking delirious scenes at Old Trafford. Buoyed by that morale-boosting victory, United won the last five games of the season, finished 10 points above Aston Villa, and ended the 26-year wait for their league success. This proved to be the catalyst for a period of domination from the red half of Manchester.
1. Sergio Aguero (2012)
There may have been better goals and better champions, but nothing in the 25 years upstages this moment for the sheer fact that it brought the season down to the very last second. It was pandemonium as the moment sealed the title in favour of Manchester City. Sergio Aguero is a glorious hero in the brief history of the Cityzens, and that is primarily due to the sensational winner he scored in City’s 3-2 win over Queens Park Rangers. City had to repeat what United did on the final day, and the Red Devils having beaten Sunderland away 1-0, City had to get all three points. They found themselves trailing 2-1 as injury time came up, when Edin Dzeko gave them a lifeline by rising high from a corner to smash a header past the keeper, in the 92nd minute. In what was an incredible turn-around, Aguero collected the ball from Mario Balotelli on the edge of the box before rounding Nedum Onuoha and hammering it past Paddy Kenny to deliver City their first title in 44 years. The iconic goal at the Etihad Stadium saw City edge United on goal difference.