And by ‘Premier League era’, we mean since 1992. Yes, football did exist before that time, we know…
The list includes any goal scored by a team in the English top flight in any competition since 1992. Goalkeeping errors have been omitted because, well, they are funny in their own right and should have their own list. They will have their own list…
10) Joselu (NEWCASTLE 1-1 Liverpool, October 2017)
Capitalising on Liverpool’s defensive deficiencies, Jonjo Shelvey guided a pass through a channel down which an oil tanker could have been manoeuvred. Straight pass on to a straight run… it shouldn’t happen in the Premier League but with the Liverpool defence, anything is possible.
Still, Joselu was not satisfied. As well as a clear run on goal, he also wanted all the time in the world. Joel Matip recovered to make what was a simple tackle, but he succeeded only in diverting the ball against Joselu’s standing leg. The rebound bewildered Simon Mignolet – a recurring theme in this feature – as it trickled into the far corner. Joselu thought briefly about how he should celebrate, given the farcical nature of the goal, but chose to turn away and milk it like he’d just netted a 30-yard thunderb*stard. Good lad.
9) Juan Mata (Tottenham 1-5 CHELSEA, April 2012)
Awful in that it just wasn’t a goal.
Everyone loves a goalmouth scramble, and Carlo Cudicini’s fine save prompted one just after half-time. Ledley King brilliantly cleared the following loose ball despite having John Terry plough through him, but it landed upon Mata’s left foot. Mata caressed the ball towards goal but, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto, King and Terry all having a cuddle on the line, there was no way through. That didn’t stop Mata wheeling away with his arm in the hair, which was apparently enough to fool Martin Atkinson.
“I spoke to the referee and he said he feels worse than I do about it – I said ‘I don’t think so'”, said Harry Redknapp. Which is justification enough for us.
8) Luka Modric (TOTTENHAM 3-1 Wigan, 2009)
Perhaps it is a little harsh to include Luka Modric’s goal for Tottenham in an FA Cup victory over Wigan in 2009 on a list of the worst goals in the Premier League era. Watching the replay, it is clear to see the ball does not simply hit the gifted Croatian and find the back of the net, but he adjusts himself to head the ball into the empty goal.
However, consider that the goal was so fortuitous that Modric felt it necessary to temporarily morph into Robbie Keane, you realise that the man who would become a Galactico must have been trying to hide his guilt at scoring such a wonderfully terrible goal.
7) Darren Bent (SUNDERLAND 1-0 Liverpool, 2009)
“It was me. I’m the one who did it. I’m the one caught on camera. I’m so, so sorry. This is my worst, worst nightmare.”
When Callum Campbell threw a beach ball onto the Stadium of Light pitch during a Premier League game in October 2009, he did not think of the consequences. He did not think he would be explaining his actions ten days later in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mirror, nor that he would be cast as the sole villain in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland. He did not expect to receive death threats, and he did not intend to overshadow the grand occasion that was Jay Spearing’s Premier League debut. But, alas, the then 16-year-old fan was branded as the man responsible for one of the most bizarre goals in the competition’s history. Not the referee for failing to disallow the strike, nor the Liverpool players for being so terrible that they couldn’t score themselves. No, this was Campbell’s fault.
Football is so weird.
6) Thierry Henry (ARSENAL 4-1 Fulham, 2002)
When you think of Arsenal in the early years of this Millennium, you think of flowing football, intricate passing, unstoppable counter-attacks and a buoyant Gunnersaurus. When you think of Thierry Henry at Arsenal, you think of immense skill, incredible pace, an innate ability to score almost every single one of his goals by opening up his body and curling the ball low into the far corner, and an excitable Gunnersaurus.
Why Arsenal opted to unveil a statue of Henry celebrating one of his wonderful strikes against Tottenham is unknown, particularly when they had the option of choosing to immortalise his effort against Fulham in 2002. Starting the attack, the Frenchman laid the ball off to Pires, who crossed for Lauren at the back post. The Cameroonian nodded the ball back into the area, with a bemused Henry the beneficiary as he inadvertently bundled the ball in with his shin. Gunnersaurus, fun-loving connoisseur of the beautiful game that he is, observed his own minute’s silence later that evening.
5) Michail Antonio (WEST HAM 2-1 Southampton, 2015)
The West Ham attacker gave not one toss that his equaliser against the Saints was so jammy. It was his first goal for the club and came shortly after club owner David Gold had retweeted some wag’s plea to help find a missing person.
— Jasper (@Jasipai) November 4, 2015
He took it well – “I see it as banter. If I am honest, for the first three months I was a missing person” – which is more than can be said for the goal itself. He dribbled into the box from the left, fell over Jose Fonte’s leg before having the ball smashed at his head by Victor Wanyama. But for the first time during his early days at West Ham, Antonio got the break of the ball, as it came off his bonce and looped up over Marten Stekelenburg.
That ricochet inspired Antonio to set up the winner, claim the Man of the Match award, become West Ham’s top scorer and earn two new contracts and an England call-up.
4) Cesc Fabregas (Sunderland 1-1 ARSENAL, September 2010)
If Fabregas ever tells his kids about this goal, they will hear all about how he chipped the keeper, first-time, from 40 yards. Presumably in the hope that they never see the video.
The Arsenal midfielder closed down Anton Ferdinand as the defender attempted a long ball, forgetting that Ferdinand was probably about to gift the Gunners a throw-in anyway. But instead of the ball rebounding off out of play or back to Mignolet, it sailed over the keeper’s head, prompting Steve Bruce to put his head in his hands.
Typical Arsenal – they failed to make the most of their good fortune. They went on to miss a penalty and allow Darren Bent an injury-time equaliser.
3) Phil Masinga (Arsenal 1-3 LEEDS, December 1994)
The highlight of his time at Elland Road must be the brace that helped Leeds end a 19-year drought at Highbury, though his hat-trick in the FA Cup against Walsall might come close. Beyond that, well, he only scored six other goals…
His first at Arsenal was well taken enough, capitalising on uncertainty at the back to round Vince Bartram and put Leeds ahead. His second was arguably the worst solo goal of all time.
Leeds, defending a 1-0 lead late on, pumped a long ball forward which Masinga gathered. He was allowed to reach the edge of the box before an Arsenal defender bothered to approach him. Masinga stumbled through two p*ss-weak challenges before missing his kick completely as he tried to stab a shot towards goal. The airshot, however, was enough to fool Bartram, who let the ball slip from his grasp, allowing Masinga another attempt at toe-poking in.
2) Javier Hernandez (MANCHESTER UNITED 3-0 Chelsea, 2010)
The year was 2010. Chelsea had just won the Premier League, beating Manchester United by a solitary point. Attention turned to Old Trafford, and what signings Sir Alex Ferguson would make to improve his side. He bought four players the following summer. Chris Smalling arrived from Fulham, while Marnick Vermijl was purchased from Standard Liege. Two strikers were also signed, neither of whom were instantly recognisable names.
In terms of the paths both players took after joining United in summer 2010, Javier Hernandez and Bebe could hardly have been any more different. The former carved out a reputation as a dangerous forward and a welcome option adored by fans. The latter simply did not belong.
But the chasm in class between the two was not immediately evident. One certainly would not have been able to predict their respective career trajectories following Hernandez’s official debut. The Mexican scored some excellent goals and some memorable goals during his five years at United, but his first was quite something. Few players can ever claim to have headed in their own shot.
1) Dirk Kuyt (LIVERPOOL 3-1 Manchester United, 2011)
Never mind the worst goal in the Premier League era, Dirk Kuyt can lay claim to perhaps the worst trio of goals in recent memory.
Kuyt assured himself a place in pub quiz history when he netted one of only four hat-tricks to ever be scored against Manchester United in the Premier League in 2011. In a fixture which marked Luis Suarez’s first against the Reds’ bitter rivals, as well as the first league meeting between managers Kenny Dalglish and Sir Alex Ferguson in over a decade, it was Kuyt who stole the headlines.
All three of his goals in a 3-1 Premier League victory were scored from a combined distance of no more than ten yards out. My personal favourite is his first. Suarez’s brilliant work in the penalty area forced the goal and would likely have crossed the line, but Kuyt, presented with an open goal, opted to sidefoot the ball carefully into the corner, as if it were a match-winning penalty. Delightful.