Jamie Vardy scored the latest Premier League goal of the season against Liverpool on Tuesday. There have already been quite a few…
Christian Benteke v Manchester United, September 12
‘Christian Benteke scored an early goal of the season contender with this brilliant overhead kick for Liverpool at Old Trafford.’ – Sky Sports, September 12.
Not the first recorded mention of an ‘early goal of the season contender’ – that accolade belongs to Goal.com for their description of team-mate Philippe Coutinho’s strike against Stoke on the opening day – but Benteke’s was the goal which came to mind first. After toiling for over 80 minutes up front at Old Trafford, the Belgian conjured a moment of acrobatic magic. Jordon Ibe’s cross was headed clear by Daley Blind, but only as far as the flying boot of Benteke, who dispatched a bicycle kick beyond the despairing David de Gea. ‘That’s what we paid £32.5million for,’ Liverpool fans thought simultaneously. If only they knew.
Matt Ritchie v Sunderland, September 19
‘It goes with [sic] saying that a recording of a strike that Lineker immediately described as a potential ‘goal of the season’ has already been safely stored on the Sky Box of Ritchie’s home. – Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph, September 19.
Benteke held the official title of ‘goal of the season contender’ for just one week. Matt Ritchie saw to that with a thunderous strike against Sunderland in Bournemouth’s first-ever Premier League home win.
Nine minutes into the game at Vitality Stadium, a corner from Charlie Daniels was cleared by Yann M’Vila. Ritchie, lurking on the edge of the area, duly chested the ball and released a thunderb*stard into the top corner in one rather fluid motion. Within two months, he was being linked with a move to Manchester United.
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Xherdan Shaqiri v Everton, December 28
‘Xherdan Shaqiri scored a goal of the season contender – but did he mean it?’ – The Sun, December 29.
The goal that split the footballing world. Did Xherdan Shaqiri mean to lob Tim Howard to score Stoke’s second goal in their 4-3 victory at Everton, or was it actually a cross? Early reports predictably tipped it as a ‘goal of the season contender’ – not an early one, thankfully – but the validity of the Swiss international’s claim remained in doubt. Jamie Redknapp described the finish as “lucky”, while Martin Keown billed it as a “sublime piece of skill”.
Even Shaqiri’s own team-mates were split. Charlie Adam insisted there was “no way” the winger meant the finish, while keeper Jack Butland said that it was a “shot all day long”.
We’ll leave the last word to the man with the wonderfully disproportionate body: “I knew what I wanted to do…does it look like I didn’t!?” Whatever you say, Xherdan.
Dele Alli v Crystal Palace, January 23
‘Dele Alli’s strike is my goal of the season… it was a touch of genius like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Gazza.’ – Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail, January 24.
While Shaqiri ended Ritchie’s three-month ‘goal of the season contender’ reign with his strike, the Stoke winger’s successor, like Benteke long before him, held the title for barely a week. The neat control, the flick over Mile Jedinak, and the perfectly-placed volley just out of the reach of Crystal Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey. A quite glorious goal befitting of quite a glorious season for the 19-year-old.
For some, it evoked memories of Paul Gascoigne’s goal for England against Scotland at Euro 96.’For me, Gazza’s goal was better than Alli’s, but only just,’ wrote Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail a day later. ‘It was like Beckham from the halfway line or Rooney against Arsenal. It proves he is no flash in the pan. He is the real deal.’
No pressure, kid.
Jamie Vardy v Liverpool, February 2
‘Jamie Vardy scored twice – including a glorious contender for Goal Of The Season – to keep Leicester dreaming of the title.‘ – David Anderson of the Daily Mirror, February 3.
Alli was champion of the ‘goal of the season contender’ stakes for a solitary week (and a half). Jamie bloody Vardy, eh?
With Leicester and Liverpool deadlocked at the King Power Stadium, a through ball was lofted over the top of the visiting defence by Riyad Mahrez for Vardy to chase. Spotting keeper Simon Mignolet off his line, the striker unleashed a delightful volley/half-volley/thwack into the top corner. The Daily Star described the strike as ‘a real goal of the season contender’ – not a fabricated one – and FOX Sports crowned it as ‘the goal of the season’ with 14 games remaining. The Daily Mail published ‘an anatomy of a wonder goal’ in response. No wonder Barcelona and Real Madrid want him.