GOALS GOALS GOALS!
I remember once this summer having a kickabout up on the pitches at Farlington. The ball came down from high, I turned on the spot just outside the box, twatted it with all my might and it came bounding back off the angle between crossbar and post. After that I was tempted to never play football again because there was no chance of me ever hitting a football with such a vague resemblance of class in my entire existence. If it had gone in, I would've been telling everyone about it for years to come.
And yet Matty can't even bask in the glory of a forty-five yarder.
Still, I digress. This got me thinking about the best goals we've seen since we got into the Premiership and so, being a nice kind of person, here's my personal top 10; agree or disagree all you wish.
10 - Teddy Sheringham vs Bolton
Zivkovic has the ball on the left wing and I turn to my brother and comment, "It's a shame he can't cross the ball very well". A whipped in ball of genius follows, Sheringham launches it past a flailing Finn in goal and we're top of the Premiership.
9 - Patrik Berger vs Tottenham
I actually feel quite harsh putting this one so far down the list as I love it when players just give the ball a right tonking - but he gets marks deducted for relying on Tim Sherwood to pull people out of the way in the wall.
8 - Yakubu vs Everton
Arguably the last decent goal he scored for us, giving hope of a point at Goodison. A rocket of a strike into the top corner but a hell of a lot more difficult to execute than it looked; slamming it into the crowd seemed a far easier option given the tight angle.
7 - Gary O'Neil vs Manchester United
God bless the pundits. If Wayne Rooney scores a volley outside the area at Old Trafford, it's a moment of genius. When Gary O'Neil did it live on Sky, the opinions differed between "he mishit it" and "he didn't mean it". Quite what he did mean to do no-one quite revealed, but as far as I saw he got a great connection on a ball which was a right git to control given the height it came to him at.
6 - Gary O'Neil vs Leeds
Same player, same formula, same end product. A through ball is hit up the pitch and headed straight out of the area, at which point I say to the bloke behind me, "We're never going to score if we keep hoofi-WHAT A GOAL!!!"
5 - Lomana LuaLua vs Aston Villa
Just when it started to look more than slightly shaky against the ten man visitors, Lua decides he's had enough and it's time to score. So he just hits it into the top corner from twenty-five yards. As you do.
4 - Lomana LuaLua vs Southampton
I feel a bit dirty for not rating this higher - in fact, I feel even dirtier because I can't actually decide what goal to pick out of the pair. The first was a quality finish and made even better by the fact he didn't look at the goal; the second was a quality finish because he was injured and also managed to get the satisfying flick off the post on the way in. So we'll say joint 4th.
3 - Eyal Berkovic vs Fulham
Perhaps the greatest thing about this goal is the fact that from the moment a free kick was taken on the touchline at the North Stand, to the moment it hit the back of the net about ten seconds later, at no point did the ball actually touch the ground. A fantastic volley and a glimpse of what the Israeli playmaker was occasionally capable of.
2 - Matt Taylor vs Sunderland
I don't really need to go over this one in much detail since it's been dissected so much in the last week (and rightly so). Needless to say, it was great. But not the best.
1 - Patrik Berger vs Charlton
Despite not having quite as much yardage in this effort as Matty's at the weekend, this one just seems to be that little bit more skilful. I think it's the fact he had to tee himself up - on the turn - before unleashing the rocket over Dean Kiely's head. A long-range maestro (even if he did occasionally have to rely on dodgy Argentinian keepers to tip shots in for him) and one of the most technically gifted players we've ever had; a shame that by the end his heart wasn't in it.
Blimey, all those long range goals and not a single contribution from Nigel Quashie.