As we all know, football is very much a team sport. However, most of football’s most memorable moments come when a piece of individual brilliance transcends teamwork and, just for a moment, makes the game all about one individual.
This is especially true when it comes to goals. Most goals come from the end of a passing move, a team hitting the opposition on a counter-attack, or a mistake by an opposing defender. Rarely, some goals owe everything to one player’s moment of inspiration, where they seem to have the ball on a string and can make it bend to their will. This is the solo goal.
Here’s my collection of the ten best solo goals, in my opinion, that have been scored in the Premier League.
My definition of a solo goal includes the following elements; the scorer has to have run a considerable distance with the ball before scoring, and the scorer has to have taken on a player or two on the way.
So, here's my list (bold type indiocates the club the scorer was playing for).
10) Paolo Di Canio: Everton v Sheffield Wednesday, 25th April 1998
This goal just beats Paulo Wanchope's goal for Derby at Old Trafford to make my list. Di Canio makes this look really easy, but it definitely isn't. Everton, battling relegation at the time, were pushing for a late equaliser and were caught on the break by Wednesday. Di Canio found himself in a lot of space and ghosts past Gavin McCann and Michael Ball before rounding Thomas Myhre to score. The closest any of the Everton players got to him was when McCann tried to trip him up as he was wheeling away to celebrate.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zet_UFV_8Yg"]YouTube - Paolo Di Canio Everton v Sheff Wed Sheffield Wednesday[/ame]
9) Richie Humphries: Sheffield Wednesday v Leicester City, 2nd September 1996
It’s sad to see the poor state that Sheffield Wednesday are now in, having slipped to League One and having had plenty of problems both on and off the pitch, as they were mainstays of the Premier League for years. At the start of the 96/97 season Sheff Wed led the league after winning their first four games. One of those games included this beautiful goal against Leicester, by Humphreys. Ritchie Humphreys was regarded as an exciting prospect after his form that season, going to the 1997 Under-20’s World Cup for England, but his career stalled and he ended up dropping down the divisions, eventually breaking Hartlepool’s all-time leading appearances record.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj8mF64Bm9A"]YouTube - Ritchie Humphreys chip v Leicester![/ame]
8) Thierry Henry: Arsenal v Tottenham, 16th November 2002
There were times when Thierry Henry seemed to be simply unstoppable. He was extremely quick with amazing acceleration, skilful and deceptively strong. This goal is impressive both for the distance Henry runs and the speed at which he does it. In a matter of seconds Spurs have gone from having a throw-in deep into Arsenal territory to picking the ball out, as Henry picks up the ball deep in his own half, shrugs off the only player who gets close to him, knocks it across the defence before slotting home from the edge of the area.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUXKtf1rdaY"]YouTube - Thierry Henry - Arsenal - Tottenham Hotspur 3-0[/ame]
7) Georgi Kinkladze: Manchester City v Southampton, 16th March 1996
This goal was scored back in the days when foreign players were still something of a novelty, especially players who weren’t from a country renowned for football, such as Georgia. Kinkladze was known for having very quick feet, often going on mazy dribbles such as this one against Southampton. He beats 3 men, one of them twice as he waltzes through the Saints defence before having the composure to chip Dave Beasant for a magnificent goal.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20P4Wqa_lgU&feature=related"]YouTube - Kinkladze manchester siti----super goll[/ame]
6) Jermaine Beckford: Everton v Chelsea, 22nd May 2011
This goal was somewhat overlooked as it came on the last day of the season, where everyone was focussed on the relegation battle, so the game between Everton and Chelsea, with neither side having much left to play for. This is wrong, as this goal was one of the best ever scored in the Premier League, and you can't help feeling that more would have been made of it had a more fashionable player/team scored it.
This goal is again impressive for the distance Beckford covers. It’s this low in the list because he gets a few strokes of luck on the way. Firstly, he gets away with miscontrolling the ball, unintentionally knocking it on into space. Then, there is a large ricochet off a defender, that prevented Terry getting a chance to make a tackle, but this may be an example of making your own luck. There’s nothing lucky about the finish, which is superb.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOBllG4lUgY"]YouTube - Jermaine Beckford Vs Chelsea[/ame]