Goal of the season so far? Palatinate writers pick their favourites

By Nick Friend, John Evans, Kieran Moriarty, Henry Clare, Will Cracknell, and

 

We’ve had spectacular goals in abundance from the very start of this year’s Premier League season. After a weekend that saw Charlie Adam, Bobby Zamora, Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe all put their cards on the table, Palatinate Sport’s writers and contributors offer their views.

 

Nick Friend – Palatinate Sport Editor

Bobby_Zamora_QPR

There are three kinds of goal: the moment of individual brilliance, the long-range thump and the audacious finish. For me, this was a choice between three goals from the club that I follow: QPR. Some will call me biased; many have called me far worse. The R’s have adopted a quality over quantity approach to goalscoring this year. While languishing in the bottom three throughout, we have held our own goal of the season contest.

As for moments of brilliance, I do genuinely believe that there can only be one contender. Wayne Rooney’s effort at the weekend against Aston Villa was a ‘light’ version. You see, Rooney allowed a bounce between first touch and volleyed finish. Charlie Austin, away at Southampton, did not. It was a goal of rare quality. Bergkamp, Cantona, Aguero et al would have been deified for such a strike.

If I were to plump for a hopeful wallop, it would be Matty Phillips’ clean-as-a-whistle consolation at Crystal Palace. Charlie Adam’s was beautiful – a sheer whack of the highest order, at the home of the league’s best side and over the head of the league’s best goalkeeper. It loses out for no other reason than aesthetics. If Courtois hadn’t got a touch (an eyesore in itself), the ball would have bounced before entering the net – thus, becoming a 9.9 as opposed to a perfect 10. Phillips’ strike – born out of complete frustration – was a tracer bullet. Julian Speroni, unlike Courtois, was in his six-yard box.

Until Saturday, I had Mata’s scissor kick at Anfield pencilled in as my favourite of the audacious finishes. Coutinho’s entire scrapbook of beauties tempted me, as did Ayoze Perez’s back-heel for Newcastle. Ultimately, though, Bobby Zamora isn’t meant to loft balls into the top corner with the outside of his boot. Joey Barton was so surprised that he called it an overhit cross. Ruud Gullit described it as “a goal a la Messi.” Indeed, if the Argentine had scored it, we’d be drooling about it for years to come. For that alone, it has to be my favourite of the lot.

 

Kieran Moriarty – Palatinate Deputy Sport Editor

Watching the Premiership this season, I have found myself stunned by some of the fantastic long-range goals we have seen. However, I feel that these goals have become standard on Match of the Day. Due to this, my criteria has changed. Instead, I look for a moment of jaw-dropping skill, a brilliant display of possession through intricate passing interchanges or in simpler terms, a flash of genius that proves that I am watching the best players at the very top level. It is for this reason that I have picked Charlie Austin’s goal against Southampton.

Let me take your through this majestic finish. A bandaged Eduardo Vargas saunters into the area and plays a deft chipped pass to Austin who is standing in the middle of the penalty box with two Southampton defenders blocking his path. The cross is played slightly behind Austin as he stands with his back to goal. What follows is one of the most outstanding demonstrations of control I have ever witnessed.

With an outstretched right leg and a graceful pirouette more befitting of a ballerina than a 6ft 2in striker, Austin guides the ball in one fluid swift movement on the turn to his left foot. As the Southampton defenders anticipate the danger far too late, Austin proceeds to smash a low first time volley into the bottom right hand corner, past a helpless Fraser Forster, with the ball only hitting the ground when it is nestling in the net.

The sheer presence of mind to attempt such an audacious touch as well as the sheer wizardry needed to pull it off, not only made this effort the goal of the match (I feel it was unfairly overshadowed by Pelle’s later goal) but for me, the Goal of the Season.

http://www.goalopedia.com/goals/498

 

John Evans – Palatinate Deputy Sport Editor

Jermain Defoe

Any goal that leaves the scorer in tears must be one of the greatest of the season. Jermain Defoe’s waterworks after his strike in the North East derby was indicative not only of the beauty of his left-footed volley, but the importance of his goal to the people of Sunderland.

We’ve been treated to several stunning goals this season, Matty Phillips’ thunderbolt against Palace and Charlie Adam’s long-range effort at Chelsea immediately spring to mind, but both came in a losing cause. The significance of Defoe’s goal is what makes it my goal of the season.

A firecracker atmosphere, a sold-out Stadium of Light and one of sport’s great rivalries were the stage for my goal of the season. Defoe’s volley secured Sunderland’s fifth victory in a row over Newcastle and a vital three points that eased the Black Cats’ relegation fears.

Sunderland were in the bottom three prior to the game, but Defoe’s goal seemed to all but secure top-flight football for another season, such was the hope and spirit reverberating around the stadium.

When watching his strike for the first time in his post-match interview the former Tottenham striker muttered “unbelievable”, and it was. Defoe, from 22-yards out, perfectly met a thumping Steven Fletcher header with his weaker foot to loop the ball into Tim Krul’s top corner.

The red and white section of the 47,563 capacity crowd erupted, and Defoe was pictured crying as the emotion of the crowd got to him.

The volley will live long in the memory of those on Wearside, and will remain in North East folklore for years to come.

Everyone will have different criteria for their goal of the season, but if there’s one goal I remember from this season, it will be Defoe’s swerving strike to secure a historic derby victory and lift Sunderland away from the relegation zone.

 

Ben Bowers – Palatinate Sport Contributor

Charlie Adam

There have been so many goals which could win Goal of the Season, and we still have seven games left to play! Despite their lowly position, QPR have had their internal goal of the season competition, with Bobby Zamora, Matty Phillips and Charlie Austin all producing quality strikes. Other goals that deserve a mention include Juan Mata’s against Liverpool and Coutinho’s against Southampton. However, for me there is only one winner. Step forward Charlie Adam. There are a number of reasons why I love this goal. First of all, it’s Charlie Adam. The man’s done nothing of note since 2009. He was described by Craig Bellamy as a ‘fat b*stard who could eat for Scotland.’ Secondly it was away against the league leaders Chelsea, who have one of the best keepers in Europe, away from home. The goal was from inside his own half so to accurately place the shot from there is so impressive. Courtois got a hand to it but the sheer distance of the shot was what made it so special. Anything to silence the Chelsea fans gets my seal of approval. The celebration? Not so great!

 

Henry Clare – Palatinate Editor-in-Chief

Regardless of what happens between now and the 24th of May, Harry Kane’s rise from zero to hero will be regarded as the story of this season’s Barclays Premier League. Although there are some beauties among his collection of 22 league goals, his second against Arsenal epitomised his season – not least as it proved to be the winner in his first ever North London derby. From a desperate Bentaleb cross, an off-balance Kane opportunistically flicked a header towards goal, guiding the ball over a bemused Ospina and into the back of the net. It’s so rare that we see a glorious headed goal nowadays, and this one demonstrated Kane’s confidence, his striker’s instinct and, most of all, his class.

 

Harry Savill – Palatinate Sport Contributor, Spectator’s View Editor

QPR v Brighton & Hove Albion

Although there have been some absolute worldies this season, many of which will go down among the best in Premier League history, for me, the best goal of the season has to be Matt Phillips’ wonderstrike against Crystal Palace. Picking up the ball on the halfway, Phillips strode forward a few yards before unleashing a thunderous strike from 45 yards out into Speroni’s top right-hand corner. Unbeatable.

 

Will Cracknell – Palatinate Sport Contributor

Coutinho’s 30 yard curler away against Southampton. There’s something special about goals which go in off the underside of the bar and this was as good as any. As a Liverpool fan I’m biased – purely objectively, the best goal this season was Matt Phillips’ screamer for QPR vs Palace, I can’t recall a shot more technically perfect than that. But Coutinho’s is my favourite for it’s sheer flair, a spectacular strike against a then-Champions League contender, embodying the quality and invention required to finish in the top four which Liverpool have, alas, failed to consistently reproduce.

 

Photographs: commons.wikimedia, wikipedia, The Sun, The Guardian

Videos: World News, Goalopedia, GOALS, Sport One, Football Fan, nb9 PS4, Dominic Smith

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