Ever since the Premier League was started back in 1992 Manchester United have gone from strength to strength. 12 League titles, most wins, most goals scored, and thanks to a bullet header from a certain Cristiano Ronaldo against Middlesbrough, United were also the team to reach 1000 goals first. The Premier League has been United’s league, and with Arsenal and Chelsea both having 9 less titles than us we can rightfully claim it to be our trophy. It is very hard to create a Top 10 list of our best Premiership goals the last 19 years, but here is the choice based on quality, magnitude, and being the type of goal only a Manchester United player could score.
10. The Long Range Strike: David Beckham vs Wimbledon – August 1996 @ Selhurst Park
We all remember this goal, don’t we? A pale, rather unknown David Beckham, receiving the ball within his own half, looking up and having a shot which travelled straight into the net, leaving !”#! stranded. Scored on the opening day of the 1996/97 season, our youngsters had already proved that United actually could win with kids, collecting the League title the year before. Although young David had proven his quality the year before, leading United to a League and cup double, this was the goal that really kick started his career. Fame, fortune, and comparisons to the great Pele came his way after this magnificent goal. David Beckham was born.
Honorable mentions: Mark Hughes vs Sheffield Wednesday – March 1994, & Danny Welbeck vs Stoke – November 2008
9. The Volley: Wayne Rooney vs Newcastle United – April 2005 @ Old Trafford
The 2004/05 season is probably the darkest we have had at Manchester United since Eric Cantona was suspended for 9 months a previous 10 years ago. We started the season without a suspended Rio Ferdinand, Carroll and Howard took turns making colossal mistakes in our goal, Ruud went injured and missed the latter part of the campaign, the Glazers took over our club, as well as United ending in third spot and losing the most one-sided FA Cup final in living memory to Arsenal. During this dark, dark season we all needed some light in our lives. Step up Wayne Rooney! Bought on the transfer deadline day for a whooping £30 million, he scored 18 goals in all competitions, won the PFA Young Player of the Year award, winning the penalty and putting the nail in the coffin against Arsenal to end their 49-game unbeaten run, along with scoring some of the best goals Old Trafford has seen. And none better than this powerful, swerving, deadly accurate drive from a raging Rooney. Complaining to the ref about a free kick seconds before, he put his whole energy through this kick which almost ripped the net at the Stretford End.
Honorable mentions: Scholes vs Villa – December 2006, & Kanchelskis vs Nottingham Forest – August 1994
8. The Skill: Cristiano Ronaldo vs Aston Villa – March 2008 @ Old Trafford
As Manchester United fans we can praise ourselves for being lucky enough to witness the kind of talent that has graced Old Trafford. These special players, amongst the best in the world, have that certain extra inch of skill in their feet that makes them so valuable when nothing else seems to work. And who else but Cristiano Ronaldo has stood for the most exhilarating piece of skill Old Trafford has seen, which also ended up in the back of the net. During the “Squeaky Bum Time” of the Double winning 2007/08 season, Aston Villa came to Old Trafford looking to put a stop to the goalscoring machine which was Manchester United. But the greatest goalscorer on the pitch that day made Villa suffer just a quarter of an hour in. Whilst the chaos in the penalty box might unsettle most players in the world, Ronaldo kept his calm and finishing with the great arrogance only he possessed. A heel flick, between the defenders legs, making way for a 4-0 win which meant United stood firmly on the top of the table going into April.
THANKS TO KARMA FOR FINDING FOOTAGE OF THIS RONALDO GOAL V ASTON VILLA
Honorable mentions: Cantona and Irwin vs Spurs – October 1993, & Nani vs Arsenal – January 2010
7. The Header: Steve Bruce vs Sheffield Wednesday – March 1993 @ Old Trafford
THE ultimate comeback! Who does it better than Manchester United? If you don’t know the story of this goal, I suggest you open a book. Whichever book that can tell you what Manchester United are. This goal simply epitomizes it. 1-0 down in the second half, 7 minutes of added time, the first Premiership title on the line. Steve Bruce had already headed a corner in to make it 1-1 before United won another set piece. Trying to swing it in twice, withouth anyone getting their head on it, Gary Pallister chased the ball out to the right, putting in a cross which only his centre-back partner Steve Bruce was getting to. Going in with the bravery, attitude and relentlessness only a Manchester United captain could do, he scored the goal that made Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd celebrate their first Premier League trophy. If this goal had not been scored, who knows where Manchester United would have ended up today!
Honorable mentions: Ferdinand vs Liverpool – January 2006, & Solskjær vs Leeds United – October 2002
6. The Thunderbolt: Paul Scholes vs Middlesbrough – April 2000 @ The Riverside
The thunderbolt is known in football as the unstoppable shot. A shot struck with such velocity and fierce power that even if the goalkeeper could stop it, he would not dare it. After his magnificent volley against Bradford, the ginger prince said: “I’d rather hit a shot with major accuracy and medium power, than full power with little accuracy”. How about a bit of both, eh? When Gary Neville rolled the ball out to Scholesy, I doubt even he could picture him scoring a goal like that. Out of nowhere, probably the hardest shot he has ever hit, right into the top corner. Although the goalie may have tried to save it, I think he feels pretty lucky that it did not touch him.
Honorable mentions: Ronaldo vs Portsmouth – February 2006, & Nani vs Chelsea – September 2011
5. The Individual: Cristiano Ronaldo vs Fulham – February 2007 @ Craven Cottage
That boy Ronaldo again! Having gone 3 seasons without winning the Premier League, people were starting to doubt Fergie and Manchester United. Having played amazing football right up to the midweek trip away to Lille, United were favorites to win the title. But with a small squad, and games coming thick and fast, this had all the makings of a slip up. Looking tired after the trip to France, Fulham took the lead through Brian McBride and dominated possession. Giggsy quickly equalized with a crisp volley, but after that it was all Fulham, Edwin Van der Sar producing sever world class saves to keep them at bay. Then, on 87 minutes, up pops Ronaldo! Having played almost every game for United that season, you would expect him to be tired and frustrated after barely getting a touch of the ball up to then. But as the physical beast he is, he ran past two Fulham players, before getting into the box and striking the ball into the bottom corner. The celebrations said it all, and for the first time since 2003 Manchester United started to believe they could actually win the title.
Honorable mentions: Giggs vs QPR – February 1994, & Ruud vs Fulham – April 2003
4. The “Written in the Stars”: Federico Macheda vs Aston Villa – April 2009 @ Old Trafford
At Manchester United we’ve had many moments which can be described as Poetic Justice. Cantona winning us the title in 1996 after being out the past season, or Wayne Rooney winning it for United at Goodison Park completing our turnaround from 2-0 down after 50 minutes. But no, this title belongs to our young Italian striker. Making his Manchester United debut, a lot of people wondered what Fergie was thinking putting him on in place of Nani. Coming on while United were 2-1 down to Villa, he scored one of the most amazing goals Old Trafford has seen after Ronaldo equalized. 93 minutes, Villa trying to run the clock down, when Gary Neville receives the ball on the right hand side and looks for a target. After having a poor first touch, the ball goes out to Giggsy who passes it onto young Kiko, who makes an amazing turn and finishes right into the corner of the net. Cue euphoria at Old Trafford, with the whole ground losing their mind and celebrating like men possessed. A star was born, and if his future is somewhere else than Old Trafford, he will still always be remembered as the man who scored the goal which put United on equal League titles with Liverpool.
Honorable mentions: Giggs vs Wigan – May 2008, & Rooney vs Everton – April 2007
3. The Counter Attack: Andrei Kanchelskis vs Norwich – April 1993 @ Carrow Road
Counter attack is often related to Manchester United, as the move was our trademark during the 90’s. Giggs and Kanchelskis could tear teams apart with their pure pace, and along with Cantona and Sharpe these four created an awful lot of goals for United. When United visited Carrow Road in April 1993, Norwich City were a major title contender and anything else than a win for United would put severe pressure on them. However, United prevailed, and in what fashion! 3-0 up at half time, and every goal scored with a sheer directness that has never been seen before. Giggs, Ince and Kanchelskis ran straight through the Norwich defence, and exposed their high line. The best goal was by far our second goal, where Andrei Kanchelskis finished off a slick one-touch move starting inside our own penalty box, and running past the whole Norwich team, rounding the keeper and finishing in style. Pure Manchester United magic!
Honorable mentions: Rooney vs Bolton – March 2007, & Cantona vs Sheffield United – November 1994
2. The Chip: Eric Cantona vs Sunderland –December 1996 @ Old Trafford
Eric the King at his best. The build-up, the goal, the celebration… Simply astonishing, and so superior that only Eric himself could have scored the goal. The win itself was an easy 5-0 win against Sunderland, but Cantona scored one of the most famous Old Trafford goals in living memory. Showing his close control and fighting himself past 3 Sunderland defenders, before playing a one-two with McClair and chipping the keeper from the edge of the box. The chip itself was magic, going in of the junction of the crossbar and post, but this goal will always be remembered for the celebration. It screamed out Cantona! “This is my home”, “Yes, I did that”, and “I am the king, you are my satisfied people” are all quotes that can be related to that celebration. The swagger of Cantona was there for everyone to see, and this was his greatest ever Old Trafford moment.
Honorable mentions: Sheringham vs Southampton – October 2000, & Beckham vs West Ham – March 2002
1. The Overhead Kick: Wayne Rooney vs Manchester City – February 2011 @ Old Trafford
Martin Tyler said it! “It defies description!” We have all seen it. We all remember it. I even remember watching the game in my living room, when Wazza, out of fucking nowhere, hit the ball into the top corner. I do not know how you guys reacted to it, but next thing I knew I was lying on the street outside screaming my head off. Really, the overhead kick Wayne Rooney scored against Manchester City back in February is the best goal United have scored in the Premier League era. A Manchester derby, against a title rival, the match-winner, meaning United led the table going into March looking for the record breaking 19th title. The goal itself may not be the best, because although it was a magnificent overhead kick we do see a lot of them around the world. Not as often at Old Trafford, but they are still not that rare. However, it is one of the best overhead kicks I have seen in my life, with the quality of the strike leaving Joe Hart stranded. But the sheer magnitude of it is what makes this my choice for number one. The surroundings of Wayne Rooney’s season are also influential, with this strike signaling the change from the Wayne Rooney who could not hit a barn door from 2 yards, to one of the best players in the world.
Honorable mentions: Berbatov vs Liverpool – September 2010, & Andy Cole vs Leicester City – November 1999
We are lucky to have witnessed so many great goals as Manchester United fans, and if you would add the goals in the FA Cup and the Champions League this list would have gotten a whole lot longer! Ronaldo against Porto, Scholesy’s scorcher against Barcelona, when Ryan Giggs just ran through Arsenal in 1999, and the team goal Alan Smith finished off against Roma in the 7-1 win are all amazing goals who would be on any Top 10 lists! We have seen some great goals fly in this season as well, with Nani’s first against City, Ashley Young against Arsenal, and Anderson against Spurs being some real world class goals. Hope we will see more of it this season!