At 8:18 on 21/10/2013, many would say that Selhurst Park witnessed one of the greatest strikes ever to be recorded in the Barclays Premier League. Full Swiss International, Pajtim Kasami, favoured over Moroccan maverick, Adel Taarabt, has struggled to hit the ground running since his move to Fulham in 2011. However, trailing 1-0 at beleaguered Crystal Palace, Lilywhites supporters were brought to their feet in spectacular style when Kasami darted onto a hopeful long ball. He majestically brought it down on his chest before unleashing a thumping volley from the most outrageous of angles. It left long-serving Eagles keeper, Julian Speroni, unable to do anything more than flap an ineffective hand in the direction of the Kasami bullet.
Now every goal counts, but the very nature of scoring a screamer is something that writes a player’s name into footballing folklore. We have here, five top-flight acrobatic attempts which rival – if not better – Monday night’s peach. Wayne Rooney’s belter against Newcastle in 2005 and Robin Van Persie’s stunner at The Valley the following year have not made the cut, but be prepared for extraordinary efforts.
5th Place: Matthew Lowton
Chesterfield born, Matt Lowton, has always had an eye for goal, despite his main responsibility being at the opposite end of the pitch. This was evident when he lit the Britannia Stadium up last April with a scorcher from the best part of 35 yards. For a full-back to show such sublime technique is testament to the modern footballer, with defenders easing the scoring burden off forwards. That said, after Lowton had put Villa in the driving seat with just 3 minutes to play, Christian Benteke inevitably went and put the result beyond all doubt! The unerring accuracy of this volley, has earned Lowton a place in my top five.
4th Place: Matt Taylor
I have given forth spot to another full-back and another Matt. Scoring an impressive 23 in 178 appearances for Portsmouth between 2002 and 2008, Matt Taylor caught the eye with some breath-taking efforts. One that rests long in the memory is the instinctive volley at home to Everton in 2006. With the ball rebounding around in the centre of the park, it momentarily popped up, encouraging any soul brave enough to chance his arm. Unfortunately for Tim Howard, the ever-willing Taylor was closest to the ball and with a swing of the boot, left the visiting keeper wearing a deep shade of crimson.
Bronze Medal : Wayne Rooney
With the best three to chose, it’s getting serious. Therefore it would be a travesty of justice not to include Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick in the 2011 Manchester derby. With the 80 minute mark fast approaching, the Liverpudlian simply created something out of nothing. Nani’s cross was fractionally behind the onrushing strikers and yet the flat trajectory enabled England’s number 10 to execute one of the hardest skills to master. This was the result …
Runner-Up: Paul Scholes
Renowned as one of the greatest English midfielders to barely earn International recognition was Paul Scholes. Plying his trade as a tenacious box to box midfielder, he was capable of netting with unrivaled skill. His finest goal arguably came at Villa Park in December 2006. Similarly to the Lowton strike, the opportunity for a shot presented itself when a corner was only half-cleared. However, the most impressive quality of this strike was the length of time he had to wait before catching the ball so sweetly. Any sportsman will tell you about the dangers of having an eternity to make a decision but Scholes was unfazed. An incredible player; shame that he couldn’t tackle.
Champion: Robin Van Persie
However hard defenders try, you just cannot keep this man out of the action. Once a Gunner, now a Red Devil, Robin Van Persie has been scoring goals for fun since his breakthrough season of 2007/08. With United requiring one more victory to claim last season’s Premier League crown, Van Persie saved his best work for last. He notched a first half hat-trick which included a mouth-watering second goal. The dropping volley over the shoulder is an incredibly difficult art, but the Dutch forward tucked it away with aplomb to spark celebrations across the red half of Manchester.