Atkinson, Bergkamp, Pires, Le Tissier, Di Canio or Zola: Who has scored the greatest Premier League goal?
The Premier League has witnessed more than 20,000 goals in its 20-year history, but who has scored the best?
We've all got our favourites. Tony Yeboah's sensational strike for Leeds, Wayne Rooney's last-minute overhead kick against Manchester City last season, Thierry Henry's cheeky back heel against Leeds and David Beckham's strike from the halfway line against Wimbledon have all been shown over and over and over again. But as the Premier League gets ready to celebrate its 20th anniversary we want to know what you think is the greatest goal the top flight in England has seen over the past two decades.
Steve Coulter has been given the impossible task of narrowing that search down to six and he's come up with quite an impressive list consisting of Dalian Atkinson, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Paolo Di Canio and Gianfranco Zola. You may agree, you probably don't, but we'd love to hear from you.
DALIAN ATKINSON - WIMBLEDON V ASTON VILLA 1993
Dalian Atkinson was one of football great enigmas. Brilliant on his day, the striker was capable of moments of genius. Unfortunately those moments were infrequent and Atkinson failed to fulfil his potential.
He will be best remembered for his spell with Aston Villa. His partnership with Dean Saunders propelled Villa’s challenge for inaugural Premier League. In September 1993 Atkinson scored an absolute wonder goal. He picked the ball up in his own half and ghosted past several Wimbledon defenders. The run had prompted Dons keeper Hans Segers to stray from his line. Atkinson spotted the advance and executed an exquisite 20-yard chip. The ball sailed over the keeper's head and into the bottom left hand corner.
His celebration was equally memorable. The Villa fans were open to the elements in the away end. The uncovered terrace offered no protection from the persistent rain. As soon as the ball hit the net, one fan rushed on to the pitch and offered Atkinson his umbrella!
Despite some wonderful football, Villa were beaten to the title by Manchester United, although they did beat Fergie’s men in the 1994 League Cup Final.
DENNIS BERGKAMP - LEICESTER CITY V ARSENAL 1997
I had to include the Dutch master, few players have scored more memorable goals then the Arsenal legend. The biggest problem was picking his best goal.
I was tempted to include his strike against Newcastle United. The dummy and assured finish was beyond compare. Remarkably some pundits questioned the dummy, but how can you query a player who regularly excelled?
I decided to plump for another Bergkamp masterpiece. No-one can doubt this beauty was intentional because he netted a carbon copy on the greatest stage of all.
Everything about this goal is sublime, firstly Bergkamp has the technique to control a forty yard ball which came over his shoulder. Having gained possession, his second touch saw him cut inside Matty Elliot. The third touch dispatched a volley into the Foxes' net.
The goal capped a magnificent hat-trick and salvaged a point at Filbert Street. A few months later Bergkamp scored an identical goal against Argentina. The last-minute winner settling a 1998 World Cup encounter.
Bergkamp's father idolised Denis Law and named his son after the Old Trafford legend. I am sure the Lawman would have been proud to score either goal.
ROBERT PIRES - ASTON VILLA v ARSENAL 2001
Another wonderful player, Robert Pires graced The Premier League for eight years.
The Frenchman was a superb technician who could score from anywhere on the pitch. His effort against Aston Villa showed Pires at his very best.
He picked up a long ball out of defence and was immediately confronted by Villa’s George Boateng. Without hesitation, Pires lifted the ball over the big Dutchmen’s head. Having negotiated Boateng the winger found himself on the edge of the penalty area. With Peter Schmeical slightly off his line the Gunner executed a first time chip. Within seconds the ball entered the Aston Villa net. The beautifully crafted goal was widely acclaimed. Andy Gray witnessed the effort first hand, the Sky co-commentator encouraged Pires “To take a bow, son”
The goal was no fluke. Later that season Southampton fell victim to another wonderfully executed lob. Robert Pires was some player.
MATTHEW LE TISSIER SOUTHAMPTON V NEWCASTLE UNITED 1994
Le Tiss was having a tough time on the south coast. Still idolised by the fans, he found himself sidelined by manager Ian Branfoot. The new Saints boss clearly favoured the hard work approach over individual brilliance. Le Tissier was dropped and faced an uncertain future at The Dell.
With the team struggling Branfoot was forced to recall his skipper. Le Tissier made his comeback against Kevin Keegan’s high flying Newcastle United. By coincidence the game just happened to be broadcast live on national television.
The circumstances appeared to inspire the Channel Islander, he was soon on the score sheet with a trademark goal. The striker picked up possession midway into the Newcastle half, he somehow controlled a ball which was played behind him by back healing it. With the ball in front of him, he juggled the ball past two defenders. Le Tissier was now clean through on goal. As the ball dropped he calmly side footed the ball past Mike Hooper. The camera cut away to show the Southampton manager. Arms crossed, Brantfoot is motionless.
Later in the game the gaffer was forced to show his appreciation. A spectacular 25-yard volley completed the forward's brace. This time the dour boss applauded his captain. Ian Branfoot was sacked shortly afterwards, while Le Tissier remained the darling of The Dell.
PAOLO DI CANIO - WEST HAM V WIMBLEDON 2000
I hope Wimbledon fans don’t think I’m picking on them, you just had the misfortune to be on the wrong end of two fantastic goals.
Like Atkinson’ strike, this goal was scored by a player wearing claret and blue. The only difference was this one was scored by the Eastenders.
Paolo Di Canio was a rare talent who delighted the West Ham fans. His goal against the Dons was vintage Paolo. A deep cross found the Italian on the edge of the six-yard area. With both feet off the ground, Di Canio volleyed home from the tightest of angles.
The strike was voted goal of the season and reaffirmed his growing reputation. Manchester United attempted to sign the Hammers front man in 2001. The deal broke down and Di Canio stayed at Upton Park.
Incredibly he was never capped by Italy at senior level. The Azzurri must have had some wonderful players.
GIANFRANCO ZOLA CHELSEA V MANCHESTER UNITED 1997
One of those great players ever to have worn the blue shirt of Chelsea, Gianfranco joined the Blues for £4.5 million in November 1996. Small in stature, the Italian maestro arrived with a big reputation.
The goal against Manchester United was a breakthrough. It showed that Zola could cut it in the Premier League. Collecting the ball near the United byline the striker was met by Denis Irwin. Zola controlled the ball and cut inside the Irishman. One of the game's finest was left floundering on his backside. The challenge of Gary Pallister was brushed aside in similar manner. Zola then completed the job by squeezing the ball home at the near post.
Some pundits wondered if Zola could handle the physical demands of the Premier League. In an instant those fears were allayed, Stamford Bridge had a new hero. The goal was the first of many Zola beauties. He went on to be voted the greatest player in Chelsea’s history.
Well they are the goals that make up Steve's top six, but what do you think? Come on, there are more than 20,000 to choose from! Who has scored your greatest Premeir League goal and why? We'd love to hear from you.