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Top bin: Our foolproof formula reveals who deserved goal of the season

In a year of fantastic volleys, we use four criteria to pick the best of the bunch...

23 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Top bin: Our foolproof formula reveals who deserved goal of the season

After Emre Can’s bicycle kick against Watford was voted Match of the Day’s goal of the season, we thought we would re-examine which spectacular strike really should have won the award.

As the West Ham’s sponsors, perhaps you’d expect us to be biased towards Andy Carroll, whose overhead kick was favourite in the Premier League odds to win the award before Can’s goal.

The Hammers squad certainly backed their team-mate in our recent Gogglebox video.

But using four criteria – improvisation, importance, technique and aesthetic beauty – we can reveal which goal really deserved to take the prize.

Olivier Giroud v Crystal Palace

Improvisation – 4

Giroud would have scored full marks for this, had another scorpion kick not been scored just a week earlier.

His goal was an excellent, impulsive finish, but it’s fair to assume that another backheel strike – we’ll get to that one shortly – was in his mind at the time.

Importance – 2

Arsenal went a goal up against Palace with this strike, and eventually won 2-0.

It got them off to a good start, but ultimately didn’t win them any points or impact the league table.

Technique – 3

Perhaps we’re being harsh, but this wasn’t the cleanest strike of the bunch.

Nevertheless, the way Giroud slowed down and adjusted his body to meet a cross that was behind him – along with the fact that he is 6ft 4in tall – means he scores well here.

Aesthetic beauty – 3

We all love a goal that goes in off the crossbar, so Giroud gets a bonus point for that. This was also the best team goal of the lot, with six passes leading up to the backheel.

He loses marks for how the ball looped, though, as opposed to finding the net at pace.

Total – 12/20

Henrikh Mkhitaryan v Sunderland

Improvisation – 5

Being first pays off for Mkhitaryan.

At the point of his goal, we had never seen one like it in the Premier League.

It was a stunning, off-the-cuff finish.

Importance – 1

Mkhitaryan’s strike put United three up in what would eventually be a 3-1 win over Sunderland.

Hardly the goal that shook the world.

Technique – 4

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Mkhitaryan’s goal was just how quickly the ball hit the back of the net.

Unlike Giroud’s, he caught it flush on the back of his heel and drove it home with power, all while falling to the floor.


Aesthetic beauty – 3

The power of the strike made this the kind of goal that is fun to watch over and over again.

The goal doesn’t look quite as good from the side-on view, however, which reveals that Mkhitaryan was slightly offside.

That’s worth a minus point.

Total – 13/20

Emre Can v Liverpool

Improvisation – 4

No one plans a bicycle kick from the edge of the penalty area.

Can’s quick thinking to dart into the box from deep and then to even consider such an acrobatic attempt means he scores well for spontaneity.

Importance – 4

Reflecting on Liverpool’s season, this was the goal that got them into the Champions League.

The only goal in an otherwise lifeless 1-0 win – and just a week after they were beaten by West Brom – it earned them the points required to ultimately finish above Arsenal.

Technique – 4

The way Can watched the ball over his shoulder and sent it into the far corner made this a unique display of technical ability.

We haven’t really seen another bicycle kick like it in the Premier League.

Aesthetic beauty – 3

The only fault that can really be picked with Can’s goal is that it doesn’t really fly off his foot.

The slight sidespin on the ball actually helped it find the net, but had he caught it perfectly and found the top corner it would be hard to mark him down at all.

Total – 15/20

Andy Carroll v Crystal Palace

Improvisation – 3

Every overhead kick has an element of improvisation about it. They’re inevitably the result of a player adjusting to an inaccurate cross.

What stops Carroll getting a high score here, though, is that the ball hung for so long in the air. Unlike the other efforts, he had time to think about it.

Importance – 3

In the context of the match, Carroll’s goal – the second in a 3-0 win – meant very little.

It was, however, the Hammers’ best strike of the season by a long way, and definitely their most memorable moment at the London Stadium to date.

Technique – 5

This didn’t come off the shin like Wayne Rooney’s goal against Manchester City, or skew off the foot like Can’s.

For one of the Premier League’s biggest target men to hang so high in the air and catch the ball so purely was perhaps the most technical finish of the season.

Aesthetic beauty – 5

Undoubtedly the best looking goal of the bunch.

Look at the placement in the top corner, the way Wayne Hennessey flew through the air and still couldn’t get near it, the sheer power of the strike.

Full marks.

Total – 16/20