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Shearer and Wright Both Agree on the Finest Goal Ever in the Premiership and it’s by an Arsenal Player

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Since the Premier League began back in 1992, supporters have witnessed a host of stunning goals. Goals that would be acclaimed as world-class on any stage including World cups and European finals. It’s been a privilege to see the quality of the English game develop and gradually part company with its more physical and negative predecessor of the ’70s and mid-’80s.

The conception of the Premier League virtually guaranteed interest and arrival of foreign talent, which undeniably increased the technical skill and pace of the game in this country and made it incredibly attractive for coaches from overseas.

In terms of Arsenal, 1996 was a pivotal year for the North London club and the Premier League, it was the year two influential figures combined to initiate a quiet revolution. Arsene Wenger’s arrival was warmly welcomed by Dennis Bergkamp, who transferred to Highbury in 1995.

The two men had a shared philosophy and similar ideas on how to work, train, and play. At first glance, this might appear to be irrelevant to this article but for me, this was the catalyst for what would become Arsenal’s identity, style, and success.

Arsene Wenger began introducing technically gifted, athletic players, allowing them to play their natural game within a fast-paced, one-touch system with unknown players who would become international stars.

Bergkamp had finally found his home and as a result of the new ethos, his career thrived and although the MOTD specials don’t regard the Dutchman as the finest foreign player, they agree that his goal against Newcastle United in 2002 is the finest goal the Premier League has ever seen.

I’ve covered this spectacular goal against Newcastle United in great detail in a previous blog, so I’m not going to write heaps here, but both Shearer and Wright spoke about a type of skill and execution that may never be seen again. Wright said:

“The pass was behind him and he has to improvise, and because he was such a great technician, he scored one of the greatest goals I have ever seen. If he had a bad touch in training, everybody noticed, because he was so good.”

Shearer added:

“No-one has ever scored a goal like that and I don’t think anyone will ever score it again. He absolutely meant it, the touch, the technique and the finish was exceptional.”

I personally remember having to watch a series of replays to understand what I’d seen in real-time, to appreciate the level of skill involved, and how the Dutchman had the audacity and speed of thought to execute the move.

To be honest, it’s still hard to understand how he processed the move in his head as he received an undeniably awkward ball. What he did during the game against Newcastle United from the moment it came to his feet will be talked about for many years to come and replayed over and over by young and old to appreciate its purity and inventive beauty.

Football sometimes serves up extraordinary moments of excitement and entertainment that are worth the troublesome and frustrating journey to the opposition’s ground, but this was something incredibly unique. Arsenal fans were certainly rewarded for their efforts to get to St James’ Park on the 2nd of March 2002.

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Back to business, there were two other goals from Arsenal players in the respective top tens of Wright and Shearer. Wright included Thierry Henry’s goal vs Manchester United in 2000 at number six, with Shearer having it slightly higher at number four.

It was a time when Henry had struggled for goals for around four weeks but he quickly found his scoring boots at home against the club’s biggest rival. The Frenchman looked sharp but was at times almost anonymous despite some great play.

As the game went on, it looked as if a draw was the most likely outcome although Manchester United had been strong and determined. However, in a moment of pure brilliance, Gilles Grimandi managed to pick out Henry on the left edge of the penalty area with red shirts all around him and with his back to goal. He took a touch with his right foot that flicked the ball into the air. He turned and struck it with the same foot putting it way beyond the reach of Fabian Barthez and into the top far corner of the Manchester United net.

The two pundits also agreed to feature quite possibly the greatest Arsenal team goal of all time orchestrated and finished by Gunners’ favourite Jack Wilshere in the Premier League game against Norwich in 2013.

Wilshere began the move by collecting the ball from deep in his own half before poking it wide to Santi Cazorla on the left. Wilshere pressed forward and received it back from the Spanish magician on the edge of the Norwich area. Then Wilshere and Olivier Giroud managed to bewitch and hypnotise at least four Norwich defenders with three delightful flicks before Wilshere ran on to volley home from point-blank range. Ian Wright placed that goal against Norwich in the eighth position, Shearer at six.

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Yet, there are so many more Arsenal goals that didn’t make either list including Giroud’s scorpion kick against Palace in 2018. The Bergkamp Treble against Leicester in 1997, Henry’s solo effort against Spurs 2002 or Cazorla’s blistering free-kick from the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull, but I’ll settle for three out of ten under the circumstances.

Ian Wright’s Top 10 Goals

  1. Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal) vs Newcastle United
  2. Paolo di Canio (West Ham) vs Wimbledon
  3. Luis Suarez (Liverpool) vs Newcastle United
  4. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United) vs Arsenal
  5. Trevor Sinclair (QPR) vs Barnsley
  6. Thierry Henry (Arsenal) vs Manchester United
  7. Matt Le Tissier (Southampton) vs Blackburn Rovers
  8. Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) vs Norwich
  9. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) vs Man City
  10. Tony Yeboah (Leeds) vs Liverpool

Alan Shearer’s Top 10 Goals

  1. Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal) vs Newcastle United
  2. Trevor Sinclair (QPR) vs Barnsley
  3. Matt Le Tissier (Southampton) vs Newcastle United
  4. Thierry Henry (Arsenal) vs Manchester United
  5. Paolo di Canio (West Ham) vs Wimbledon
  6. Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) vs Norwich
  7. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) vs Newcastle United
  8. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) vs Leicester
  9. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) vs Manchester City
  10. Robin van Persie (Manchester United) vs Aston Villa

Keep following ArseDevils to know more!

The Highbury Flyer
Anti Kroenke , anti Gazidis but always a gooner. Still wishes he could watch from the stands at the Highbury library.

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