Premier League at 25: best goal- Matt Le Tissier v Manchester United, 19965 months, 24 days ago
Premier League at 25 best goal: Matt Le Tissiers for Southampton against Manchester United in 1996 because great goals, like great records, capture their own period perfectly
The move leading up to Matt Le Tissiers skip and jink and dreamy little chip over Peter Schmeichel for Southampton against Manchester United in October 1996 emerges out of a few moments of typical 1990 s midfield helter-skelter. These days perhaps we would call this high energy pressing. Back then it was just sort of general football.
The goal starts from a throw-in on Uniteds left-wing. The ball ricochets back up Jordi Cruyff as he is bumped by Jason Dodd. Eyal Berkovic, still seeming a bit wired after scoring the opener half an hour earlier, skitters in and nips the ball away from Phil Neville. Egil Ostenstad lays it to Berkovic, who fizzes a hard, flat pass to Le Tissier 40 yards from objective. Le Tissier looks up. There are four United players in front of him. From here it will take six seconds and five touches to put the ball in the net.
Trying to pick out the best objective in 25 years of top-tier football is, of course, a laughably subjective task, skewed not just by the reductive inanity of trying to rank various categories of impossibly rarefied skill but by issues of context. In isolation nothing is likely to outdo, say, Dalian Atkinsons bullocking all-comers operate and chip against Wimbledon in October 1992. Similarly nobody has ever hit a ball better than Tony Yeboahs knee-bobble and top corner spank against the same adversaries in September 1995, except perhaps Yeboah himself against Liverpool a month before, a goal made all the more satisfying by employ of the furious finger-wagging gala, as though chiding a pitch-side lineup of all those who have repeatedly and insistently denied such a thing was humanly possible.
Both goals are unimprovable, sealed within their own distinct space. There are hundreds more, too, among the Premier Leagues total of 25,768, from one-off spikes of pleasure to aims that seem to express the essence of a team or a player or a season. If you want context there is a pretty strong argument for Sergio Ageros winner against QPR in the final seconds of the 2011 -1 2 season , not just because it chose a Premier League but because it is a good goal too, Agero finding even in that cramped little moment, with history crushing down on his back, the time to pause for a beat, delaying just enough to make the space to shoot.
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