Silvery strikes

To mark the silver anniversary of the Premier League, the BBC recently revealed a list of their top goals from the past 25 years, one from each season dating back to 1992/93.

While the selection featured some real gems from the past quarter of a century, one thing did bother me about the shortlist. For while we had six Arsenal goals, five by Manchester United, two by Liverpool and Leeds, and one each from the likes of Aston Villa, Blackburn, Charlton, Portsmouth and Wigan, there were no Chelsea goals to be found.

It does seem baffling that none of the 1,645 goals netted by the Blues in the Premier League were deemed worthy of inclusion. So with that in mind, I would like to submit the following five Chelsea wonder-strikes, one from each five-year era of the league’s existence.

 

1992-97

Gianfranco Zola, vs Man Utd, February 1997 

Gianfranco Zola scored several memorable goals in his first season at Chelsea including brilliant efforts against Liverpool and Wimbledon on our run to the FA Cup final. However, the Italian’s best in the league that campaign was a solo effort against Manchester United at the Bridge when he received the ball on the right by-line, allowed Denis Irwin to slide past him and dribbled past another challenge before drilling the ball in at the near post past a stunned Peter Schmeichel.

 

1997-2002

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, vs Man Utd, September 2000

There are plenty of great candidates from this era including Gustavo Poyet’s scissor-kick against Sunderland in 1999 and Mario Stanic’s keepy-uppey volley against West Ham in 2000, but it’s hard to ignore the quality of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s effort at Old Trafford. The Dutch striker chested down a volleyed cross from Tore Andre Flo on the edge of the box before unleashing a volley of frightening velocity which the Manchester United defence could only wave at as it arrowed into the top corner.

 

2002-07

Eidur Gudjohnsen, vs Leeds United, January 2003

While I loved Joe Cole’s title-clincher against Manchester United in 2006 and Michael Essien’s swerving long-range strike against Arsenal, Eidur Gudjohnsen’s effort against Leeds United in the 2002/03 season is probably the best bicycle-kick goal of the past 25 years. Frank Lampard’s cross from the right was a little behind the Icelandic striker but he improvised brilliantly, flinging himself backward and meeting the ball perfectly in mid-air with his right foot to send it past Paul Robinson.

 

2007-2012

Juliano Belletti, vs Tottenham Hotspur, January 2008

While Juliano Belletti only scored five goals for Chelsea, they tended to be pretty special efforts. The Brazilian full-back’s best came in our London derby against Spurs at the Bridge in the 2007/08 season when the opposition defenders foolishly backed off as he advanced from the halfway line before letting fly from 25 metres with a right-footed screamer which gave goalkeeper Radek Cerny little chance as it nestled into the top corner.

 

2012-2017

Eden Hazard, vs Arsenal, February 2017

As much as I enjoyed Oscar’s shot with the outside of his right boot against Queens Park Rangers in 2014, I can’t look beyond Eden Hazard’s solo effort against Arsenal which was Chelsea’s Goal of the Season for 2016/17. Picking up the ball in his own half, the brilliant Belgian left four Gunners defenders in his wake on his mazy run towards the box before he coolly clipped the ball over an advancing Petr Cech.