Crystal Palace were in desperate need for points when they travelled to The Hawthorns in March 2017 to face West Bromwich Albion. They were 1-0 ahead with five minutes to go when Andros Townsend produced a natural piece of solo skill.
Jonathan Leko of West Brom lost possession to Townsend just outside his own area and he began a mazy run up the park. He then took on Leko, shaking him off as he fell to ground in a vain attempt to get a foul. This put the visitors on a 2-on-2 situation. Christian Benteke made a run to drag Jonny Evans out of the firing line and this left Townsend in a one-on-one with Gareth McAuley. He beat the central defender before driving his shot beyond Ben Foster at the near post.
It was a wonderful goal and won the Premier League Goal of the Month award for March 2017. Palace won the game 2-0 and began a decent run of form that ensured they maintained their Premier League status by the end of the campaign.
Middlesbrough found the going tough on their return to the Premier League in 2016-2017. One of their bright spots was the 2-0 home victory recorded over AFC Bournemouth in October 2016. The first goal on this autumn afternoon was one of the best solo goals of the season from the enigmatic Uruguayan, Gaston Ramirez.
A Bournemouth corner didn’t lead to any significant threat and when Adam Smith’s attempted shot was blocked, the ball fell into the path of Ramirez. The midfielder skipped past Harry Arter before increasing his speed, leaving on-loan Jack Wilshere trailing in his wake. With clear space ahead of him, Ramirez kept going and going, before cutting inside Andrew Surman’s desperate challenge and firing the ball beyond Artur Boruc.
Middlesbrough fans were elated and it won the Carling Goal of the Month for October 2016. It will be a lasting memory of Ramirez for them. He returned to Italian football after their relegation.
Kevin Davies went on to have a very successful career with Bolton Wanderers and even managed to win one England cap from Fabio Capello in October 2010. Davies though first made his name at Southampton. In his debut season with the Saints, he scored this wonderful solo effort away at Goodison Park against Everton in November 1997.
Picking the ball up on the left-hand side of the pitch, Davies cut inside, evaded John Oster’s feeble attempt to foul him before beating another two Everton defenders, then produced a fitting finish to a wonderful solo run past Everton veteran goalkeeper Neville Southall. Southampton ended up 2-0 winners.
Less than a year later, Blackburn Rovers paid £7.5 million for Davies’ services. He would have a miserable time at Ewood Park but it was goals like this that tempted Rovers to pay such a fee for him.
Mohamed Salah arrived back in the Premier League in the summer of 2017, determined to show Liverpool FC fans his worth. He had previously auditioned in the top-flight with Chelsea and it is fair to say, he had a testing year in west London which didn’t really work out in terms of his career. After flourishing in Italy with Fiorentina and AS Roma, he joined Liverpool FC and set about taking the English game by storm.
Against Tottenham in February, he was in peak form. The game was right in the balance after Victor Wanyama’s smashing strike, whilst Harry Kane had missed a penalty. Then, in stoppage-time, Salah produced another moment of magic. His 21st goal of an extraordinary campaign was probably his finest. Initially appealing for a potential handball, Salah re-engaged quickly in what was more important and his trickery saw him twist inside Ben Davies, avoid Dele Alli’s attempt to foul him, brush off Jan Vertonghen and then, clip the ball over the top of the onrushing Hugo Lloris. It was a glorious piece of skill, calmness and trickery from the Player of the Season.
The game did ultimately finish all-square but Salah ended the season with a Golden Boot and a clean sweep of PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Football Writers Award. It will be very interesting to see if he can follow up on his sensational season in 2018-2019 after his World Cup heartache this summer with Egypt.
In his two seasons with Southampton, Sofiane Boufal has only shown flashes of the promise he demonstrated whilst playing in France. The Moroccan though did produce this exceptional piece of solo brilliance in a fairly sterile game against West Bromwich Albion.
The game on the south coast looked like it was petering out towards a pretty ordinary 0-0 draw when Boufal took centre stage in the 85th minute. The tricky winger, who had only arrived into the contest as a substitute four minutes earlier, he twisted past Allan Nyom in his own half before using his speed to leave Jake Livermore trailing in his wake. As Boufal continued his surge towards goal, he bamboozled past Craig Dawson. Desperate to keep up having been the first man beaten, Nyom ran into Dawson and both hit the turf. Gareth McAuley was the next defender who backed off and was beaten and lastly, goalkeeper Ben Foster couldn’t stop his neatly-placed effort into the bottom corner.
It was a goal fitting to win a tight match between two sides who would ultimately spend the majority of the campaign at the wrong end of the table. It didn’t sparkle Boufal’s season into life though. He was left out of Morocco’s squad for the 2018 World Cup finals and was recently excluded from the Saints’ pre-season tour of China by new manager Mark Hughes. His future at the club looks bleak.
However, this tremendous solo goal was voted by fans as the Carling Goal of the Season for the 2017-2018 campaign.
Aston Villa were one of the most exciting Premier League teams in the 1992-1993 season and they pushed Manchester United very close in the title race. Ron Atkinson’s side produced great entertainment and they were spearheaded by a formidable attacking partnership of Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson.
At Selhurst Park in October 1992, Atkinson scored the Goal of the Season and it was all his own work. He won possession in his own half and went on a mazy run through the heart of the pitch, evading three Wimbledon defending challenges. He had options, including Saunders to his left-hand side but Atkinson was only interested in scoring himself.
Spotting the goalkeeper slightly off his line, he then produced a delicious chip which found the back of the net. It was a goal extremely fitting to win any contest when Dalian was at the peak of his powers.
Dalian Atkinson died on 15th August 2016. He was just 48-years-old. His legacy will always be marked by this world-class goal.
Coventry City’s first-ever Premier League victory over Manchester United arrived in December 1997 through a dramatic late finale to this match at Highfield Road. Ex-Red Devil Dion Dublin had just levelled the scores at 2-2 with a penalty before Darren Huckerby’s individual brilliance would win the match for Gordon Strachan’s battling side.
After an advantage was played following a foul on Trond Egil Soltvedt, Huckerby took control of the ball and the destiny of the match. He went on a weaving run, shaking off Gary Neville’s tackle, deceiving David May and then, rolling the ball into the left-hand corner of the net past Peter Schmeichel.
It was the finest moment in Huckerby’s Premier League career. Manchester United had been humbled by some solo quality just three days before the end of 1997.