Football

Five of the best: Premier League hat-trick heroes

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Manchester United attacking midfielder Shinji Kagawa made history at the weekend, when he became the first Asian player to score a Premier League hat-trick in Saturday's emphatic 4-0 victory over Norwich City at Old Trafford.

The Japanese international moved the Red Devils one step closer to a record 20th top-flight title, sweeping aside the Canaries with a stunning solo performance that prompted a mountain of praise from his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

"It's brilliant for him," the Manchester United boss told MUTV after the game. "The lad is a good finisher and his second goal was so composed and an intelligent finish while his third was absolutely brilliantly taken. 

"Midway through the second half, I didn't think it would end up 4-0 as I think we were a bit ragged for that period. But, when we brought Shinji into central midfield, it made a difference to us and he ended up with a hat-trick. It's been a great day for him."

Kagawa arrived at Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund last summer, after two successful seasons in Germany where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles. The former Cerezo Osaka star made a promising start to life at Old Trafford, before picking up an injury which halted his progress.

"He got that injury around October-November and was out quite a while," explained Ferguson. "It knocked him back a bit but he's gradually coming back and I think you'll see a really good player next year."

In light of Kagawa's match-winning performance, which also earned him a place in the annals of Premier League history, GiveMeFootball has decided to pick out some of the greatest hat-trick heroes ever to grace England's top-flight.

The most: Alan Shearer - 11 hat-tricks

It's almost inevitable that the Premier League's all-time leading goalscorer also boasts the most hat-tricks in England's top-flight, with 11 trebles recorded among Shearer's 260 league goals for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle Untied.

Shearer is also among a select group of players to have scored five goals in a single Premier League game, in the Magpies' 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday back in 2000, joining Andy Cole, Jermain Defoe and Dimitar Berbatov 

The fastest: Robbie Fowler - 4mins 23secs

After bursting on to the Anfield scene in 1993, the Liverpool legend took just 263 seconds to fire a lightening quick treble against an Arsenal side that prided itself on defensive resilience. 

Fowler's first goal came courtesy of a Jamie Redknapp free-kick past David Seaman on 26 minutes, and by the half hour mark, the precocious young talent was celebrating a high-speed hat-trick that remains the quickest in Premier League history.

2-for-the-price-of-1: Robert Pires & Jermaine Pennant

A game which marked the beginning of Arsenal's incredible 49-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, saw Arsene Wenger's side thrash Southampton 6-1 at Highbury in the penultimate game of the 2002/03 season.

Midfield duo Pennant and Pires both claimed hat-tricks for the Gunners, the only time two players from the same team have staked a genuine claim for the match ball.

The first: Eric Cantona | Leeds United

The flamboyant Frenchman is best remembered for his time at Old Trafford, but before he completed his £1.2million switch to Manchester United, Cantona scored the first hat-trick of the Premier League era for Leeds in their 5-0 win against Tottenham in August 1992.

There had been ten doubles in the first three weeks of the season in the competition's new format, but the Premier League's first foreign pioneer posted the first treble, to ensure his name would be forever etched in the history of English football.

And finally…

4 - Les Ferdinand, Ian Wright, Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney are the only four players to have scored hat-tricks in two consecutive Premier League fixtures.

5 - Kevin Campbell (Arsenal, Everton, Notts Forest), Les Ferdinand (Newcastle, QPR, Tottenham), Teddy Sheringham (Man Utd, Tottenham, Portsmouth), Nicolas Anelka (Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea) and Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Portsmouth, Everton, Blackburn) have each scored Premier League hat-tricks for three different clubs.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
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