GMS Academy member Arjyo Mitra picks the top 10 goals from the opening round of Premier League fixtures...
With 10 games played and 25 goals scored, the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season is well and truly off to a fantastic start.
With goals coming from penalties, free-kicks and simple tap-ins, Premier League fans have seen plenty of memorable goal-mouth action, and selecting ten of the best goals scored so far has been an unenviable task.
Even though the first weekend of top-flight English league football is yet to be officially completed, what with Jose Mourinho's Chelsea set to host Paul Lambert's Aston Villa on Wednesday evening, this article discusses the ten best goals scored in the first week of Premier League action.
10) Joe Cole, West Ham United 2-0 Cardiff City (1-0)
It's been a funny old career for Joe Cole. A winner of three Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Chelsea, Cole will perhaps be remembered most fondly for his spectacular volleyed goal against Sweden in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After a disappointing spell at Liverpool, Cole has shown signs of the brilliance we all know he is capable of at West Ham.
He started the 2013/14 campaign on a good note, scoring the Hammers' first goal in their 2-0 win over newly promoted Cardiff City. It was a goal that involved impressive technique, as the former England international controlled Matt Jarvis' cross before turning on the spot and dispatching the ball into the back of the net with a precise finish.
If all turns out well, we should see more such moments of technical excellence from Cole as the season progresses.
9) Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool 1-0 Stoke City (1-0)
In the absence of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, who is now at the halfway point of his ten-match domestic ban received for biting Branislav Ivanovic, Daniel Sturridge started as the Reds' central striker against Mark Hughes' Stoke City. Sturridge was excellent throughout, linking well with Iago Aspas and fellow January signing Phillipe Coutinho.
He had a headed goal disallowed for offside in the first half, but made amends by collecting an Aspas pass and ruthlessly firing through the legs of Robert Huth and past Asmir Begovic's outstretched arms from 25 yards out. The goal, scored after 37 minutes played, proved to be the winner.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Olivier Giroud and Kevin Nolan scored some excellent goals, but Sturridge's 12th goal in his 17th Liverpool appearance gets the nod, partly because we know how good Begovic was on the day.
8) Oscar, Chelsea 2-0 Hull City (2-0)
As Juan Mata was left on the bench by Jose Mourinho in what was possibly a plot to save the Spaniard's legs for the clashes against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich (in the UEFA Super Cup on August 30), Brazilian midfielder Oscar got a rare start in his preferred central attacking position.
True to form, the player put in an excellent performance, linking up well with Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Fernando Torres for most of the game, and his tireless running and anticipation were rewarded with a goal just 12 minutes into the game.
As the ball was fed to Hazard in the inside left channel of the Hull half, Oscar timed his run from deep in his own half to perfection, receiving a cushioned pass from Kevin de Bruyne in the Hull penalty area.
Oscar displayed admirable composure in front of goal to slot the ball in between Allan McGregor's legs and into the back of the net to score the first goal of Mourinho's second stint in charge at Stamford Bridge.
7) Yaya Toure, Manchester City 4-0 Newcastle United (3-0)
Just five minutes into the second half of a fantastic performance by City, Yaya Toure enjoyed a moment of uncharacteristic finesse as he curled the ball into the back of the net from a free-kick just outside the Newcastle penalty area.
If there was any doubt of the result before that goal, Toure stroked the ball home from a tight angle to put the result and any discussions of a Newcastle comeback to bed once and for all.
The excellent Tim Krul was left grasping at straws as he stretched to attempt to parry Toure's free-kick away, just moments after he had produced an excellent save to deny Edin Dzeko a headed goal from point-blank range.
The third goal proved to be the killer blow for Newcastle, already crippled by the slightly harsh sending off of Steven Taylor,and Alan Pardew's men whimpered on their way to the final whistle, capitulating without offering so much as a hint of a comeback.
6) Ross Barkley, Norwich City 2-2 Everton (1-1)
Barkley scored the goal of the game in what was perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend.
Given a start by new manager Roberto Martinez, Barkley took the game by the scruff of its neck when he trapped a cross from Seamus Coleman before turning onto weaker left foot and firing an unstoppable shot past John Ruddy to score a much-deserved equalizer for the Toffees.
Barkley has drawn comparisons to former Everton prodigy Wayne Rooney for his physicality, commitment and excellent shooting ability, and should be closely watched over the course of the season, as he is a player who has all the potential to become a top player for his club and possibly even England's national team.
5) Frank Lampard, Chelsea 2-0 Hull City (2-0)
Some people had doubts as to whether 35-year-old Frank Lampard would feature regularly for a Chelsea side that boasts incredible strength in depth, especially in midfield. However, the veteran from Mourinho's first spell in charge at the Bridge proved his doubters wrong with an excellent display against Hull City.
Despite having a penalty saved by the Tigers' custodian Allan McGregor just five minutes into the game, Lampard was excellent, controlling and distributing possession effectively from a deeper role in midfield than the one he was assigned by Mourinho between 2004 and 2007.
He topped off his display with a phenomenal free-kick from distance after Torres had been fouled, taking Chelsea fans down Memory Lane with a thumping effort that left McGregor no chance.
4) Danny Welbeck, Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United (1-4)
This writer really does not know what to make of Danny Welbeck. At times, the player is so bad you wonder what United coaches see in him, but on the certain rare occasions, he can make the jaws of even his most hating detractors drop. His second goal, and United's fourth, against Swansea City was one such moment.
Deep into stoppage time, with the victory all but in the bag, Welbeck received the ball on the right side of Swansea's penalty area, beating Chico Flores for pace before chipping the ball, cool as you like, above Michel Vorm and into the far side of the goal.
It was a goal of great class coming from the most superb of finishes, and the nonchalance with which Welbeck stroked the ball home just about highlighted the gulf in class between United and Swansea on the day in terms of the creation and conversion of goal-scoring opportunities. Welbeck will hopefully be able to build on his excellent start to the season and improve his goal-scoring statistics.
3) Robin van Persie, Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United (0-3)
After leading United to its first ever trophy under the management of David Moyes by scoring twice to beat Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield play-off, Robin van Persie was expected to carry his rich vein of form into his second season at Manchester United. The Dutchman did not disappoint, scoring two superb goals to inspire United to a comfortable opening-day victory over Swansea City.
Third on our list is van Persie's stunning second goal, coming about half an hour into the second half. Given the ball by Wayne Rooney in Swansea's half with his back to goal, he turned and took off towards Swansea's back four. Rooney's surging diagonal run to van Persie's right served to distract Ashley Williams from his attempts to close van Persie down, which allowed the Dutchman to turn onto his left foot and prepare for an effort on goal.
Even as he prepared for the shot, few would have expected the ball to find a way past the flailing arms of Michel Vorm the way it did. Van Persie hit the ball as cleanly and emphatically as possible, and Vorm stood no chance at all. The goal all but ended Swansea's chances of a late comeback, and confirmed van Persie's status as the best goal-scorer in the Premier League.
2) Sergio Aguero, Manchester City 4-0 Newcastle United (2-0)
Sheikh Mansour and Manchester City fans will be delighted at the way Manuel Pellegrini kicked off his term at the Etihad as City thrashed Newcastle United 4-0 at home. In truth, the game could have seen a lot more goals, but it is fair to say that none of them would have been anywhere nearly as spectacular as Sergio Aguero's surgically precise finish in the first half.
The goal came seconds after a Newcastle attack had seen the ball fall to Papiss Cisse, but the Senegalese striker was robbed of possession by the brilliant Vincent Kompany, who started off on a run up the pitch.
His pass to Edin Dzeko was deftly flicked on by the Bosnian, and the ball fell to Sergio Aguero, the player who effectively won City's first league title in 44 years with his stoppage-time goal against QPR in May 2012. Taking advantage of the utter confusion between the Newcastle defenders, Aguero shrugged off the challenge of Steven Taylor on his way to the edge of the Newcastle penalty area.
The acute angle between him and the goal, and the imposing figure of Tim Krul did nothing to faze the Argentinian, and his precise finish squeezed past the Dutch custodian and nestled into the far bottom corner of the goal, sneaking in off the upright.
You couldn't have placed it there with your hands; such was the precision of the striker's finish as he put the ball in the only part of the goal that he could have. An excellent finish befitting a lightning counter-attack and worthy of a fantastic debut performance by Pellegrini's City side.
1) Robin van Persie, Swansea City 1-4 Manchester United (0-1)
And now for the goal of the week. Robin van Persie has developed something of a penchant for the spectacular, and it comes as no surprise that he produced a moment of spectacular ingenuity to kick off the Moyes era at Manchester United.
As Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick exchanged passes on the edge of the Swansea are, van Persie spotted a gap behind defender Chico Flores, and was expertly found by the Welsh veteran.
Controlling the ball on his chest, van Persie adjusted his body position and waited for the ball to bounce. Despite being surrounded by Flores and Ashley Williams, he somehow contrived to smash the ball into the back of the net, twisting his body in mid-air and acrobatically applying the emphatic finish with his weaker foot while the ball was six feet in the air.
For most of the viewers of the goal, it was nothing short of a bolt from the blue, and came completely against the general run of play, as Swansea had done a great job of controlling possession for much of the 33 minutes that had been played with the scores at 0-0. Van Persie got his account for the Premier League season off to a spectacular start, and fans will now expect more of the same from the Premier League's top scorer of the 2012/13 season.
So there you have it, the ten best goals scored in the opening ten games of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season. Ricky van Wolfwinkel, Kevin Nolan and Wilfried Bony were unlucky to miss out, but will have plenty of opportunities to score fantastic goals over the course of the season.
If you agree or disagree with the contents of this list, feel free to comment below!
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