December marks the most hectic month of football in the Premier League calendar each season – with most top-flight sides in action seven times between now and the end of the year. While there will no doubt be some fantastic action to enjoy over that period, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be treated to a collection of goals to match the insanity that was the December 2006 Goal of the Month competition.
Your average line-up for the monthly award tends to feature a couple of screamers, mixed in with efforts that – while decent – won’t live long in the memory. It’s a natural byproduct of producers having to find 10 worthy contenders for the prize in the space of a little over four weeks.
However, there were no such issues 15 years ago, as the majority of goals put up for consideration in December 2006 wouldn’t have been out of place in the conversation for Goal of the Season.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes got the nod officially for his sumptuous volley against Aston Villa, but it must have been a close-run thing.
With a compilation of the nominees having once again gone viral, we’ve taken on the tough task of ranking all ten strikes below.
Revisiting the outrageous Premier League Goal of the Month competition from December 2006
10. Robin van Persie (Arsenal v Watford)
A sweeping Gunners counter-attack is capped by a fine finish from Van Persie. A solid team effort but, in a month full of individual brilliance, this has to rank bottom of a quality pile.
9. Morten Gamst Pedersen (Blackburn v Newcastle)
A stunning strike from range, Magpies’ goalkeeper Shay Given was beaten as soon as the ball left Pedersen’s boot.
8. Keith Gillespie (Sheffield United v Charlton)
This magnificent volleyed finish was bettered by Scholes later in the month but deserves plenty of credit in its own right.
7. David Bentley (Blackburn v Reading)
This memorable effort from Bentley, which began when he picked up the ball in his own half, would likely rank higher if the Reading defence had actually made a meaningful attempt at trying to tackle him.
6. Frank Lampard (Chelsea v Everton)
Lampard bagged 147 Premier League goals during his legendary Chelsea career, but few were better than this absolute rocket against the Toffees. Taking just a single touch to get the ball out of his feet, Lampard smashes it into the roof of the net, offering Tim Howard no chance whatsoever.
5. Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham v Man City)
While Lampard took a touch before his strike mentioned above, Huddlestone didn’t even need that. This gloriously-timed half-volley is a treat to watch.
4. Matt Taylor (Portsmouth v Everton)
Poor Tim Howard didn’t have a great time of it in December 2006. Before he was beaten by Lampard’s thunderbolt, he’d already been bamboozled by this 45-yard beauty from Taylor. So clean is the strike from Taylor that the American can do nothing except admire it as it flies over his head.
3. Didier Drogba (Chelsea v Everton)
This worldy on the turn from Drogba came just six minutes after Lampard’s cracker – and is definitely the last time we’ll mention the unfortunate Howard. Securing victory for the Blues with an outrageous finish on the swivel in the final minutes of normal time, this was one to savour for Drogba.
2. Michael Essien (Chelsea v Arsenal)
Chelsea were on the verge of losing their first home league match in 52 outings when they trailed 1-0 to Arsenal with just six minutes to go at Stamford Bridge. The west London side needed a moment of magic to preserve their run – and found it with this sublime outside-of-the-boot strike from Essien. A truly special goal.
1. Paul Scholes (Man Utd v Aston Villa)
In almost any other month, Essien would have deservedly scooped the prize. With that said, it’s tough to argue with Scholes victory. One of the sweetest volleys you will ever see, the man himself refers to the strike as the best of his career – and he’s got quite the back catalogue of stunners to his name.
You can check out each of the goals mentioned in the compilation below.
Watch: The incredible list of nominees for the 2006 Premier League Goal of the Month competition
There’ll surely be some great goals scored over the next 31 days, but this lot might never be topped.
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