Liverpool

5 Stonking Premier League Free Kicks

There’s little more satisfying when watching football, than seeing a top quality free kick.

One that bamboozles the keeper and stuns the crowd, that curls perfectly into the top corner or rifles straight through the wall, these goals live long in the memory and it’s now time here at the Transfer Tavern to turn away from the dartboard and consider some of the very best free kick goals in the history of the Premier League.

Obviously, there are literally hundreds of goals to choose from, and a number of players (Beckham, Ronaldo etc.) could have made this list many time over, so while we only have 5 here, they are superlative examples of the varied art of the free kick goal. We have inside of the boot curlers, unstoppable thunderbolts, long-distance lobs and outrageously skilful set-ups for you. So, without any more further ado, here are, in no particular order, the Transfer Tavern’s 5 of the Best – Premier League Free Kicks.

David Beckham – Everton v. Manchester United – 2002/03

Might as well start with the don of free kicks, the man himself, David Beckham. World famous for his free kicks and corners, Beckham scored so many it was hard to choose one. This particular effort won through though because of its novelty. How many people would even consider attempting to place the ball in the top left corner from that position, with the wall and the goalkeeper where they are? Not many, that’s for sure.

It seems as if Becks or perhaps more likely, Ryan Giggs, as a left-footer, would go for the top right. No need. Beckham curls the ball majestically over the wall and a confused Richard Wright for what would be his last goal for Manchester United.

Maynor Figueroa – Stoke v. Wigan – 2009/10

Not know for his free kicks generally, Figueroa makes this list through this one very special strike. A seemingly innocuous free kick is given to Wigan in their own half after a nothing foul in this December 2009 match against Stoke. Out of nowhere, up pops Figueroa to absolutely leather the ball towards Sorenson’s goal.

No danger, surely, how often do people score from there? Very rarely, but unfortunately for the Potters, this was one such occasion. The Honduran left-back sends the ball sailing over the head of a stunned Sorenson and sends the Wigan fans into raptures. A goal from 55 yards out? Not bad. Not bad at all.

John Arne Riise – Liverpool v. Manchester United – 2000/01

WALLOP! Perhaps the best word to describe this effort from Liverpool’s erstwhile left-back. The ginger Norwegian sure could hit a ball (indeed, such is his power, he apparently broke Alan Smith’s leg once, according to Mark Lawrenson) and he had players begging not to be in the wall all over the country.

This goal is as simple as it gets, but it loses no effect through its simplicity, there’s little more satisfying than seeing the ball absolutely rifle into the net in such a fashion. Dietmar Hamann knocks the ball into the path of the oncoming Norseman, who puts all his power into a left-foot strike, which keeps rising to the perfect height as it smashes the bar and flies into the net. BOSH!

Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United v. Portsmouth – 2007/08

The most expensive player of all time has done a lot to earn his £80million price tag, and coming up with pretty much an entirely new way of approaching direct free kicks is just one of those things. Ronaldo’s technique of getting the ball up and down so quickly, mixed with a deadly soupcon of swerve has become his trademark and has fooled keepers all over England and Spain.

As with most of his efforts, Ronaldo’s histrionic free kick preparation is unnecessarily melodramatic, but with the quality that follows, he gets away with it. This goal is entirely unstoppable, no keeper in the world would have been able to cover the ground quickly enough to stop this thunderbolt from flying in the very top of the right hand corner. Genius.

Matt Le Tissier – Southampton v. Wimbledon – 1993/94

A true genius on the ball, ‘Le God”s technique was, frankly, brilliant. Not blessed with natural fitness, Le Tiss made up for his portly frame and lack of running with some the best goals the English top flight has ever seen. Indeed, such is the quality of the man, it’s impossible to find a clip of just one of his goals! Still, fortunately, the goal we’re after is the first in this compilation.

After a little tap towards him, Le Tissier flicks the ball up from a standing position, takes a step and proceeds to nail it up over the wall and past the keeper for a sumptuous top corner finish. Few players would have the gall even to try something like this, let alone pull it off. What a goal.

So there we have it, Five of the Best Premier league Free Kicks. But who’s missing? Steven Gerrard? Thierry Henry? Christian Ziege? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and follow me on Twitter for more rumour, speculation, thoughts and theories: @StuartCFootball

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