There aren’t many better sights in football than an overhead kick flying into the back of the net, everyone loves to see them. This is because they’re a lot rarer than the likes of 30 yard thunderbolts and delightful lobs (although we do like those types of goals as well).
They’re so rare because they’re not easy to pull off as it takes great timing and technique to avoid hitting it miles away from the goal or missing the ball completely. Also, it’s not like players get much of an opportunity to pull one out mid game as the ball has to be in front of them while their backs to goal and they have to be close enough to be able to score. It’s not often all that comes together.
When the opportunity does arise however, and somebody pulls off an overhead kick and it goes flying into the goal it is always a memorable moment. Here are five of the best overhead kicks in Premier League history…
Rory Delap v Tottenham, 2004
When you think of all the players in Premier League history capable of having the skill to score an overhead kick, Rory Delap is probably one of the last names you think of. But in a game against Tottenham in 2004 he did just that – and it was an absolute belter.
Southampton’s attempted cross was blocked, but they managed to recover by heading it across goal. This is when Delap ran onto it and hammered the overhead kick into the goal. As the assist only came from a header and not a whipped cross it is impressive how much power the Southampton man generated with his bicycle kick.
Christian Benteke v Manchester United, 2015
Benteke didn’t have the best time at Liverpool as the possession based style of football didn’t really suit the big Belgian’s more direct approach. The move to Anfield wasn’t a total waste of time however, as we all got to witness this wonderful strike that he pulled off against one of the Reds’ biggest rivals no less.
Jordan Ibe played the ball in and it was headed high but not quite away by Daley Blind. Benteke kept his eye on the ball all the way down and he hit the overhead kick with so much velocity that not even David De Gea could reach it. Just like Delap, it was all on Benteke to put power in the shot as there was not much pace on the ball when it came to him. Also, it was good concentration by the Belgian to keep watching the ball as it came down and not get distracted by the incoming Ander Herrera.
Andy Carroll v Crystal Palace, 2017
Carroll has always been known as a danger in the air, but it’s usually because of his heading ability rather than his technique. Against Crystal Palace in 2017 though he managed to pull off the greatest goals of his career as he hit a rocket of an overhead kick.
Michail Antonio crossed the ball in, but he put too much curl on the cross meaning that Carroll had to reposition. He couldn’t attempt a header so instead he went for a bicycle kick – and what a strike it was. The ball was struck with such venom that the goalkeeper had more chance of getting his hands on the moon than he did that ball. Such a sweet effort.
Emre Can v Watford, 2017
Another overhead kick from 2017 here as Emre Can had to produce this peach of a goal as Liverpool struggled to break down a stubborn Watford defence.
This goal differs from the others on this list as the assist didn’t come from the side, but instead came square on making it even harder to score. Emre Can managed it though as he was running into the box as the ball fell towards him. He quickly had to set himself before producing a sensational bicycle kick that went over the nearest defender and the goalkeeper and into the corner of the goal. It was a flawless display of skill and technique. Definitely a world class goal.
Wayne Rooney v Manchester City, 2011
This is perhaps the most famous goal on this list. Rooney was actually going through a difficult period on the pitch at this time, but this goal served as a catalyst to get him back on track. With the Manchester derby tied at 1-1 and the clock ticking down, both teams knew they would need a bit of magic to get the winner and the Englishman provided it with this sensational overhead kick.
Nani had the ball on the right hand side and tried to play in a cross, but it was deflected by Pablo Zabaleta. Like with Carroll this made Rooney have to reposition his body as the ball was behind him. As the ball came to him all he could do was attempt an overhead kick which he pulled off almost perfectly as it left Joe Hart rooted to the spot. Some cynics point out that it hit his shin rather his foot, but that shouldn’t take away from how incredible the goal was, especially as this win was very important in the title race that season for Manchester United.
CHECK OUT FIVE OF THE BEST GOALS BY WAYNE ROONEY