The new year is now in full swing with the celebrations to welcome in 2020 beginning to die down, and as January begins we prepare for both a new year and a new decade of Premier League football.
The past ten seasons have seen some iconic moments, with contrasting fortunes for some of English football’s biggest sides.
Manchester United saw their dominance come to an end with the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, with the Old Trafford side seeing their cross-town rivals Manchester City emerge from the shadows to thrive on the biggest stage.
Elsewhere, Liverpool and Tottenham saw their fortunes notably improve over the course of the decade, Chelsea continued to hire and fire but maintain success, whilst Arsenal have continued to deteriorate as the Gunners made a mess of the transition from Arsene Wenger.
We’ve decided to look back at the changing fortunes of the top six, with a look at the goal scorers who began and finished the 2010’s.
Here are our ratings of each top six clubs first and last goal scorer of the decade…
First goalscorer – Aaron Ramsey v West Ham (FA Cup Third Round, 03/01/2010)
Aaron Ramsey would open the scoring for Arsenal during the 2010’s, hitting an equaliser against West Ham at Upton Park as the club secured a comeback victory to progress in the FA Cup.
The Welsh international was arguably the club’s most consistent performer over the past ten seasons, twice scoring winning goals in the FA Cup final to secure silverware and regularly being influential in the club’s biggest moments of the decade.
Having grown frustrated by the Gunners inability to compete for major honours and the club’s unwillingness to offer him a contract on par with Mesut Ozil, he would opt to leave the Emirates, joining Italian champions Juventus on a free transfer during the 2019 summer transfer window.
The 29-year-old remains well respected at the Emirates after over a decade of service to the club, his departure having been felt this season following his decision to leave for Turin.
Last goalscorer: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang v Chelsea (Premier League, 29/12/2019)
The current Arsenal captain has been the Gunners’ most consistent performer despite their toils in recent times, winning a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot last season and again being amongst the division’s leading marksman this term.
Since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in a then club-record deal two years ago, the Gabon international has scored an impressive 56 goals in just 89 appearances whilst his status as a leader was confirmed by his appointment as club captain earlier this year.
Blessed with electric pace and a steely composure around goal, the 30-year-old is one of the genuine elite talents currently in Mikel Arteta’s squad and will be a key figure as the Spaniard looks to revive the north London side’s fortunes in the coming months.
First goalscorer: Daniel Sturridge v Watford (FA Cup Third Round, 03/01/2010)
Chelsea would begin the decade by claiming a domestic double under Carlo Ancelotti, and began their run to FA Cup success with a 5-0 thumping of Watford at Stamford Bridge in January 2010.
A rotated side would see youngster Sturridge handed an opportunity from the start, and the forward would take just five minutes to open the scoring during a comprehensive victory, later adding a second in an impressive performance.
Despite claiming a host of major honours during his time in west London, Sturridge would never establish himself as a first-team regular due to fierce competition and would enjoy the best period of his career after leaving for Liverpool in January 2013.
Last goalscorer: Tammy Abraham v Arsenal (Premier League, 29/12/2019)
In the same game in which the aforementioned Aubameyang completed Arsenal’s decade of goal scoring, Chelsea youngster Abraham would snatch the winner at the Emirates to seal victory for Chelsea in an entertaining London derby.
The academy graduate has shone since being handed his opportunity under Frank Lampard this season, scoring 12 times in the Premier League already and establishing himself in the senior England squad.
Chelsea will hope the 22-year-old can maintain his early showings, Abraham possessing the potential to lead the club’s attack for the majority of the next decade.
First goalscorer: Steven Gerrard v Reading (FA Cup Third Round, 02/01/2010)
Liverpool were a far cry from their current league leading side a decade ago, the club having been on the brink of administration and seeing stars such as Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano depart in recent windows for pastures new.
It would be hometown hero Steven Gerrard who would once again carry the weight of expectation during this period, and the former club captain would score the opening goal of the decade to equalise during a 1-1 draw at the Madjeski Stadium.
Rarely has there been a more talismanic figure than the Huyton-born star, a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ style midfielder who would star for his boyhood side for nearly two decades and win several major honours.
Regarded by many as the greatest player ever to wear the red shirt, Gerrard would begin a decade that would ultimately end with the Merseyside club as European champions.
Last goalscorer: Sadio Mane v Wolves (Premier League, 29/12/2019)
The Senegal star has formed one of the most potent forward lines in European football in recent seasons, starring alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as Liverpool have emerged as contenders for major honours under Jurgen Klopp.
Mane would score the final goal of the decade for the Reds in their win over Wolves last week, continuing his electric form throughout the calendar year which saw him earn a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot.
The former Southampton star has flourished since arriving at Anfield three-and-a-half years ago, scoring 74 goals in just 151 appearances and twice being named in the PFA Team of the Year.
First goalscorer: Benjani v Middlesbrough (FA Cup Third Round, 02/01/2010)
It’s been some decade for the blue half of Manchester, who ten years ago were just about seeing the first benefits of their recent billionaire investment.
A squad possessing the likes of Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor would ultimately finish fifth in the Premier League during 2009/10, but it would be former Zimbabwe international Benajni who would open the decade for Man City with an FA Cup winner against Middlesbrough.
The former Portsmouth forward scored just four league goals during his two seasons at the club, signing just before the club’s takeover with his most notable moment a Manchester derby winner on his debut.
From there he would make little impact, however, before being squeezed out as the club strived to reach new levels.
Last goalscorer: Kevin de Bruyne v Sheffield United (Premier League, 29/12/2019)
From the bumbling Benjani to a brilliant Belgian, Manchester City are operating on a whole new level to where the club was ten years ago.
The club’s decade was completed with De Bruyne’s strike against Sheffield United last weekend, the midfielder having established himself as arguably the finest player in the Premier League in recent seasons.
A key component of the club’s back-to-back title successes and domestic treble, the 28-year-old is one of the best creative midfielder’s the division has seen and is well on track to break the all-time record for most assists in a single season having registered 12 for the campaign thus far.
First goalscorer: Dimitar Berbatov v Burnley (Premier League, 16/01/2010)
A Scott Dann own goal was actually the club’s first goal of the decade during a draw at Birmingham, before Bulgarian international Berbatov scored the following week against Burnley to score the first goal of the 2010’s by a United player.
The forward would spend four seasons at Old Trafford and win two league titles, often delighting with improvised moments of genius and winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot in 2010/11.
An elegant footballer who possessed a languid style and an ability to nonchalantly produce match-winning pieces of skill, Berbatov was a fan’s favourite and scored 48 goals in just 108 league appearances for United.
Last goalscorer: Anthony Martial v Burnley (Premier League, 28/12/2019)
Remarkably United’s first and last goals of the decade came against the same opposition, Anthony Martial netting the second during a 2-0 win at Turf Moor to defeat Burnley last weekend.
The French forward is yet to truly hit the heights expected following his arrival from Monaco four years ago, but has shown flashes of the talent that persuaded the club to make him the then most expensive teenager in the history of football.
Since arriving at Old Trafford Martial has hit over 58 goals in 194 appearances, but now aged 24-years-old must start to show he can be the man to lead the club’s forward line in the coming seasons.
First goalscorer: Niko Kranjcar v Peterborough United (FA Cup Third Round, 02/01/2010)
Spurs would begin the decade under the management of ‘Arry Redknapp and began the 2010’s in ‘triffic style, hammering Peterborough 4-0 to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
It would be a Redknapp favourite who would open the scoring, former Croatia international Kranjcar firing home to begin the decade in style for the north London side.
A technical and creative midfielder, Kranjcar would spend three seasons at White Hart Lane and help the club secure Champions League qualification for the first time in their history, before leaving for Dynamo Kyiv in 2012.
Last goal scorer: Harry Kane v Norwich (Premier League, 28/12/2019)
Tottenham’s final goal of the decade would come from a man who has scored prolifically ever since his emergence in the first-team, Harry Kane firing home an equaliser against Norwich from the penalty spot to rescue a point for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Kane would come through the academy ranks and flourish into a star over the past few seasons, scoring 181 goals in all competitions and twice winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot award.
His prolific form has transferred onto the international stage where he is now England captain, his fine record now standing at an impressive 31 goals in just 45 caps.
Only Sergio Aguero scored more Premier League goals than Kane during the 2010’s, and the 26-year-old is likely to be amongst the leading scorers once more as we begin the 2020’s.