Jamie Vardy’s opener against Liverpool was a stunner – but already this term there have been at least three strikes more worthy of the Goal of the Season award.
Vardy’s beauty was widely described as goal of the season on social media, while former Foxes forward Gary Lineker went even further, perhaps somewhat tongue in cheek…
Goal of the decade from Vardy!
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 2, 2016
Was it really all that?
The ball, sent forward by Riyad Mahrez, bounced up perfectly for Vardy, while Dejan Lovren’s reluctance to get any tighter to his opponent gave Vardy plenty of time and space to line up the hit.
Vardy deserves credit for paying attention throughout the previous hour. He revealed after the match that he had noticed Simon Mignolet regularly straying from his goal-line and the England striker had plenty of time to check on the Liverpool keeper’s position again.
If he looked up around the time that the ball bounced, he would have seen Mignolet 16 yards from goal. Why the Belgian took so long to retreat to his line, only he will know.
Of course, the execution was sublime. But given the time, space and opportunity that Vardy was presented with by Mignolet, Lovren and the bounce of the ball, this was no goal of the season. Indeed, some believe it was not even goal of the night.
Is it "contrary" to prefer Martial's goal to Vardy's… because pretty sure I do? Love Mata's touches.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) February 3, 2016
Given the incredible story of Leicester’s season and Vardy’s rise to fame, his volley is the strike most likely to be put forward for the seasonal award, unless February has another stunner in store.
But there have already been at least three strikes better than Vardy’s so far this term…
Carles Gil for Aston Villa at Sunderland – January 2
Villa’s season has been so dire that Gil’s volley in a 3-1 defeat to one of their biggest relegation rivals remains one of the highlights of their campaign.
Adama Traore’s brilliant burst down the Villa right was described in the Birmingham Mail as “like Usain Bolt at an old folk’s sports day” but the winger’s delivery to the far post left Gill with plenty still to do.
Still, the Spaniard managed to arc his run to reach the ball, hook it back over his shoulder and guide it into the far corner, giving Costel Pantilimon no chance.
— Adam Bath (@adambath25) January 2, 2016
Matt Ritchie for Bournemouth against Sunderland – September 19
Sunderland were the fall guys again as Ritchie gave Lineker another strike to enjoy…
Matt Ritchie has just scored a genuine goal of the season contender for Bournemouth. Stunning chest and volley!
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 19, 2015
Yann M’Vila cleared Carlie Daniels’ corner as far as the edge of the ‘D’, whereabouts Ritchie had retreated to recover the loose ball. With expert technique, the Scot then cushioned it on to his left foot before launching a missile of a volley into the top corner.
Dele Alli for Tottenham at Crystal Palace – January 23
What a Beautiful goal from Dele Alli ! A piece of Art ! 😎
— Glenn Hoddle (@GlennHoddle) January 23, 2016
A “stunningly brilliant” goal, according to Lineker, is the one most fancy to rival Vardy’s strike come the goal of the season vote at the end fo the season. Taking the ball off Christian Eriksen, Alli kept the ball in the air with a cushioned first touch, tempting Mile Jedinak to charge at him on the edge of the box. The Palace midfielder took the bait and threw his bonce towards the ball, but not before Alli had flicked it over both of their heads. The Tottenham star then swiveled and precisely volleyed the dropping ball into the bottom corner.
Where do you rate Vardy’s goal among the season’s best so far? Philippe Coutinho, Christian Benteke and Xherdan Shaqiri have also scored stunners, but which was best?