Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge currently lead the Premier League scorers with four goals to their name each but who has scored the better goals so far?
22-year-old Belgian Benteke has scored five goals over six appearances in all competitions for Villa so far this term – four in the league and one in the League Cup. He scored a brace against Arsenal at the Emirates on the opening day of the season, one against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and one against Newcastle at Villa Park.
Benteke’s first of two of the season came in the form of penalties against Arsenal. The first was a poor penalty but he kept his focus and redeemed himself with a header from the rebound after Wojceich Szczesny saved the spot kick.
The second penalty was a much better one – well-taken, he slotted it firmly into the bottom left-hand corner of the net, leaving the keeper no chance.
The Belgian’s first goal from open play this term came against Chelsea and, in my estimation was his best finish so far – he held his run intelligently for the cross from the left flank to be cut back perfectly into his feet, took one touch to control, and with his second touch he fired the strike between no less than three Blues defenders and the goalkeeper from just inside the penalty area – a fine strike from a frontman in top form and confidence.
His last league goal came against Newcastle from a corner but it was a marvelous header and again very intelligent position and composure – he held his run from deep at the back post to come centrally where out-jumps about five other players, including the keeper to head it home.
Olivier Giroud’s first league goal of the campaign came in the first six minutes against Villa and Giroud, like Benteke is emerging as one of the most astute and intelligent poachers in the league with clever movement and positioning. He held his run into the six-yard box when he saw the cross coming from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain near the byline on the left, checked where the keeper was and slotted it into the bottom right-hand corner effortlessly.
The Frenchman’s goal against Fulham was much more of a scrappy one – he made the best of a deflected Aaron Ramsey shot that actually hit Giroud and bobbled awkwardly in front of but he controlled it well, stayed on-side and clipped it past the keeper. Not the prettiest of finishes but a goal that demonstrated the confidence and form he’s in.
Undoubtedly Giroud’s best league goal of the campaign so far came in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham in the North London derby – the 26-year-old striker timed his run to perfection for the cross to come in from Theo Walcott and he slotted it just inside the front post, past Hugo Lloris with the outside of his boot – another well-taken poacher’s goal in a big game under pressure.
For his last league goal, against Sunderland, all the plaudits went to Mesut Ozil for the assist – a perfectly-weighted pass that sat up in front of him like a gift – but he had to finish it and that he did, striking low again into the left-hand corner, leaving the keeper no chance.
Daniel Sturridge is another frontman in outstanding form and flying high for Liverpool this season. His first goal against Stoke set the tone for his season – an amazing driving curling shot from 20 yards out that went between the defender’s legs and swerved into the bottom right-hand corner past Asmir Begovic. An absolute stunner.
I’m torn between that one and his second goal of the season as my favourite of the bunch but I think I’ll pick the second for it’s audacity – he receives the ball awkwardly behind him and it bobbles up but he gets it under control just enough to guide it past one defender, then around the out-rushing goalkeeper and then off-balance as he’s falling backwards, he manages to scoop the ball into the roof of the net over the heads of the two defenders standing on the goal line. Fantastic individual goal.
His goal against Manchester United in their 1-0 win at Anfield was crucial more than it was pretty – credit really goes to Daniel Agger for the initial header from the corner but Sturridge deflects it leaving David De Gea no chance – it wasn’t pretty but it was a crucial, ultimately decisive and opportunistic goal that earned his side three points.
The Englishman’s last league goal against Swansea was another opportunistic goal – a loose ball gifted to his by former teammate Jonjo Shelvey but he managed to keep his focus and capitalize on Shelvey’s mistake with a well-taken finish.
Overall, having reviewed all of their four goals each, I definitely have to say Daniel Sturridge has scored the best goals with the best finishes – both Giroud and Benteke have popped up at pivotal moments in the right place at the right time which is what all the best strikers do but Sturridge has shown his capability to that and so much more so far – especially his first two goals were world class.
image: © kuaver