When Mason Greenwood fired in a rocket against Aston Villa this week, there was a question on the tip of our tongues. But it wasn’t ‘will Manchester United be title challengers next season?’ nor was it ‘is Mason Greenwood the best teenager we’ve seen in a decade?’ (‘no’ and ‘probably’ if you were wondering).
No, we’re all football hipsters at 90min, so the question was ‘who has the most aesthetically pleasing shooting technique in the league at present?’
And since you’re dying to know the answer, here’s our top ten.
We haven’t seen Mesut Ozil at his best for as long as any of us can remember, but technically speaking, he’s still a Premier League player. And, crucially, he’s a Premier League player with a truly unique, signature style of finish.
Over the years the Arsenal star has patented the ‘chop shot’ or ‘bounce shot’ where he drives his instep into the top of the ball, creating a strange, unpredictable dink that has bamboozled keepers since day one.
See here for a few examples, and an explanation from the man himself on how he does it.
Sigurdsson doesn’t score as many these days, but whenever he does, they tend to be worth a look.
With Swansea, the Iceland international made a name for himself with his signature blend of finesse and power, becoming an expert at finding the top corner.
His goal against Leicester for Everton last season, spinning James Maddison then dipping one right into Kasper Schmeichel’s top right hand corner, is one of the best finishes the Premier League has seen in recent years.
Passing the ball into the back of the net is something of a cliche, but it’s one Ruben Neves seems to have taken to heart.
The Portuguese midfielder has 6 Premier League goals to his name, almost all of which have come from outside the box, where he has perfected the art of using his instep to force the ball past the keeper – usually from an obscene distance.
Kane’s flawless penalty technique would be enough to earn him a place on its own, but it doesn’t need to – because it’s not quite impressive as when he laces the ball past the keeper in open play.
The England captain’s power and precision is never epitomised more than when he lines up a strike and releases a pristine finish to devastating effect.
When Trossard ripped the net off its’ frame against Liverpool, what had previously been a quietly impressive, under-the-radar debut season came to the forefront.
The technique he showed with an exquisite, unstoppable half-volley – not quite in the corner but with enough power on it that it would have gone through Alisson even if he was right behind it – was not unlike his debut goal against West Ham.
Brighton are onto something here.
Maddison’s picture-perfect technique was on show as far back as 2016, when he banged in long-range winner against Rangers to secure a famous win for Aberdeen.
As his obscene finish against Newcastle earlier this season shows, he doesn’t need a dead-ball situation to hammer it in either.
Other than perhaps Philippe Coutinho, there hasn’t been a player in the Premier League capable of striking the ball from 25 yards in a central position, and landing it straight in the top corner.
Getting enough spin and direction on the ball to score from the same position Ward-Prowse did against Tottenham takes some doing, but he has a unique knack for it.
When Fabinho thundered one in against Manchester City earlier in the season – putting Liverpool’s title challenge well and truly on the rails – it was our first real hint of his ability to hammer them in from range.
When he did it again against Crystal Palace post-lockdown, he proved it was no one off. The guy knows how to hit a ball.
His signature style – low, powerful, and complete with a satisfying clink upon hitting the net – might well be a fixture at Anfield in the years to come.
There’s something about Greenwood’s chosen brand of finish that is particularly nice to watch. While many in his position – a teenager breaking onto the scene at one of the biggest clubs in the world – might opt to do things with a bit more nuance and subtlety, Greenwood gets his head down and hammers it – to devastating effect.
When he’s involved, there’s rarely any passing into the back of the net. His strike against Villa, absurdly powerful and rising all the way, was perhaps the best of his 18 this season, but it looks as if there will be plenty more to come.
You’d be hard pushed to find a player in the world (other than those two) who strikes a ball cleaner than Kevin De Bruyne.
His goalscoring is only one facet of his game, which is absurd considering he’s hitting one every three games in the league, but there is no more pleasing sight than when he lashes the ball into the back of the net with his trademark ruthless finish.