Manchester United have scored 109 goals, more than any other team in England, in the 2012/13 season so far, and some of them have simply been magnificent.
Picking out the best of them all can be a hugely strenuous task, but let’s have a look at ten of the best ones:
1) Robin Van Persie v Fulham, August 2012
Manchester United were playing their first home game of the season on the back of a first day defeat away at Everton, and were already a goal down against Fulham. They surely needed some sort of inspiration.
Inevitably, it came from the left boot of van Persie. Patrice Evra whipped in a cross from the left, which skidded on a wet surface and reached Van Persie on a bounce. United’s marquee summer signing took little time in adjusting his body and hitting a first time volley to score his first goal for Manchester United.
2) Nick Powell v Wigan, September 2012
Nick Powell, exciting young midfielder signed from Crewe Alexandria last year made his mark on his home debut and joined Buttner, Van Persie and Kagawa in capping off his debut with a goal.
He showed brilliant composure in cutting infield, wrong footing the defender and drilling in a 20-yard shot which the keeper was unable to palm away. Certainly a prospect for the future.
3) Rafael v Liverpool, September 2012
Rafael who finally came of age this season, showed his first real signs of gradual and tremendous improvement while scoring a wonderful equaliser at Anfield.
Valencia drilled a ball from the right which Kagawa neatly chested down to Rafael inside the Liverpool penalty area. The Brazilian cut inside on his left foot and curled an unstoppable shot high into the net, which went inside off the post.
4) Robin Van Persie v Cluj, October 2012
United had equalised through a fortunate goal which went in off Van Persie’s shoulder and into the goal after they fell behind in the opening minutes. In the second half, though, there was nothing fortunate about the goal, but sheer class from Van Persie which was quite reminiscent of his extraordinary season.
Rooney and Van Persie combined to produce a moment of real class. The England international floated a lovely ball that dropped over the shoulder of Van Persie, who stuck out a boot and flicked the ball home past the helpless Felgueiras.
5) Tom Cleverley v Newcastle, October 2012
In a tough away fixture at Sports Direct Arena, United had gone two goals up early in the match through a couple of powerful Evra headers. But Evra’s efforts were overshadowed by a brilliant Cleverley goal in the second half, which even David Beckham would have been proud of.
Cleverley picked up a Rooney pass near the left corner flag and didn’t seem to pose any threat on the goal, until he hit a Beckham-esque swirling drive that went past the keeper’s despairing dive and into the top right corner to leave everyone in the ground awestruck. It was a moment of magic by the midfielder, who at that time, was fast making a real impact in the team.
6) Robin Van Persie v West Ham United, January 2013
United were losing 1-2 in the dying stages of the third round tie away at West ham and looked set to bow out of the FA Cup. Van Persie, who started on bench, came late on and provided a touch of brilliance that earned United a replay at Old Trafford.
Ryan Giggs floated in a 40 yard pass into the path of Van Persie, who latched onto the brilliant pass with an exquisite touch inside the area. The Dutchman was ruthless with his finish to claim a dramatic draw and set up a replay at Old Trafford.
7) Rafael v QPR, February 2013
United needed to win away at QPR, who were fighting against relegation with a new-found vigour under their manager Harry Redknapp. Rafael, who had by then, established himself as an important member in the United first team, scored a majestic volley to help United earn crucial three points.
Van Persie hit a shot on target from the byline, which was palmed away by Cesar, but only as far as Rafael, who, while running it at pace towards the goal, took a first time stunning drive that flew past the keeper into the top left corner. Surely, a candidate for one of the overall goals of the season.
8) Shinji Kagawa v Norwich, March 2013
Shinji Kagawa became the first Asian player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. Of his three wonderfully taken goals, one that stood out was his deft touch for the second goal that oozed class and composure in bucketloads.
Carrick played in Rooney, who held off the defender and rolled the ball into the path of oncoming Kagawa. The Japanese could have put his foot through the ball and risked it being blocked off by the defender, but he showed tremendous composure inside the area and just side footed the ball past the helpless keeper and defenders to score his second on the night.
9) Wayne Rooney v Norwich, March 2013
Rooney really looked in ominous form on the day, when he had already set up a couple of goals for Kagawa and then capped off his performance with a wonderfully taken goal in the dying minutes of the game.
With a confident touch on the ball, Rooney moved into shooting distance outside the box, and hit a stunning drive that dipped over the keeper and under the bar to set the seal on a thumping victory.
10) Robin Van Persie v Aston Villa, April 2013
Robin Van Persie scored his second hat-trick of his Manchester United career in a match where he earned his first Premier League winner’s medal. He looked really in the mood against a resolute Villa side, who were themselves on a good run at that time. His second goal surely deserves a place in the overall goal of the season category.
Rooney, who was playing in a deeper role that day, floated in a 30 yard cross field pass to Van Persie, who had drifted away from his marker. The Dutchman backed his instinct, and with an audacious first time volley, sent the ball crashing into the back of the net, as the keeper could only stand and watch the ball fly past him in a flash.
Take your pick for the United’s goal of the season.Published 15 May 2013, 13:00 IST