London (AFP) – Following the conclusion of the 2016-17 season on Sunday, AFP Sport selects the five best goals of the Premier League campaign:
Dimitri Payet (West Ham United 1-1 Middlesbrough)
Payet became a pariah at West Ham after forcing through a move to his former club Marseille in January, but he left the club’s fans with one last shimmering memory of his talent.
With West Ham trailing 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough in October, Payet picked the ball up wide on the left and span around Antonio Barragan.
He drove into the box, cut inside Marten de Roon, threw Calum Chambers with a step-over and forged past Ben Gibson and the sliding George Friend before easing a shot into the bottom-left corner.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United 3-0 Sunderland)
Mkhitaryan made a slow start to his United career, but he was well on his way to becoming a fan favourite by the time he scored with a dazzlingly innovative volley against Sunderland in December.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cross from the right arrived just behind the Armenian as he moved towards the near post.
But he adjusted brilliantly, throwing himself to the ground and using his right heel to ping the ball inside the far post.
To the chagrin of United’s rivals, the goal was allowed to stand despite a clear offside.
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal 2-0 Crystal Palace)
You wait ages for a bus and then two come along at once.
Just six days after Mkhitaryan’s ‘scorpion kick’ at Old Trafford, Giroud scored one of his own against Palace at the Emirates Stadium.
This time, the build-up was even better.
Giroud was involved early on, cleverly back-heeling Hector Bellerin’s pass into the path of Granit Xhaka, who helped it on to Alex Iwobi.
Iwobi played it down the left flank to Alexis Sanchez, who cut inside and crossed.
Giroud had got ahead of the ball, but he jutted out his left heel and hooked a volley over his own head, over the despairing dive of Wayne Hennessey and into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
“Oh my gosh,” said Gary Neville on Sky Sports’ commentary. “What is that?!”
Andy Carroll (West Ham United 2-0 Crystal Palace)
Maligned by home and away fans alike, West Ham’s London Stadium nonetheless provided the scene for two of the season’s outstanding goals.
Palace number one Hennessey was again the hapless goalkeeper as Carroll netted a textbook scissors kick in a 2-0 win in mid-January.
Michail Antonio picked him out with a cross from the left and the giant striker launched himself into a sublime mid-air bicycle kick that sent the ball crashing into the top-right corner.
Emre Can (Watford 0-1 Liverpool)
A forgettable early May encounter at Vicarage Road was illuminated by a jaw-dropping piece of athleticism from Liverpool’s German midfielder Can.
Lucas Leiva flighted a pass into the box from deep and with Nordin Amrabat standing off, Can produced a magnificent scissors kick from 15 yards out that catapulted the ball past Heurelho Gomes.
Can described it as “the best goal I’ve ever scored”.
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