I’d forgotten about this. Well…not forgotten exactly, but every time I come across it I have to watch it two or three more times. It’s not one of those goals which gets shown too often, and so that preserves its novelty to a degree – endless replays erode away at our admiration and hence, unlike David Beckham’s halfway line goal, you’re not bored of this one.
That injuries robbed Michael Essien of what should have been his prime is a crying shame, because this was a player who had every attribute that anyone could ever want in a midfielder. Chelsea fans don’t need to be lectured on Essien’s pedigree, so straight to the goal.
If you watched this game live, then you’ll remember exactly where you were when Essien scored this; even Arsenal fans probably remember this with a little admiration. This was a mouth-open, ‘what did he just do’ moment, and it’s a Premier League classic.
Behind ever great goal, there’s a great camera angle – and this is an excellent example of a wonder strike captured in all its glory.
Scoring from this distance against a Premier League goalkeeper of Jens Lehmann’s calibre is difficult enough, but to do so from 35-yards with the outside of the foot is outrageous. If you’ve ever tried to strike a football like this – which, come on, we all have – then you’ll know exactly how difficult it is to get a clean connection and maintain accuracy.
Essien does both, and the ball arcs beautifully into the top corner. It’s an unbelievable hit, and it’s so perfect it’s almost hypnotic.