Wednesday 19 March 2014
There is something quintessentially British about goals with headers.
The first goal in the history of the Barclays Premier League was scored with a header – Brian Deane for Sheffield United against Manchester United on 15 August 1992 – and there is something about forwards flying in with their heads to send the ball rocketing into the roof of the net that stirs crowds in the competition.
However, such goals would appear to be on the wane. This season so far there have been on average fewer than four headed shots per match in the Barclays Premier League, the lowest since data suppliers Opta started compiling such data 11 seasons ago.
The percentage of goals scored by headers (15%) is also heading towards a low in the past 11 seasons, so to celebrate this form of football we are focusing on who have been the most successful headers of the ball in the history of the Barclays Premier League, players and teams.
Alan Shearer leads the way as the player with the most headed goals but Stoke City's Peter Crouch is only four behind the former Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United striker.
Crouch is the only active player in the top 10, although Chelsea captain John Terry and Cardiff City striker Kenwyne Jones are close to muscling their way in.
They may have been the first team to have conceded a headed goal in the Barclays Premier League but Manchester United lead the way in terms of clubs to have scored the most by this means. One of the most famous headed goals was that by United captain Steve Bruce in stoppage time against Sheffield Wednesday that steered United to their first Barclays Premier League title in 1992/93.
One of the most fearsome players to attack the ball with his head was former Everton and Newcastle United forward Duncan Ferguson, who combined aerial and physical domination with the bravery to put his head where some feared placing their boots. 'Big Dunc' leads the way with the most headed goals scored by a player in a Barclays Premier League season.
|1999/2000||Dwight Yorke||Man Utd||8|
|1995/1996||Dwight Yorke||Aston Villa||8|
|2007/2008||Roque Santa Cruz||Blackburn Rovers||8|
One of the teams in the history of the Barclays Premier League most renowned for seeking to exploit their aerial strengths were Wimbledon. The 'Crazy Gang' lead the way as the team to have scored the most headed goals in a season. Of their 55 goals in the league, almost two-fifths, 22, came from headers.
You can vote for the attacking player who was the best all-time header of the ball in our poll on the bottom of the home page. Was the bravery of Duncan Ferguson, who has the record for the most headed goals in a season, better than Alan Shearer's weight of numbers as the all-time leading scorer of headers? Or was Tim Cahill's defying of gravity and his relatively small height more worthy? You decide.
This will be followed by a poll looking at the aerial ability of forwards currently in the Barclays Premier League. Is either Aston Villa's Christian Benteke or Peter Crouch, of Stoke City, the best header because of his height, or is Daniel Sturridge's ability to steal in front of his marker and direct glancing headers into the net more meritable?