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The Long and the Short of It: Celebrating the Fastest Goals in Premier League History

 

Who’s responsible for the fastest headed goal in Premier League history? What about the earliest left-footed strike? The fastest by a non-European? Who on the list has scored more than once in the opening minute of different matches? And which quick strike came from the last line of defence? Here are the fastest goals scored in the competition with the facts on what makes each unique.

By: Arash Rezai

One year ago today, Shane Long broke a record that had stood for nearly 19 years – the fastest Premier League goal in history. Just 7.69 seconds into the Tuesday evening Premier League clash between Watford and Southampton at Vicarage Road, the Irish international striker had the Saints 1-0 up. From kick-off, Long charged down Craig Cathcart’s long ball forward, snatching the loose ball and dinking the on-rushing Ben Foster.

Until recently, all goal times were rounded up to the nearest second, so there wasn’t a definitive list of the fastest goals in Premier League history. This changed in 2018. As the Premier League’s official data supplier, Stats Perform used archive footage and video technology to measure the quickest strikes in the competition’s history to the nearest hundredth of a second.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Shane Long’s historic goal, here are some facts and statistics around the top 10 fastest goals in Premier League history:

  1. Shane Long v. Watford (7.69 seconds) | Watford v Southampton, 23/04/2019, Vicarage Road

Shane Long’s goal against Watford came in a hot streak for the Southampton striker. It was the first time he had scored in successive Premier League starts since May 2016. In fact, Long also scored in his next start for the Saints – the first time he has ever scored in three consecutive Premier League starts.

  1. Ledley King v Bradford City (9.82 seconds) | Bradford City v Tottenham Hotspur, 09/12/2000, Valley Parade

A centre-back by trade, Tottenham Hotspur legend and former captain Ledley King was never known as a goal scorer. King scored just 10 goals in 268 Premier League appearances with six of these goals coming via headers. King’s strike after 9.82 seconds against Bradford City was his first ever goal in the competition, coming in just his eighth top-flight appearance. Only two of his 10 Premier League goals were scored north of London (his first against Bradford in December 2000 and his last against Manchester United in April 2010).

  1. Alan Shearer v Manchester City (10.52 seconds) | Newcastle United v Manchester City, 18/01/2003, St James’ Park

It is no surprise that one of the 260 goals scored by the all-time leading Premier League scorer makes the list. Alan Shearer’s goal after 10.52 seconds is still the fastest ever for a home side and the quickest left-footed strike in the competition’s history. Remarkably, this goal was Shearer’s first in the opening minute of a Premier League game, and his 218th in the competition. The Geordie only failed to notch in the 39th minute and 47th minute across all Premier League matches.

  1. Christian Eriksen v Manchester United (10.54 seconds) | Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United, 31/01/2018, Wembley Stadium

After Shane Long’s record-breaking strike, Christian Eriksen has dropped from the podium places into fourth. However, even though the Danish schemer’s strike isn’t the fastest in Premier League history, at 10.54 seconds it is still the fastest ever at the new Wembley. Tottenham have a long history of scoring goals in the opening minute, and only Chelsea (12) have scored more goals in the first 60 seconds of a Premier League match than Spurs (9).

  1. Mark Viduka v Charlton Athletic (11.90 seconds) | Charlton Athletic v Leeds United, 17/03/2001, The Valley

Mark Viduka’s goal after 11.90 seconds against Charlton is the fastest by any non-European in Premier League history. Interestingly, Leeds United have scored five goals in the opening minute of Premier League games but none of them have come at Elland Road.

  1. Dwight Yorke v Coventry City (12.16 seconds) | Coventry City v Aston Villa, 30/09/1995, Highfield Road

Dwight Yorke’s effort versus Coventry City is the fastest headed goal scored in Premier League history, coming in at 12.16 seconds. Yorke is used to being in the Premier League record books – in November 2000, the Trinidad & Tobago international became the first non-Englishman to score 100 goals in the competition. Yorke also held the record for the fastest hat trick from the start of a game (22 minutes v Arsenal in February 2001) for over 14 years until Sadio Mane broke the record in May 2015 (16 minutes) by scoring three goals in a Premier League record span of 2 minutes, 56 seconds.

  1. Chris Sutton v Everton (12.94 seconds) | Everton v Blackburn Rovers, 01/04/1995, Goodison Park

Only two of Chris Sutton’s first 39 Premier League goals came in the first 10 minutes, while five of his next eight strikes came in this manner, including his goal against Everton after 12.94 seconds. Everton are familiar to being 1-0 down in the opening minute of Premier League games. The Toffees have conceded 10 goals in the first minute of Premier League action – the most of any side in the competition’s history.

  1. Kevin Nolan v Blackburn Rovers (13.48 seconds) | Blackburn Rovers v Bolton Wanderers, 10/01/2004, Ewood Park

Kevin Nolan’s goal after 13.48 seconds against Blackburn Rovers was one of five Bolton scored in the opening minute of a Premier League game, while three of those strikes were assisted by Kevin Davies. This effort was one of two Nolan scored in the first minute, also scoring after 51 seconds for West Ham against Fulham in September 2012. Only 10 other players have scored two or more in the opening minute in Premier League history, and Matt Le Tissier is the only other midfielder to do so.

  1. James Beattie v Chelsea (13.52 seconds) | Chelsea v Southampton, 28/08/2004, Stamford Bridge

James Beattie’s goal after 13.52 seconds against Chelsea is Southampton’s second entry in the top 10 and their fourth in the top 25 of the Premier League’s fastest ever goals – (see also, Jay Rodriguez v Chelsea in December 2013 (13.68 secs) and Matt Le Tissier v Liverpool in February 1994 (26.20 secs). Beattie went from ecstasy to agony in this contest, scoring an own goal 33 minutes later – one of 49 instances of a player scoring a goal and an own goal in a Premier League match.

  1. Asmir Begovic v Southampton (13.64 seconds) | Stoke City v Southampton, 02/11/2013, Britannia Stadium

Asmir Begovic became the fifth and most recent goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal after this freak effort. Not only is it the 10th fastest goal in Premier League history but it is the furthest goal scored since 2003/04 when Stats Perform started recording such data (95.66 yards). Begovic’s goal against Southampton dethroned Tim Howard’s 92.2 yard effort for Everton against Bolton Wanderers in 2012, which had previously held the record for the furthest goal scored in Premier League history.