The only good thing about the current international break is that it gives all true football fans (and not just Arsenal fans) the time to fully appreciate the marvellous intricacy and beauty of Aaron Ramsey’s sublime goal against Fulham last weekend. There is nothing like a team goal, one in which at least half the members of a team are involved and that ideally goes the entire length of the pitch (as Ramsey’s did). But where exactly does Ramsey’s goal rank among the greatest team goals ever scored?
The Five Greatest Team Goals Ever Scored
5. David Silva For Manchester City Against Arsenal (Premier League, 2nd March 2018)
Arsenal had a truly great team goal scored against them last season when David Silva struck Manchester City’s second goal in the Premier League match between the sides at The Emirates. Perhaps it was because the game was City’s second evisceration of Arsenal in just five days (having previously defeated them easily in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley) that Silva’s goal was not as universally celebrated as it should have been. There can be no other explanation for its relative lack of fame, because it was a truly fantastic team goal and perhaps the finest that any Pep Guardiola team (yep, including even his great Barcelona side) has ever scored.
Silva was involved throughout, as he first accepted the ball from defence near the halfway line, before setting Leroy Sané dancing down the left wing. Sané turned back inside to pass to Sergio Aguero, who in turn immediately and instinctively laid the ball off for Silva to shoot. And the finish itself was superb. A lesser player than Silva would have lost control as he slightly lost his footing while shooting; Silva, being Silva, retained control and lashed the ball high into the Arsenal net.
See for yourself:
4. Mick Channon For Southampton Against Liverpool (First Division, 23rd April 1982)
The Southampton side of the early 1980s is a reminder of a long-distant time in English football when the game was not completely dominated, as it is today, by teams from the country’s biggest cities. Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest twice won the European Cup (in 1979 and 1980) and Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town won both the FA Cup (in 1978) and the UEFA Cup (in 1981). Sadly, the Southampton team of Keegan, Channon and Armstrong did not win any silverware, so perhaps their finest single moment was the incredible team goal they scored against Liverpool near the end of the 1981/82 season.
Like the very best team goals, it began at the back, with defender Nick Holmes swiftly exchanging passes with midfielder David Armstrong, before the ball was played up the wing to Kevin Keegan. What followed was a combination of swift passes, flicks and head tennis that bewildered even the great Liverpool defence of the time, as the ball was rapidly played into the box before Channon finished with characteristic coolness.
See for yourself:
3. Aaron Ramsey For Arsenal Against Fulham (Premier League, 7th October 2018)
Ramsey’s goal against Fulham is the very definition of an instant classic; although it was scored less than a week ago, it still fully merits its place in the top three of the greatest team goals ever scored. Quibblers and cavillers may point out that it was ‘only’ scored against a Fulham team that are languishing at the bottom of the Premier League, but until Ramsey scored Arsenal’s third goal Fulham were still very much in the match. Indeed, the move for the goal began with a Fulham attack breaking down just outside the Arsenal box.
Hector Bellerin played the ball out of defence to Aaron Ramsey, who played a one-two with Alexandre Lacazette before deftly chipping the ball over an onrushing Fulham player. He then flicked the ball forward to the advancing Bellerin, who back-heeled it back to him. Ramsey headed the ball on to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who slid it out to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the right wing. Aubameyang crossed the ball in for Ramsey to finish with perhaps the finest ever finish to a great team goal, as he too back-heeled it expertly into the goal, off the far post. And somewhere a watching Arsene Wenger would surely have raised a glass of wine in rueful celebration.
See for yourself (if you haven’t already):
2. Esteban Cambiasso For Argentina Against Serbia (World Cup 2006)
The two greatest team goals ever scored were scored by international teams, which make them all the more impressive; club sides often work together for years before producing great team goals, whereas most international teams are ultimately put together in just a few months. The top two also differ from the other goals on this list as they are the result of an initially slow build-up before the final dagger-thrust is devastatingly applied, whereas the club goals are all the result of flat-out fast breaks from defence.
Esteban Cambiasso’s goal for Argentina against Serbia at the 2006 World Cup in Germany was the culmination of a move made up of 26 passes that involved almost every outfield player in the Argentina team. The ball was deftly, expertly played around, with each player taking a maximum of two or three touches, before Javier Saviola suddenly, dramatically upped the pace to play in Cambiasso as he broke into the box. Cambiasso played a wonderful one-two with Hernan Crespo (Crespo back-heeling the ball back to him) and then just reached the ball before the onrushing Serbian defenders to fire it high into the net. And extraordinarily, all of this footballing art (there is no other phrase to use) was achieved with the ultimate footballing artist, Lionel Messi, watching from the bench, as he was then only 18.
See for yourself:
1. Carlos Alberto For Brazil Against Italy (World Cup Final 1970)
Of course the merits of any goal, even a great team goal, can always be argued and counter-argued about, and fans of all teams will immediately nominate other goals (especially those scored by their own club) and demand that they should be included. However, there is no debate at all about the greatest team goal ever scored, because it was scored by the greatest team ever on the greatest stage of all; the World Cup Final.
Carlos Alberto’s fourth goal for Brazil in that epoch-defining, colour TV-introducing final surely needs no description. Just the mention of the players involved – Tostao, Piazza, Gerson, Jairzinho, Pele and finally Carlos Alberto himself – is enough to bring it to the mind’s eye of most football fans. Italy were virtually out on their feet by that point of the game, but nevertheless, they looked like statues playing against ballet dancers as Carlos Alberto triumphantly finished off not just the greatest team goal ever scored but the single greatest and most famous sequence of football ever created.
See for yourself (with Alberto’s commentary):