The nature of golazos at the highest level of soccer has changed in recent years. Metrics like Expected Goals have engendered a widespread awareness that, with very few exceptions, long-range shots aren’t efficient shots. They’re therefore not smart decisions, and have been phased out of the game. “Goals of the year” compilations from 10 years ago make for much more enjoyable viewing than they do today.
But that doesn’t mean the long-range wondergoal has gone extinct. Tottenham and West Ham provided a timely and thrilling reminder of that on Thursday, the final night of the Premier League’s absurdly busy holiday program.
Not to be outdone, though, Heung-Min Son scored a cracker of his own from 30 yards out at the other end:
After the match, though, Son admitted that his goal was the lesser of the two. “Obiang’s goal was better – the strike was unbelievable,” he said. “We have the best goalkeeper in the world and he can’t do nothing. It was a great strike.”
West Ham not only produced a goal of the season candidate. Left back Arthur Masuaku might have produced the skill of the season, too:
The game ended 1-1, an unsatisfactory draw for Tottenham, which could have leapt to within one point of the top-four with a win. The hosts had 31 shots to West Ham’s three. The game was alarmingly one-sided. The shot map, courtesy of WhoScored.com, tells the story:
Spurs had over a dozen attempts in and around the penalty area. West Ham had a couple. Ultimately, the two longest shots were the only ones that found the back of the net:
xG map for Spurs – West Ham. So that happened. pic.twitter.com/zMp7nIbu4k
— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) January 4, 2018
Thursday’s game was weird. It won’t be replicated any time soon. And thanks to the goals, it was memorable – especially for the Hammers.
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