Own Goal of the season – the Richard Dunne trophy

Stats c/o premierleague.com

Inspired by the prospect of the 1,000th Premier League own goal being imminent towards the end of last season I wrote several pieces on football’s brand of self-inflicted wounds. Starting with this one in February https://bit.ly/3dNMEo4, followed by Part two in March https://bit.ly/3cr5Rem and culminating with the finale in April https://bit.ly/3uWihkQ

Hats off to Sergio Reguilon for delivering the perfect coup de grâce on 19 May 2021 when his glorious slice flew past Hugo Lloris to reach that notable landmark of 1,000. By coincidence the next own goal came courtesy of Kasper Schmeichel against Tottenham on the final day of last season and this was a sign of things to come.

This season has seen an odd imbalance in terms of which club has benefited most from their opponents’ generosity. Out of the twenty-eight own goals this season, six have been gifted to Spurs, which puts OGs behind only Son Heung-Min and Harry Kane in the club’s Premier League scoring charts for 2021/22. Putting this into perspective there is some distance to the next highest scorer, with half a dozen players having notched just two. If you add Schmeichel’s from last season it means that nearly a quarter of the last 29 own goals have been gifted to Spurs.  

On the other side of the divide are Everton, whose season has been at the very least underwhelming, not helped by the fact that they have conceded the most own goals of any Premier League club with four to their name. Two of those are down to Michael Keane who seems to have perfected the art of the near post finish at the wrong end. Indeed the majority of own goals this season have come at the near post with a dozen altogether, and usually as a result of a desperate lunge to cut out a cross that only succeeds in flying into the net.

To exacerbate the misery Everton’s first own goal this season was scored by Lucas Digne against Aston Villa before the French full back moved to none other than Villa, having fallen out with Rafa Benitez. This is not new territory for the Toffees as in the thirtieth season of the Premier League they also hold the all-time record with 57 own goals, with the next closest, none other than Villa on 48. Everton must be casting envious glances at Arsenal, Brighton and Manchester City who are yet to concede an own goal this season.

Having delved into their often painful history I decided it was high time that there was proper recognition of the own goal and am hereby launching the OG of the season. An award that will be known as the Richard Dunne trophy, in honour of the arch exponent, who naturally began his career at Everton. With 28 to choose from so far I have selected a handful that are worth considering but there are bound to be a few other mishaps to follow so I will be keeping a close eye on the remaining matches. Here are the nominations thus far:- 

  1. Tim Krul, Manchester City v Norwich 21/08/21

Norwich could probably have seen the writing on the wall as this calamitous goal came in the second week of what has proved to be another arduous top-flight season. It arrived in the 7th minute away to the champions, as if City needed any help. What makes this stand out is the double deflection as the ball cannoned off skipper Grant Hanley’s knee before ricocheting off the chest of the Canaries’ keeper.  

2.  Eric Dier, Newcastle v Tottenham 17/10/21

Just to prove that Tottenham can concede them as well, this one came courtesy of Dier being caught not so much in two minds but possibly three or four as he tried to work out what to do with a cross. Any indecision can prove lethal and this one led to Dier’s stooping header actually bouncing off his knee before looping apologetically into the goal. 

3. Reece James, Aston Villa v Chelsea  26/12/21

This was another header but of a rather different complexion as James was intentionally getting his head in the way of a Matt Targett cross. This was more of a glancing effort as the ball skimmed off his head and flew in a rapid arc over Edouard Mendy. It was more a result of misfortune but still pretty spectacular.

4.= Jamaal Lascelles and Mason Holgate, Newcastle v Everton  8/02/22

It is quite unusual to have a joint position but these two are twinned in more ways than one. Firstly they are both similar in style as they came following what looks like an initial escape for the defending side. For Lascelles’ effort Holgate’s shot is cleared off the line by a teammate only for it to hit the Newcastle captain at point blank distance. Within a minute, Lascelles looked to make amends when heading a corner goal-wards. The ball hit the bar but Holgate returned the favour as it rebounded off him for Newcastle’s rapid equaliser. 

Please feel free to add to the list via Twitter and keep a lookout over the coming weeks for more candidates for the inaugural Richard Dunne trophy. 

Published by richardfoster60

Author, broadcaster, historian, journalist. A regular contributor to the Guardian, Sky Sports and talkSPORT, my latest book is highly acclaimed Premier League Nuggets - "brilliantly written" - Darren Fletcher, "I love Premier League Nuggets" - Guy Mowbray, "the book is a labour of love" - Peter Drury.

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