The Golden Games: The 50 greatest singles performances in the Premier League

The Golden Games: The 50 greatest singles performances in the Premier League

In the exciting moments following the final whistle in the Premier League, the player entered a makeshift interview, told that he had been chosen as the Man of the Match and invited to make big and sweeping conclusions about the game and its importance.

After a particularly impressive solo performance, the player may be asked: “Where is this mattress?” – and her default answer is “Yes, no, it’s right there.”

‘There is a safe response’ because, really, how can a player be expected to do a self-analysis soon?

Players know when they play well or play poorly, but over the course of more than 90 minutes of physical effort and intense focus, in and out of possession, alternating on instinct and making split-second decisions under pressure, it is somewhat unlikely to consider their performance in any broader context.

The question will always be asked, because when watching sports we like to define what cannot be measured. It’s not enough to say you saw a great performance. There is always a temptation to question and debate the position it occupies.

All this brings us to the Golden Games, a series in which the athlete Writers will pay tribute to what we consider the 50 greatest singles shows of the Premier League era. (And before anyone says it, yes, we know football was around long before 1992, but since this summer marks the 30th anniversary of this rebranding exercise, it feels like an opportune moment.)

So… 30 seasons. Would you like to guess how many individual offers you add up to? Well, let’s talk you through it.

From the historic opening weekend in August 1992 – when all but 13 of the 242 starters were from the British Isles and when all the hype about a “whole new ball game” seemed terribly misplaced – to that dramatic Sunday afternoon last month , there were 11,646 matches. Every match had 22 players in the starting lineup, so… yeah, 256,212. On top of that there were 53,737 runs out as a replacement, and that makes…

Yes that’s right. Well done all of you who knew 309,949 appearances were made in the Premier League with a total of 4,488 players.

Gareth Barry made no less than 653 appearances, spanning over 20 years, with Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Bromwich Albion. This may seem like a lot until you realize that it is only 0.21 percent of the total. You could throw Ryan Giggs (632 appearances), Frank Lampard (609), James Milner (588) and David James (572) into the mix and you’d still be just under one percent of total impressions.


Will any of Gareth Barry’s 653 matches make the final list? (Getty Images)

and here in the athlete We are looking forward to celebrating the 50 best companies. This is not the highest 1 percent. That’s not even 0.1 per cent higher. It is the highest of 0.01613168618063 percent. It’s like asking you to name the 50 best days of your life…if you’ve lived to the age of 849.

But without wanting to let go of plenty of spoilers, Ali Zia’s solitary appearance, that infamous Southampton appearance against Leeds United in November 1996, didn’t make it into the top 50. Nor was Peter Enkelman’s nightmare for Aston Villa against Birmingham City in September 2002 or John Walters’ tough in-office appearance (two own goals and one penalty miss) for Stoke City against Chelsea in January 2013. Look? We’re three down already. We’ll be down to 50 in no time.

I’ll let you in on something. We didn’t actually take all 11,646 matches into account. We spent weeks discussing – and not just amongst ourselves – which performances over the course of the Premier League were so memorable in our collective memory.

It’s not just about the big names and the best players. We did it for the Premier League Series 60 a couple of years ago – and some of the arguments are just starting to cool.

Nearly half of the players who made that list appear on this list as well, but there are some notable absentees, along with a few others who are best remembered for one exceptional performance – the “Where’s That Rank?” He may already have come up with a straight answer.

Of course our subjective selections have been doing player ratings for decades, and more recently there have been many more sophisticated attempts to use data to measure individual performance, but, is it? whoscored.com Or the Sky Sports Power rankings (in which Kevin De Bruyne and Son Heung-min respectively were the top performers in the Premier League this season), there is no foolproof system.

Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, was just under the perfect ten (9.7) when he scored a hat-trick for Manchester United against Norwich City in April, but was that really one of the best performances in the Premier League? Or it was, say, his away display against Tottenham last October (one goal, one pass, just 8.5 on whoscored.com Scale) more impressive?

So this exercise wasn’t driven by data – not least because data from the first two decades of the Premier League was disappointingly so scarce. Instead, we tapped into our own memory banks, rummaged through archives, debated endlessly, and strove for broader experience to build a very long list of shows that were eventually narrowed down to 50.

In addition to rhythm reporters at the clubs we cover full time, we sought the expertise of fans and writers from clubs such as Barnsley, Blackpool, Bradford City, Oldham Athletic, Reading, Swindon Town and Wigan Athletic. If we couldn’t find a place for, say, goalkeeper champs for Matt Clark or a trio of Jan Ag Fjortoft or Aruna Dendan, we wanted to make sure we gave them at least every consideration.

fjortoft


Fjoortoft’s performance was among the hundreds (and hundreds (and hundreds)) considered (Getty Images)

We only had one basic rule. No player can appear more than once. So, if a brilliant Belgian midfielder for a club in the North West is already on our list for an amazing performance from 2017 and then puts on another player in the final weeks of this season, it would be up to the selection. between these two screens. This player may end up appearing once (spoiler alert) but neither he nor anyone else will do it twice.

Instead, we’ve put together a list that we feel reflects great, good performance, and most importantly, some performances that have proven exceptional in more ways than one.

We inevitably found more room for goal-scoring achievement and creative genius – and goalkeeper – than for excellence in other areas. (seriously, You are Try to convince your colleagues of the merits of Billy Kenny’s performance in the first Merseyside derby of the Premier League era when it’s been nearly 30 years since you watched him in the mists of a drunken teen and when, deep down, try as hard as you can, all you can really remember a few steps to the grind.)

But we insisted on a variety, so it is not Just Triple calling case after another. We’ve also taken care to ensure reasonable spread. Some seasons don’t appear at all, but the early years of the Premier League do feature quite prominently; In fact, at the time of writing (because you can never rule out a last minute change with these things), I’m happy to tell you that there is no season marked more frequently than 1993-94.

Some of you may be annoyed or perplexed that a particular performance or player – or even a particular club – is not showing up.

Please do not be. It is not intended to be a definitive list. It’s a bit fun, and it’s designed to give our readers something more to enjoy during the gap between one Premier League season and another. (You mean to give our writers something to write about over the summer? How dare you. There’s always so much going on. This is just another show.)

As with the 60th Premier League series, we hope you enjoy the content rather than worrying unnecessarily about the rankings or any perceived insults to your favorite player or club.

It is inevitable that some clubs offer more than others (and others not at all), but there is a huge cast of players, a huge cast of characters, and a wide range of stories behind the shows. And sometimes context, circumstances, and background allow us to see a player’s contribution in a completely different light.

In some cases, where the facility permits, we will use Wyscout to evaluate and analyze performance in painstaking detail. In other cases we may look at it through the eyes of his opponents.

And where possible, we’ll get some ideas from the players themselves – and perhaps now, decades later in some cases, they’ll be able to remember through the fog of time that the performance in question was really there. The right to the highest 0.01613168618063 per cent.

(Main Graphic – Images: Getty Images / Design: Sam Richardson)


Starting tomorrow Tuesday, June 14, we’ll feature every article in this series here, as well as post it on the app.

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