A definitive* top 10 list of the best volleys in Manchester United history**

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The last one I did on Free Kicks (link below) seemed to go down quite well... and as it's a slow football week for us, and this morning I can't be bothered to do any actual work, I thought I would continue the series by looking at the best Volleys in Manchester United history**

What is a pure volley I don't hear you ask? Well we're talking about a ball that hasn't touched the ground (sorry Tony V), or another part of the body (sorry Alan Smith) before being put into the back of the net... why is this the criteria you don't ask as you scroll down and just start looking at the list? Because I say it is.

Enjoy.

Further Reading:

A definitive* top 10 list of the best free kicks in Manchester United history**

*definitive in my mind, which has basically zero actual weight.
** Since football began in 1992.

10. Eric Cantona vs. Newcastle United

As anyone who makes a list will tell you, the number 10 spot is basically the place you put anything that you want to talk about... and I want to talk about this goal. It's not the greatest volley of all time, hell it's not even the greatest (half) volley that Eric scored, but it was a goal that basically won us the league that year, in a game where we had mainly just got battered by Newcastle and relied on Schmeichel to keep them out. That's what Eric did though... cometh the hour and all that jazz.

There's also something quite lovely about a backpost volley. The idea is simple... wang a ball to the far post and just get someone to put their foot through it to send it the other way and into the far corner... but I don't know, something about it makes me happy. I mean even when Giggs mishits it (or did he), it still looks lovely.



9. Andy Cole vs. Marseille

Wait... isn't this a bicycle kick? Well yeah it is, but by its very nature, it's also a volley... and overhead kicks of different shapes and sizes will feature prominently in this list.This however is a proper bicycle kick in the truest sense... throwing one leg up first before following through with the stronger foot, it's an art form, and it's an art form that Andy Cole executed perfectly here. Cole actually had a bit of a flair for the acrobatics... as Watford and Leicester will attest too, but this one will always stand out as the pick of the bunch for me.



8. Henrik Mkhitarian vs. Sunderland

You know, I've never been the biggest fan of this goal. Maybe its because Mhiki was underwhelming at best during his time at Old Trafford... maybe its because after he did this goal, Giroud went and did a better version of it the next week (and then made a wank celebration) or maybe its because it's definitely offside... but anyway, personal bias aside and looking at it objectively, it's still a pretty remarkable feet of dexterity from the Armenian... sure there's an element of throwing your foot their and hoping for the best, but isn't that what most acrobatic goals are? Just making sure you get your foot on the ball and the rest is just hoping it goes in? I mean you can't tell me Zlatan knew exactly where this was going can you?



7. Juan Mata vs. Liverpool

Continuing with the acrobatics, we have Juanfield.... a glorious day not only for the goals, but also for substitutions and stamps. This is the only scissor kick in the list - and whilst for me there's something about a scissor kick that makes it less impressive then an overhead kick, Juan gets extra points here because a) he's completely off the ground and b) the actual move / assist between him and Di Maria is a thing of beauty. Funny really, whilst Di Maria's stint with us will be seen as a failure, he'll probably always be best remembered for two chips... Anyway, all that aside this really is a great goal, a beautiful finish from Mata who adjusts his body wonderfully and gets as sweet a connection on the ball as you're likely to see.



6. Mark Hughes vs. Liverpool

Even people who didn't watch a lot of Hughes know a few things about the man... 1. He could hit a ball really really hard and 2. He loved a volley... and whilst this might not involve him hitting the ball very hard, it is absolutely a beautiful volley. Not only is the man running onto the ball at an angle away from goal, he also manages to lob the keeper with what happens to be a quite immaculate finish. I was tempted to put his last minute equalizer vs. Oldham in the semi-final of the FA Cup here instead, as I still remember going absolutely banana's watching it as a 7 year old and as a result is one of my favourite goals on a personal level... and whilst its a great volley, it doesn't really beat this in terms of pure aesthetics and sheer difficultly of the strike.



5. Wayne Rooney vs. Newcastle United

A goal that sums up Wayne Rooney. Is he proper angry? Yep. Is he fighting with someone? Yep. Is he scoring a ludicrous goal with the power of a thousand suns? Yep... and then some. You know this might actually be my personal favourite goal on this list... and whilst seeing it live and being sat right behind it probably helps with that, it's just the sound it makes, and the way that Given dives in vain, and the sheer ferocity of the strike that makes it truly wonderful.


Rooney had would later go on to score a pretty great volley against Middlesbrough in this very same season, which some idiot (me) has bizarrely decided to leave out of this list... but with (spoiler alert!) another Rooney goal to come, I think two is enough.

4. Paul Scholes vs. Bradford City

Bradford isn't just the place I went to University, oh no... it's also the originator of the corner routine. Now, I'm sure during the annals of time that other teams/people have put a corner to the edge of the area and someone has smashed it in... and they have definitely done it since, on a variety of occasions.. even against us... but there's a reason why doing so is called "The Scholes Corner" and that's because of this. Maybe its due to the boom of the Premiership, or just football being on TV more, but at the time a goal like this was unheard of. The precision of Beckham's corner and the sweetness of Scholes' strike... its a glorious thing. Thank God Dwight Yorke got out of the way aye?


I have a friend who's a Bradford fan that was there that day. He said everyone stood up and applauded when that went in... because I mean, you would wouldn't you?


3. Wayne Rooney vs. Man City

Did it hit his shin? Who cares.

A classic goal in every sense... probably the greatest overhead kick in the clubs history, and it's a winner against one of our biggest rivals. The height he hits the ball at, the athleticism on display, the sound the ball makes and the fact that it flies into the top corner... and you want to talk about a shin?!


Between this and Berba vs. Liverpool, people like scoring worldies from Nani's shit crosses don't they?


2. Paul Scholes vs. Aston Villa

This top 5 is almost (almost!) a straight shoot-out between Scholes and Rooney... arguably our two greatest scorers of great goals... and in the battle between the two of them Scholes comes out on top. In the world of Volleys there are two types that are notirously hard to hit... one is coming over your shoulder (see below) and the other is when it drops down from the sky with ice on it. Most people struggle to control a football coming from such height... never mind crashing it in off the underside of the bar... but that's Scholesy for you. I'm not sure what the best thing about this goal is... maybe its the fact that it goes in off the bar (always very satisfying), or the fact that Kiraly - him of long pants fame - tried to pretend the ball didn't cross the line, or just the fact that someone smacks Martin Tyler in the balls... whatever way you shake it, its a stunning goal.


If you remember back, this month had seen a slew of ridiculous goals in the premiership... Keith Gillespie of all people hit a rasping volley at the start of the month, only for Matty Taylor and Michael Essien to outdo him... but then along came Scholes with the best of the lot. Seriously, do yourself a favour and watch the Decemeber Goal of the Month... it comes with the added bonus of fat Adrian Chiles.


1. Robin Van Persie vs. Aston Villa

And so making Aston Villa have the honour of being the side that conceded our two greatest ever volleys... in steps Robin Van Persie to seal it with a banger. Seriously, is there a better way to seal a record 20th league title? It's a remarkable goal in every sense... the immaculate pass from Wayne Rooney, the run from RVP and, of course, the finish. The difficultly and technique that goes into a hitting a ball like that... and Van Persie makes it look easy. It basically cemented one of the best individual seasons from a player that you'll likely to see. Everyone knew he was the difference that year, and what better way to show that off then with a goal like this.

We all know Van Persie loved a volley... he but in a couple of special ones for Arsenal... but he obviously saved the best for us.


Sad thing is, VAR would probably rule this out for offside these days.
 
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Siorac

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It annoys me to a thoroughly unreasonable extent that the Andy Cole video title says 1995 when it was clearly from 2000.

Edit: well, from 1999/2000, to be precise.
 

TRUERED89

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Excellent thread, damn tough choices though.

Lets give it a try (I'm going for pure aesthetics of the goal rather than importance of the goals).

1) Rooney vs Man City
2)Scholes vs Aston Villa
3)Rooney vs Newcastle
4) Scholes vs Bradford
5) Mata vs Liverpool
6) RVP vs Aston Villa
7) Cole vs Marseille
8) Cantona vs Newcasle
9) Hughes vs Liverpool
10) Mhiki vs Sunderland (was miles offside)
 

The Cat

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Hughes v Oldham for me still.

I had mates phoning me up before that went in taking the piss.

I went wild and phoned them all back.
 

Offside

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Ole scored a great one v Sturm Graz with his weaker foot. I also remember Ronaldo scoring a brilliant one v Oxford but I think that was pre-season.
 

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I'd go #1 Scholes, #2 Rooney, #3 RvP personally, but they're all so good that it doesn't really matter.
 

Rado_N

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The RvP one was the one that immediately jumped into my mind when I read the thread title but there’s been some absolute classics and it’s tough to chose between them.
 
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The technique on the Scholes volley is just absolutely ridiculous, pure perfection, like a golfer hitting the perfect drive. The freeze frame just after the strike is the perfect follow through, so just calm, chilled, easy.
 

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I love Giggs vs West Ham...I still think he meant it.
Edit: It was Fulham actually. And referenced in the OP too.
 
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KTP_ZA

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I remember Rooney scoring a good one vs Middlesbrough, just remember the ball didn;t touch the ground from a long punt up from the keeper. Someone headed it on and he finished it.
 

mjstokes85

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Surprised none of the Berbatov ones have been mentioned, overhead v Sunderland, the Liverpool overhead, the West Ham scissor kick or the most underrated of the lot, the chip up and spin volley vs Blackburn. Still, nothing beats Scholes or RVP.
 

Annihilate Now!

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Nice to see the love for Hughes and his volley vs. Oldham... Maybe I should have gone with my bias and had it over the Liverpool one.


Found them on YouTube:


Two nice ones... Have to admit I never recalled the Ronaldo one!

Ole vs. Strurm Graz is a worthy contender
 
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EireRed_GS

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Scholes vs Villa away will always stand out to me a bit above the others.

Always remember watching it in a bar in town and the noise of the crowd (Not a Utd crowd, quite a neutral crowd) when it went in.. A gasp of disbelief of what he had just done, followed supporters of all sorts of clubs clapping.. Genius recognised
 

Can7onA

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Soon as I saw the title I thought of Mark Hughes, we've scored some belters over the years though!
 

Siorac

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I remember Rooney scoring a good one vs Middlesbrough, just remember the ball didn;t touch the ground from a long punt up from the keeper. Someone headed it on and he finished it.
It was Saha who flicked it on for him:

 

BR7

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Cantona v Wimbledon away 1994 FA cup

Hughes v Citeh away in league 1988 I think?? We lost 5-1 but that Hughes sideways bicycle kick is only second to wazza’s.

And of course Hughes v Oldham
 

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The technique on the Scholes volley is just absolutely ridiculous, pure perfection, like a golfer hitting the perfect drive. The freeze frame just after the strike is the perfect follow through, so just calm, chilled, easy.
Aye, it's the nonchalance of it! As soon as he starts that swing, he just knows, I'm in the perfect position, eyes on the ball, simple swing of the boot, and thereeeeeeee we go.
 

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RvP and Mata ones felt the sweetest; a goal that sealed our 20th title and Juanfield :drool:
 

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I guess half volley's don't count? Because I'd say Cantona vs Liverpool in the FA Cup final was pretty special and obviously won a trophy (took a bounce first), and his goal against Wimbledon is one of the best I've ever seen. He just took a touch first, but it's still on the volley.

 

harms

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I don't want to include overhead kicks, so here you go. Feels wrong to leave Hughes (and Cantona?) out of the top-3 for this one.

1. van Persie vs Villa
2. Scholes vs Villa
3. Rooney vs Villa Newcastle
 

Passitlikescholes

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It was Mark Hughes and his volleys that began my Manchester United love affair. He was the reason i started supporting United, just loved watching him hit his goals
 

Ibi Dreams

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Quite underrated is Fletcher's half volley against Everton. He hit it so beautifully, rising and curling into the top corner

 

Paul_Scholes18

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I really like Berbatovs vs Liverpool. Just since it was part of a 3-2 win with a hattrick too.
The Persie one stands out since we won the title.
Biased by my name I have to say the Scholes one vs Villa. Although it was not a key moment like some of the others.
So it depend on how you rate them.

For importance I say the Rooney and Berbatov ones are top. Matas a bit behind since it was for top 4. Doing these goals vs City and Liverpool just gives it extra edge.
Particular when we are fighting for titles too.
 

Red_Aaron

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Lee Sharpe vs Everton might be a somewhat forgotten one.
Was about to post this one myself.
I love the way he takes a step back before hitting it, like he's pulling back the hammer on a pistol.
A keeper rooted to the spot is always satisfying too
 

T00lsh3d

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I guess half volley's don't count? Because I'd say Cantona vs Liverpool in the FA Cup final was pretty special and obviously won a trophy (took a bounce first), and his goal against Wimbledon is one of the best I've ever seen. He just took a touch first, but it's still on the volley.

If we’re allowed half volleys.....


This was a personal favourite from my youth. If ‘thundercnut’ was in any dictionary, this vid should accompany it.
 

croadyman

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Hughes v Oldham for me still.

I had mates phoning me up before that went in taking the piss.

I went wild and phoned them all back.
Yeah can remember being a 9 year old watching it at my nan's thinking we were out.

Always remember it was in the middle of that March/April wobble when we lost league cup final,lost to Blackburn and Eric got sent off twice in as many days.
 

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You could have just called it the Hughes appreciation thread.
And would that be such a bad thing?!

I didn't think there would be so much affection for the Oldham goal to be fair... thought that was just me looking at it through rose-tinted specs.
 

norm87cro

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And would that be such a bad thing?!

I didn't think there would be so much affection for the Oldham goal to be fair... thought that was just me looking at it through rose-tinted specs.
No mate. I loved Sparky. And I'm just about old enough to remember him play. The Barca screamer in 91 was something only he could score