Alejandro Garnacho vs Wayne Rooney: Whose overhead kick was better?


Alejandro Garnacho may well have secured the Premier League Goal of the Season award for 2023/24 already.

The Argentine winger’s overhead kick in the opening minutes against Everton sent Manchester United on their way to an important victory that many did not think they’d get, given the swell of anger and determination inside Goodison Park following their points deduction.

Naturally, the debate was sparked online immediately about whether this was the best, or one of the best Premier League goals ever. Let’s not get into that right now, but there is another debate that needs to be had: Which is better, Garnacho’s against Everton, or Wayne Rooney’s against Manchester City?

  • Dissecting Garnacho’s overhead kick against Everton

Let’s start by looking at the occasion. This was a Premier League game at a time when Manchester United need every point they can get. The Red Devils may have been the form team in the league, but it didn’t feel like it and anything other than a win would have led to crisis talks again.

As well as that, this was away at Goodison Park, one of the most hostile environments in the country for an away team. Add in that team being from Manchester and the huge protests and swell of noise in the early stages thanks to the points deduction, and it was an environment that many players would opt to play safely in. Man Utd would have been within their right to try and weather any early storm and build their way into the game.

Instead, Garnacho saw the ball float in from Diogo Dalot on the right and he quickly took four steps backwards and steadied himself, knowing what he was about to attempt. As for the actual technique, he’s unchallenged in the box, but the connection is as sweet as you can possibly imagine. It is literally flawless.

It hits the top corner with power, and Jordan Pickford’s attempts to get across his goal are futile. Contextually, it was precisely what Man Utd needed, and technically, it was a perfect overhead kick.

  • Dissecting Rooney’s overhead kick against Man City

While we’ve outlined the difficulty of the occasion that Garnacho scored his overhead kick in, Rooney’s in 2011 probably trumps it. This was a Manchester derby, in the period where Man City had become capable of beating Man Utd to league titles.

Man City were in a title race with Man Utd and Arsenal at this point, with just over 10 games left to play. David Silva’s equaliser cancelled out Nani’s opener and it seemed Sir Alex Ferguson’s side would be held at Old Trafford. In the 78th minute, though, Rooney stepped up and tried something, like all elite strikers do. The win was key to Man Utd building a gap at the top of the table during that February weekend and they would go on to win the Premier League.

From a technical and aesthetic point of view, there are a couple of issues with Rooney’s goal. It sounds ridiculous to say as it is one of the greatest goals ever scored, but here we are. The way Nani’s cross deflects off of the defender’s back does take something away from a visual perspective. Secondly, as Man City fans love to point out, there is a touch of the shin about Rooney’s connection with the ball.

The power with which the ball hit the back of the net was simply astounding, and it is rightfully regarded as one of the best goals that has ever been scored in the Premier League.

The verdict

Overall, then, Rooney takes it when it comes to the occasion of the game and the importance of it in the context of a season. If Man Utd now win all of their games for the rest of the 2023/24 campaign, maybe that can be addressed again, but ‘Manchester derby in a title race’ trumps ‘away at Everton in November’.

That being said, Garnacho still scored in a really difficult situation for Man Utd. Everyone knew an early goal could be crucial at Goodison Park given the context, and he provided it. On top of that, the technique appears to be cleaner. There is absolutely no suggestion that he shinned it, and he was also further away from goal which meant he needed to generate more power.

Also, the build-up to the ball arriving with him in the box was smoother than it was for Rooney’s goal. Therefore, an executive decision is being made that Garnacho’s overhead kick against Everton was, just, better than Rooney’s against Man City. Don’t let that make you forget just how good Rooney’s was, though.

What we know

  • Garnacho stole the headlines against Everton with an insane overhead kick
  • Argentine’s strike brought back memories of Rooney’s famous goal against Man City
  • Fans have debated which goal was best.

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