After Dimitar Berbatov’s treble recently it got me thinking about some of the best hat-tricks ever scored. Of course the list would easily be a Top 100 so to narrow things down I’m concentrating on the Premier League only. Marks go to importance of the game, importance of the hat-trick in respect of the final score and the manner of the goals. According to Wikipedia the Premier League has witnessed 236 hat-tricks since its inception so to narrow things down further only true hat-tricks count, meaning Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s four-goals-off-the-bench or the five-goal epics of Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe don’t make it.
10. Dean Windass – Bradford City vs Derby County – 21 April 2000
The win on the last day of the 1999/2000 season against Liverpool kept Bradford up by three points. But in April it was the heroics of Dean Windass that kept them in with a chance. He scored 3 goals against Derby County to earn Bradford City a 4-4 draw and a precious point in their relegation battle. It was the only treble Deano ever scored in the Premier League and it was also the only time a Bradford player has done so in the top flight.
9. Michael Owen – Sheffield Wednesday vs Liverpool – 14 February 1998
The youngest hat-trick scorer in the Premier League, Michael Owen was just 18 years 62 days old when he netted three beauties against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Valentines Day. Liverpool were 3-1 down before he scored two late goals to add to his first half effort. The goals were a perfect example of his raw pace and dribbling abilities in a season where he finished joint top goalscorer with 18 goals in total, earning him a seat on the plane to France, where he did this against Argentina (pretty irrelevant but just an excuse to show it again).
8. David Bentley – Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United – 1st February 2006
David Bentley became the first and to this day only player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United. He was the first Blackburn player to score a hat-trick since Chris Sutton in 1998. Of course it get’s better, it was his first game as a Blackburn Rovers player and the final score was 4-3 to Rovers so there is no doubting the importance of the goals. The pick of the three has to be Bentley’s third and Blackburn’s winner a superb half-volley with the outside of the right boot.
7. Dion Dublin – Coventry City vs Chelsea – 9 August 1997
The opening day of the season and a star-studded Chelsea side arrive at Highfield Road, led by Ruud Gullit. The first goal went to the Londoners, Gianfranco Zola putting Chelsea in front. Dion Dublin then pulled one back immediately with his head, but with 8 minutes to go they were heading to defeat as Tore Andre Flo had made it 2-1 to the visitors. However it was to be Coventry City and Dion Dublin’s day. The former Manchester United striker rose above the Chelsea defence to equalise, and six minutes later he capitalised on a Frank LeBouef error to complete his hat trick on his 100th appearance for the Sky Blues, it was also his 2nd Premier League hat trick (he finished his career with 3).
6. Dimitar Berbatov – Manchester United vs Liverpool – 19 September 2010
Last weekend’s hat-trick was Berbatov’s first for 3 years marking his excellent start to the season. It will be remembered for his stunning second, an overhead kick that rattled in off the bar. However what is really special about the Bulgarian’s efforts is that he became the first player to score 3 in this fixture in the Premier League. Their have been great performances in this epic rivalry over the years and Dimitar has put himself right up there with one of the very best.
5. Robbie Fowler – Liverpool vs Arsenal – 28 August 1994
The fastest hat-trick ever in the Premier League. Just 4 minutes 23 seconds to score the three goals and condemn Arsenal to a 4-3 defeat at Anfield. Fowler scored two with his trusty left foot and all three were indicative of his prowess in and around the 18 yard box. A season later Fowler would haunt the Gunners again with another hat-trick at Anfield this time in a 3-1 walkover.
4. Nwankwo Kanu – Chelsea vs Arsenal – 23 October 1999
2-0 down away from home and seemingly doomed for defeat. Then up popped Kanu! His first two goals were scrappy efforts coming in the 75th and 83rd minutes. Then with the clock ticking down he charged the ball down on near the left corner flag, out rushed Ed de Goey and a drop of the shoulder left him sliding helplessly past the languid Nigerian. Kanu just had to pull the ball back for a supporting player, instead he shot from an almost impossible angle to complete the 4th best Premier League hat-trick of all time (according to myself) a 3-2 victory for Arsenal and he is still the only non-Chelsea player to score a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge.
3. Peter Ndlovu – Liverpool vs Coventry City – 14 March 1995
Not many players score a hat-trick at Anfield against Liverpool, even less for Coventry City (ok ok I know Dion Dublin is in the list, but come on it is a rarity!). In 1995 Peter Ndlovu became the first player to score a hat-trick against Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League until Arsenal’s Arshavin bagged 4 in 2009. In fact the ‘Bulawayo Bullet’ was the first opposing player to get three at Anfield since their return to the top flight in 1962. What made it even more critical was that it secured a 3-2 victory for the Midlanders, ending Liverpool’s title hopes but also earning vital points for Coventry (they finished 5 points off the relegation zone that season) .
2. Dennis Bergkamp – Leicester City vs Arsenal – 27 August 1997
Three goals of sublime quality from the Dutch Master. His first a curler from outside of the box, the second a burst of pace to put him one-on-one and score, the third won BBC Goal of the Month (all three goals were nominated) and later Goal of the Season. He controlled a long pass from Platt with a right foot kick-up, then left foot kick-up shake off the defender….control…bang…goal! An equaliser in stoppage time to earn a 3-3 draw at Filbert Street against a strong Leicester City side (they finished 1oth that season under Martin O’Neill). Arsenal of course won the double that year, incredibly this was Bergkamp’s first and last Premier League treble.
1. Alan Shearer – Newcastle United vs Leicester – 2 February 1997
Alan Shearer holds the record for the most Premier League hat-tricks (11) so it was inevitable he would feature somewhere on this list. Picture the scene a dark and cold Sunday evening on the Tyne in February, the Toon are chasing United at the top of the table despite Keegan’s departure just weeks before. Robbie Elliot puts them 1-0 up inside 3 minutes, but then they capitulate and with 13 minutes to go Leicester find themselves 3-1 up and cruising. Cue, PFA Players Player of the Year for 1996/97 Alan Shearer. A Pile driver of a free kick from inside the ‘D’, six minutes later a controlled right foot shot into the bottom corner, a point has been secured. In the final minute of the game Newcastle string together five passes to unlock the defence, Rob Lee squares the ball across the six yard box – no need to tell you who was awaiting to tuck it home. Ecstasy for new manager Kenny Dalglish and his team and the title hope was kept alive!
That’s it for the hat-tricks – as per usual Friday sees me turn to South America and as it is Champions League week I’ll look at the Top Ten South Americans in this season’s Champions League.