It’s been some year for Michail Antonio. Having finally established himself as West Ham’s main striker, becoming the team’s all-time top Premier League goalscorer in the process, he set another record on Saturday afternoon against Crystal Palace, by becoming the first West Ham player to score 50 Premier League goals.
Now well renowned for his strength, heading and flamboyant goal celebrations, it certainly hasn’t been an orthodox journey for Michail Antonio since he joined The Hammers six years ago. His conversion from a right back, right midfielder, and general all round utility player to a striker in a team chasing European competition makes this milestone all the more impressive. Through the ups and downs during his time in East London, he has now cemented a place in the West Ham history books.
From football league journeyman to popular Premier League icon, sit back and enjoy five of the most significant goals from Antonio’s West Ham career.
Michail Antonio’s Best Goals in Premier League
First goal: Vs Southampton (28th December 2015)
Despite joining West Ham at the perfect time ahead of their successful 2015/16 campaign which ended with a 7th placed finish, it actually took a while for Antonio to adjust to the league and score his first goal for the club, which came at the tail end of 2015.
The goal was ironically perhaps the flukiest of his career. Picking up the ball on the left-hand side against Southampton, the forward embarked on a powerful run into the Saints’ penalty area and attempted to shoot before losing his balance, causing the ball to ricochet off a defender’s leg and back off Antonio’s head, looping over the goalkeeper and in to bring West Ham level.
The Hammers were in a bit of a blip at the time, having not won in eight matches, but that rather fortunate goal helped them end the calendar year with a victory, and served to ignite Antonio’s Premier League career.
50th goal: Vs Crystal Palace (28th August 2021)
Premier League goal number 50 for Antonio arrived during the Hammers’ recent 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, a match that ended the team’s 100% record to start the season but also brought the striker his fourth goal of the campaign in just his third match.
It was a goal with little build-up, but one that summed up what Antonio is all about. A long ball forward from Aaron Cresswell found West Ham’s Number 9, who bullied the Palace defenders off the ball to create the chance before rifling a shot in at Guaita’s near post.
A proper Number 9’s goal, from a player who has worked so hard to prove he is capable of taking on the responsibility and is now flourishing there.
Best goal: Vs Manchester City (24th October 2020)
Antonio’s brilliant recent flick and finish against Leicester City would certainly be worthy of the honour of being the forward’s greatest Premier League goal, but his acrobatic strike against Manchester City last autumn was arguably even better.
A looping cross from Vladimir Coufal came to Antonio in the box, and – under significant pressure from City defender Ruben Dias – the forward executed a brilliant overhead kick that flew past Ederson.
It was one of the greatest goals scored by West Ham so far at the new London Stadium, and one that earned the hosts a fine point against the eventual champions. The only problem was that, with the fixture played behind closed doors, none of the West Ham faithful were in the ground to see it.
Most Important Goal: Vs Watford (17th July 2020)
West Ham may have been on a hot streak for the past 12 months, but just a short while before that, towards the end of the interrupted 2019/20 season, the team were desperately battling relegation.
Fortunately for the Hammers, Michail Antonio hit a purple patch of form during Project Restart, and played a crucial part in ensuring the team’s survival. In the third to last game of the season, West Ham played out a decisive six pointer with relegation rivals Watford. Less than six minutes into the contest, Antonio received a deflected through ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area and quickly fired the ball through the legs of the backpedalling Ben Foster.
It was a goal that sent West ham on their way as they eventually prevailed as comfortable 3-1 winners and went on to finish with 39 points, five clear of the drop, whilst their opponents from that night were soon relegated.
Most Memorable Goal: Vs Manchester United (10th May 2016)
Back to Antonio’s first season in East London, the only one in his West Ham career that was spent at the club’s historic Boleyn Ground, the forward went down in the club’s folklore by scoring in their fairytale goodbye to the stadium at the end of the season.
Trailing 2-1 to Manchester United in the last ever match at the ground after 112 years, Antonio got himself on the end of a pinpoint lobbed pass from Dimitri Payet and rose brilliantly to bullet a header beyond David De Gea, to a deafening Upton roar.
The hosts would go on to seal a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Red Devils, gifting the fans with the greatest possible goodbye to their beloved ground and cementing Antonio’s place in West Ham folklore.
Manchester City and England fan. Writer of opinion and features on all things Premier League and beyond.