We’ve ranked George Best’s six goals for Manchester United against Northampton Town so you don’t have to
Manchester United travel to League One side Northampton Town as the Red Devils begin their campaign for EFL Cup glory.
Having lost three consecutive matches, United will probably take any old glory right now. Certainly, a convincing performance again a side two divisions beneath them seems necessary.
Oh how Jose Mourinho could do with the sort of result Manchester United managed against the Cobblers in 1970. An 8-2 win in the FA Cup fifth round was inspired by six goals from George Best.
George Best six goals v Northampton Town in FA Cup 1970
It was the only time the Northern Irishman scored a double hat-trick in a game, so we’ve decided to rank them, from worst to best. Here goes…
6) A Complete Mess
A pale imitation of a goal, and one which Best rightly looked ashamed to have scored. A cutback is poorly dealt with by goalkeeper Kim Book, and falls into the path of the 23-year-old Best.
The Northern Irishman swings a leaden boot at the ball, which is blocked by a melee of Northampton Town defenders, before putting an end to the nonsense by thrashing the ball into the roof of the net. A shambles, from start to finish.
5) A Glancing Header
Not a bad goal by any stretch, but certainly nothing to write home about either. Best’s fourth goal came from a clipped cross on the left and was finished with a glancing header. We can’t fault it, but we’re not excited by it.
4) A Goalkeeper’s Gaffe
Certainly one of the more entertaining goals you’ll see. The ball is played through to Best, and for some reason the goalkeeper rushes out to meet him.
He’s in the wrong postcode, however, as Best takes the most minuscule of touches to send him packing before smashing the ball into an empty net. He then celebrates the goal, as was the style at the time, with a handshake. (A single jump with both arms raised was the only alternative.)
3) Using His Head
Best’s first goal was actually a bit impressive. Best is for once actually forced to do something good by the Cobblers’ defence, rising high under the pressure of a defender to head well into the net.
2) A Fine Finish
Again, an actual good goal. Northampton managed to get their defensive stuff together long enough to make Best work for at least a couple of his six goals, and this is one of them.
A tidy through ball reaches Best, who exhibits his electric pace to race away from the last man before coolly slotting the ball over the muddy six-yard box and into the far corner. A Cobblers defender hurdles his goalkeeper to round off the move.
1) Brilliant Best
From six of the best, this is the best of the six in our opinion – picture a dad playing football with his five-year-old child in the garden, and you’ll see what we mean.
Best receives a square ball on the edge of the penalty area, and ghosts past his marker as if he were a traffic cone. The next part is where the magic happens. Going one on one with Kim Book, Best offers the smallest of feints, sending Brook to the floor, before waltzing through and walloping the ball into the opposite corner.
If just one of Mourinho’s players plays with a fraction of the genius Best displayed that day, Northampton could be in for a rocky evening.
Here's a little extra sport. BallTalk TV ask who is the real special one – Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola?