7.69 seconds. That’s the time it took Southampton striker Shane Long to smash the record for the Premier League’s fastest ever goal.
What a moment.
Like many Saints players, Long has been rejuvenated under the infectious personality of manager Ralph Hasenhuttl who has extinguished the negative atmosphere and painfully dull style of play at the club since he was lured over as Mark Hughes’ replacement back in December.
Long, who before January had gone nine months without a goal, has now bagged three goals in his last four games - topping his tally for the whole of last season. What a turnaround.
Below we look at the five fastest goals in Premier League history…
1. Shane Long: 7.69seconds
Long’s record-breaking goal on Tuesday night has officially been clocked at 7.69s.
It came as a result of the Irishman’s speed and determination to run down an attempted clearance from Watford defender Craig Cathcart. Long managed to block the ball, then raced through on goal and produced a perfectly executed dink over Ben Foster, which sparked wild celebrations in the visiting section of Vicarage Road.
It may not have been enough to grab the spoils - Watford snatched a last-gasp equaliser - but it was a memorable moment for the striker who is now the envy of every player in the league.
The pivotal point moved the 16th-placed Saints six points clear of the dreaded drop zone with three games to play. Not only does the club have a superior goal difference to relegation rivals Brighton and Cardiff, but they also have a favourable run-in against Bournemouth, West Ham, and the already doomed Huddersfield.
2. Ledley King: 9.82s
You’re probably wondering what on earth Ledley King, a defender, is doing on this list. Well, King, who at the time was actually employed as a midfielder in his early days at Spurs, previously held the accolade for the fastest Premier League goal at a minuscule 9.82 seconds. An honour he enjoyed for a whopping 18 years and four months dating back to 2000 for Tottenham against Bradford, a 3-3 thriller.
It took King all of 9.82s to break the deadlock as he ran in on goal and unleashed a 25-yard strike into the bottom corner. On first glance, you’d think the goalkeeper should have done a lot better, although it then becomes evident that he was fooled by a deflection. It just so happened to be King’s first career goal, while he went on to bag nine more in the league during 268 appearances.
The game itself was somewhat of a thriller. Hosts Bradford draw level just eight minutes later, only for Sol Campbell to restore Spurs’ advantage in the 21st minute. Chris Armstrong added a third nine minutes after the restart, only for Bradford to rescue a point thanks to goals from Dean Windass and Benito Carbone.
3. Alan Shearer: 10.52s
King’s presence in the fastest goal table may take many by surprise, but Alan Shearer’s certainly won’t. After all, the former Newcastle and Blackburn goal-machine is the Premier League’s record goalscorer. He hammered home 260 during a goal-drenched career, and let’s not forget that he also bagged 23 for the Saints prior to the existence of the Premier League.
Of those 260 goals the fastest came in 2003 when Newcastle hosted Man City at St James’ Park. From the kick-off City played the ball back to keeper Carlo Nash, who took a heavy touch before attempting to boot the ball upfield. However, the inrushing Shearer was quick off the mark as he charged the clearance down and then slotted the ball into the empty net.
4. Christian Eriksen: 10.54s
More recently we saw Christian Eriksen stun Man Utd in 2017 when he opened the scoring with just 10.54s gone.
Tottenham kicked-off, played the ball back to Jan Vertonghen, whose long speculative ball found Harry Kane just outside the United penalty area. The striker headed the ball onto Dele Alli, then the ball fell kindly to the completely unmarked Eriksen. The Dane made the most of the opportunity as he calmly curled the ball past the helpless David de Gea.
5. Mark Viduka: 11.90s
What a side Leeds had back in 2001. The Whites team was jam-packed with talent, including the likes of Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, Rio Ferdinand, Harry Kewell, Ian Harte, and Robbie Keane. One of those players, Viduka, scored one of the fastest Premier League goals ever at the start of a game away to Charlton.
Unfortunately, there’s no available footage of the goal but a BBC Sport report at the time said:
“Straight from the kick-off, David Batty laid the ball off to Ian Harte who hoisted a long speculative ball forward that seemed to pose little danger to Charlton's backline.
“But Alan Smith rose to flick the ball into the path of Mark Viduka, who took one touch before steering a precise shot past Sasa Ilic to give Leeds the lead.”