Most football clubs the world over rely on a small handful of players to put the ball in the back of the net.
So it’s always refreshing for managers and supporters when others chip in to lighten the load and help a team become a more rounded, penetrative force.
It was ‘howay the Toon’ all the way then when Newcastle United blitzed Sheffield United 8-0 in September 2023 – a game noteworthy, not least for the final score, but also for the fact that the Magpies had eight different goalscorers on the day.
Sean Longstaff, Dan Burn and Sven Botman fired Newcastle into a 3-0 half-time lead at Bramall Lane, before Callum Wilson, Anthony Gordon, Miguel Almiron, Bruno Guimaraes and Alexander Isak completed the rout in the second period.
It might surprise you to learn that eight different goalscorers for a team is not a Premier League record – more on that later, although Manchester United can sort of claim to have matched Newcastle’s effort when they walloped Southampton 9-0 in February 2021. They had seven different names on the scoresheet (Wan-Bissaka, Rashford, Cavani, Martial, McTominay, Fernandes and James) that day, with the Saints’ Jan Bednarek adding his name to the ledger….albeit with an own goal.
Unsurprisingly, Newcastle’s exploits in Sheffield are unique to say the least; however, there are other games which trump it for the most different goalscorers to find the net….
Nine Different Scorers – Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal (2004)
The record for the most different goalscorers in a Premier League game is nine, which was witnessed in this humdinger of a North London derby back in November 2004.
Remarkably, this nine-goal thriller was 0-0 after 35 minutes, before Tottenham’s Noureddine Naybet notched the opener at Spurs’ then White Hart Lane home.
Thierry Henry equalised for the Gunners in first-half injury time, before one of the most extraordinary halves of football you’re ever likely to witness – with just the seven goals scored – unfolded.
A quickfire double from Lauren and Patrick Vieira handed Arsenal a 3-1 lead, before Jermain Defoe reduced the arrears in the 61st minute.
However, that looked set to be nothing more than a consolation when Freddie Ljungberg restored Arsenal’s two-goal cushion, although Ledley King made a seesaw battle that little bit more interesting when he made it 3-4 with 20 minutes left to play.
Who would seize the moment? Robert Pires, that’s who. The Frenchman made it 3-5 in the 80th minute, before a strike from Frederic Kanoute eight minutes later set up a grandstand finish in the capital.
Arsenal clung on to the three points, and it’s a wonder the players had the energy to walk off the pitch at the end of one of the most astonishing Premier League games ever witnessed.
Nine Different Scorers – Liverpool 11-0 Stromsgodset (1974)
As far as top-level games involving an English club are concerned, there’s only one other instance in which a contest had nine different names on the scoresheet.
And all of them belonged to Liverpool, who ran riot against Norwegian side Stromsgodset in a European Cup Winners’ Cup tie back in 1974.
Back then, the Reds were one of the most dominant forces in world football, and they made their class tell in an 11-0 demolition of their Scandinavian opponents – a margin of victory that’s still the largest in Liverpool’s storied history to this day.
Alec Lindsay, Phil Boersma, Phil Thompson and Steve Heighway found the net before half-time, while Ian Callaghan, Emlyn Hughes, Peter Cormack, Tommy Smith and Ray Kennedy also put the ball past the shellshocked Stromsgodset goalkeeper.
As the home crowd at Anfield danced a jig of delight at the final whistle, the Norwegians no doubt went for a lie down and a good, stiff drink instead….
Eight Different Scorers – Liverpool 9-0 Crystal Palace (1989)
Liverpool have handed out their fair share of thrashings over the years, with Crystal Palace on the receiving end of a nine-goal blitz in 1989 that saw eight different players find the net for the Reds.
The 9-0 scoreline was a First Division record for Kenny Dalglish’s men, who in the grand tradition of these things took the lead as early as the eighth minute through Steve Nicol.
Steve McMahon, Ian Rush, Gary Gillespie and Peter Beardsley all troubled the scoresheet before a Liverpool penalty brought a rousing reception for John Aldridge. One of the club’s all-time leading goalscorers, Aldridge had agreed to leave Liverpool – he was given one last chance to make his mark and made no mistake from the spot.
John Barnes and Glenn Hysen also netted for the Reds, with Nicol providing the bread to the sandwich by scoring the first and last goals of the game to complete the 9-0 shellacking.
Liverpool and Palace would meet in an FA Cup semi-final just a few months later….with the Eagles, no doubt inspired by their humiliation in September, recording a remarkable 4-3 victory.