Thursday, 19 January, 2017 - 00:03
Olivier Giroud wonder goal keeps Arsenal's title charge alive, Spurs enter top 4
2 Jan 2017
Olivier Giroud scored a stupendous "scorpion kick" volley as Arsenal climbed to third place in the Premier League table with a 2-0 New Year's Day victory over Crystal Palace.
Giroud netted with a breathtaking improvised strike reminiscent of Henrikh Mkhitaryan's recent goal for Manchester United and Alex Iwobi was also on target at the Emirates Stadium yesterday.
A bashful Giroud told the BBC: "It is not difficult to say it is the best one. I was a bit lucky, but it was the only thing I could do. The ball was behind me and I tried to hit it with a backheel."
Victory left Arsenal nine points below leaders Chelsea and they were joined in the top four by Tottenham Hotspur, who replaced Manchester City in the Champions League places after winning 4-1 at Watford.
Arsenal, who were without the ill Mesut Ozil, finish the weekend three points below second-place Liverpool, with north London rivals Spurs a point back, above City on goal difference.
Armenian midfielder Mkhitaryan advanced a strong claim to the Goal of the Season award in United's 3-1 win over Sunderland on Boxing Day, only for Giroud to better his strike just six days later.
The France striker squandered a golden early chance when he miscued from Nacho Monreal's volleyed cross, but he atoned in memorable fashion in the 17th minute.
He was involved twice in a sweeping move that began when Lucas Perez slid in to cut out a square pass from Palace's ex-Arsenal midfielder Mathieu Flamini.
Hector Bellerin played the ball forward to Giroud and his clever backheel found Granit Xhaka, who helped the ball on to Iwobi, who slipped it to Alexis Sanchez on the left.
Sanchez's cross was behind Giroud, but he adjusted brilliantly to hook the ball forward with his left heel, propelling it over Wayne Hennessey, off the bar and into the net.
Palace goalkeeper Hennessey described it as a "wonder goal" and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger concurred.