The Independent London Newspaper
20th January 2017

Giroud magic sets Arsenal on the way to victory over Palace

    Olivier Giroud scored a spectacular 'scorpion' kick

    Olivier Giroud scored a spectacular 'scorpion' kick as Arsenal started 2017 by beating Crystal Palace 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium

    Published: 1 January, 2017
    by TOM FOOT at the Emirates Stadium

    Premier League
    ARSENAL 2, CRYSTAL PALACE 0

    OLIVIER Giroud's stunning acrobatic goal was a work of art, according to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. 

    The Arsenal frontman sealed a sweeping counter-attack with an audacious flying "scorpion" flick that sailed majestically into the top corner.

    "He transformed that goal into art," said Wenger. "Art - it is about surprise, the beauty of the movement. We all come to football to get the unexpected. It is a goal nobody will forget."

    When asked where it ranked of all goals scored during his Arsenal tenure, Wenger said: "I have been spoiled with many great players over the years, many great strikers - this was certainly in the top five."

    When pressed for his top four, he added: "I remember Bergkamp at Leicester, and Newcastle - Kanu at Chelsea - Henry at Real Madrid. But when you have something like 80 goals a year, times 20 years, it's 1,600 goals for me - its hard to immediately pick the top five."

    Alex Iwobi made it 2-0 in the second half to end any hopes of a fightback from an out-of-sorts Palace, who were easily brushed aside. 

    Wenger said: "He is quick and can hold people off, he's just 20 years old - people often forget that. The quality of his pass and his availability is exceptional for a young boy."

    The match lacked spark and, with many fans suffering hangovers from the previous night's festivities, there was little atmosphere in a rain-battered Emirates.

    Unlike many fans, contract-negotiating midfield maestro Mesut Ozil did not make it in - appearing to pull a sickie on New Year's Day.

    "I'm told he's a bit better, but he's still in bed," Wenger said after the match. He said he did not know if he would be well enough to make the trip to Bournemouth. Arsenal travel to the south coast in just two days' time in what Wenger described as an "unbelievable rest period".

    He said: "I do not think the Premier League are masters of the fixtures anymore. They sold the rights to TV for a lot of money, so we have to accept they choose when the games are. We are privileged in our job, and we get a lot of money for it, but some teams have been the luckier with that."

    Wenger later added that he had watched Chelsea v Stoke yesterday "live, but not on English TV - Sorry". 

    Arsenal are third in the league and nine points behind leaders Chelsea.

    ARSENAL: Cech, Gabriel, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, El Neny (Coquelin, 69) Xhaka, Iwobi (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 77), Perez (Ramsey, 72), Sanchez, Giroud.
    Subs not used: Ospina, Mustafi, Reine-Adelaide, Maitland Niles.
    Tickets sold: 59,925.

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