Giroud: Element of luck in spectacular goal

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud admitted his special goal in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day “was a bit lucky”.

The Frenchman opened the scoring at the Emirates Stadium on 17 minutes with an audacious flick from behind his head, similar to the one Henrikh Mkhitaryan pulled off on Boxing Day for Manchester United.

It was his second Premier League goal in as many starts for the Gunners and Giroud said it was the best of his career to date, while also claiming he took inspiration from the Armenian’s sublime effort last week against Sunderland.

He told the BBC afterwards: “It is not difficult to say it is the best one [I’ve scored]. 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 back-heel.

“Maybe [Mkhitaryan’s] goal inspired me, it’s the only thing you can do in that position. It is nice for me and the team because we start the year with a win.”

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was quick to praise his compatriot for an “exceptional” piece of skill.

“It was a great counter-attack at great speed, his reflex surprised everybody who knows football and that’s what makes the goal great,” Wenger said.

“I have been a bit spoiled over the years by the exceptional quality of the players I’ve had, but it will be remembered as an exceptional goal. Olly is very good in front of goal, but I’ve never seen this kind of goal from him.

“It was an exceptional goal at the end of an exceptional collective moment, it’s what our game is about. After that it was a reflex – a goalscorer is ready to take ant part of his body to score a goal. Olivier has that kind of reflex, and he transformed that goal into art.”

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