Olivier Giroud scored an exquisite goal from an overhead back-heeled strike as Arsenal FC beat Crystal Palace FC 2-0 on Sunday to rise to third in the English Premier League.
Such a moment of exceptional quality could help Olivier Giroud convince manager Arsene Wenger to play him more. Opportunities don’t come often for the France forward since dropping down the pecking order.
But with Mesut Ozil ill in bed, Wenger had little choice but to start Giroud for the second consecutive game in the packed festive program.
Giroud, who netted on his first league start of the season against West Bromwich Albion on Monday, beat Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey after 18 minutes with his “scorpion” kick.
Alexis Sanchez whipped in a cross from the left flank and Giroud connected with a back-heeled flick that sent the ball up against the underside of the bar and into the net.
Giroud had also played a role in the sweeping move that started inside Arsenal’s own half and ended with the opening goal.
Few goals will be as eye-catching all season. Scoring again, though, was important at the chilly Emirates Stadium to prevent Palace from mounting a comeback.
Arsenal FC’s Alex Iwobi celebrates scoring their second goal. (REUTERS)
It took until the 56th minute when Nacho Monreal’s cross was scooped in the air by Scott Dann’s interception and Alex Iwobi headed past two Palace players on the goal-line.
Palace remains two points from the relegation zone with Sam Allardyce winless in his two matches in charge.
Arsenal’s victory, combined with Tottenham’s success at Watford, ensured Manchester City dropped out of the top four Champions League places.
Arsenal is nine points adrift of leader Chelsea and three behind Liverpool.