It was a case of anything you can do I can do better for Olivier Giroud and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, after the Arsenal striker scored a scorpion kick wonder goal to rival that of the Manchester United playmaker.
Mkhitaryan wrote the headlines on Boxing Day with his sublime finish against Sunderland at Old Trafford, but just six days later Arsenal man Giroud went and copied his heroics during the Gunners’ clash with Crystal Palace.
Making a darting run into the box, Giroud latched on to an inswinging cross from Alexis Sanchez in spectacular fashion, catching the ball cleanly with his outstep to direct an effort towards goal.
Olivier Giroud pulled off an audacious scorpion kick against Crystal Palace
Giroud watches on as his flicked effort sails goalwards at the Emirates Stadium
The Arsenal man saw his sublime attempt crash in off the underside of the crossbar
Giroud’s finish came just six days after an equally outrageous goal by Henrikh Mkhitaryan
As Giroud’s effort crashed in off the underside of the crossbar former pro Gary Neville hailed it as ‘one of the best goals I’ve ever seen, but the main himself admitted there was an element of luck involved.
‘First Alexis gave me the ball behind me, and I try to back heel and I have maximum luck,’ the Frenchman told Sky Sports.
‘I was not in a good balance, it’s a great feeling. I wanted to score from the first minute from Nacho’s cross when I was a bit short. It’s a nice one for the team. I’ve never done this before, so it’s all about luck.
‘I tried to deflect it, in this position you can’t do something else, I was lucky so it’s nice for me and nice for the team.’
Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness also acknowledged the part luck played in the Frenchman’s goal, which came from a Sanchez cross which was difficult to control, but praised the Arsenal’s forward’s ability to improvise.
‘Very modest, Olivier Giroud there,’ Souness said.
‘It’s a great goal, but the player himself has come out and said there was a large slice of luck, all he can do is dangle a leg and get some movement on it.
Alexis Sanchez’s in-swinging cross was slightly behind Giroud, but that didn’t matter
The Frenchman flicks out his heel to make perfect contact with the cross
The ball rockets into the back of the net, kissing the crossbar on its way in
‘He could do that another 1,000 times and it wouldn’t end up in the back of the net. There was no real thought given to it, it was an instinctive reaction and he’s been very lucky with where the ball ended up.
‘Enjoy the moment Olivier, you improvised, showed great athleticism but there was a large slice of luck.
‘If that’s not going in, he’s got a point to have a go at Sanchez for playing a ball that’s behind him so he can get his head on it, so he’s got an argument there. He’s got to get it in front of him.
‘He realises that he cannot get any power on it. All he can do is help it goalwards, and fortunately for him the timing has to be perfect, and he gets a bit of luck with it going top corner. There’s a large slice of luck but you’ve got to compliment him over the athleticism and balance.’
TWITTER’S VERDICT ON THE GOAL
‘Like Mkhitaryan, he improvises and it’s absolutely spectacular.’
His fellow Sky pundit, Jamie Carragher, was equally as awestruck by the majestic finish and, while admitting there was an element of luck, gave Giroud more credit than colleague Souness.
He said: ‘It’s amazing really. You’re struck by amazement watching it. You’re kind of in disbelief, has he just done that?
‘He is trying to score… when you talk about luck, a lot of shots are like that (helping the ball goalwards), it’s not a case of ‘I’m going to put it exactly there’.
‘He’s trying to score and it’s gone in the top corner. To get your body in that kind of position to even have an attempt at goal, I’d have done my groin!’
Graeme Souness believes there was plenty of luck involved in Giroud’s spectacular goal
But whose goal was better – Giroud’s or Mkhitaryan’s?
According to Carragher it is the Arsenal man who comes out on top, as a result of build-up play which preceded the finish.
‘I think before you actually get to the actual individuals, I think the Arsenal build-up makes that (better),’ he said.
‘I think when you see Giroud’s, whenever I see a goal go in off the bar, it always looks better. I think Giroud’s goal is better.
‘You think when that goes in (Mkhitaryan’s), obviously it’s offside but it counts on the day. You think it’s goal of the season, but then a week later Giroud does that.’