Arsenal boss Wenger puts Giroud wonder-flick on par with the greatest by Henry and Bergkamp
Arsene Wenger hailed Olivier Giroud's brilliant scorpion-flick goal as "art" and one of the top five goals of his Arsenal reign, on a par with the best of Thierry Henry or Dennis Bergkamp.
The Arsenal manager was full of praise for the goal, which set up a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, saying that it would always be remembered as the defining moment of Giroud's career. For Wenger it was especially pleasing because the brilliant finish came after a flowing team move which involved six Arsenal players.
"It was an exceptional goal at the end of a fantastic collective moment, which is what our game is about," Wenger said.
Giroud with goal of the season pic.twitter.com/PzFFZtqazv— MGH (@OfficialMgh) January 1, 2017
"Olivier had a little reflex, and he transformed that goal into art. Art because of the surprise, because of the beauty of the movement, the efficiency of the move. The moment the ball went in, that will be remembered as the Giroud goal that nobody will forget. Every striker is remembered for one, two or three special goals, and that will be what he is remembered for. He brings the unexpected, and we all come to football to get the unexpected."
Wenger has coached some brilliant strikers at Arsenal but he said that this goal was close to the best of Henry and Bergkamp.
"I have been spoiled in my career, with many great players and great strikers here, but that is certainly in the top five goals," he said. "With Berkgamp against Leicester or Newcastle, with Henry against Real Madrid or Liverpool, or [Nwankwo] Kanu at Chelsea. It is difficult for me not to forget goals over 20 years, when we score 70 or 80 goals a year that is 1,600 goals."
Giroud, though, said that the flicked finish over his own head was lucky. "Alexis gave me the ball behind me, and I try to back heel and I had maximum luck," Giroud said. "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."
Wenger was pleased overall with Arsenal's performance, after a win which moved them up to third and pushed Manchester City down to fifth.
"We had a dynamic game with a good balance between possession and good off the ball movement," Wenger said. "It was an interesting game to watch. We always looked dangerous. The only frustration is that we did not kill the game quickly enough."
Sam Allardyce admitted that he took off Yohan Cabaye, Andros Townsend and Christian Benteke in the second half to prepare them for Palace's game against Swansea City tomorrow night. Allardyce said that was a more important game than this one, and raged against the fact that his team only had 48 hours between the games.
"I don't know who does the fixtures but he needs sacking. Swansea played yesterday so they have 24 hours on us," said Allardyce. "It is unfair. Because of the level of fatigue the players suffer they have not got enough time to recover 100 per cent."