Wenger ‘surprised’ by Giroud wonder strike in Arsenal win

Michael Graham
Arsene Wenger: Criticised by fans

Arsene Wenger hailed Olivier Giroud’s wonder goal that set Arsenal on the way to a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, but admits it caught him by ‘surprise’.

Alexis Sanchez crossed for Giroud, who had burst into the Palace box and the Chilean’s ball in was behind the Frenchman, who improvised brilliantly with a back-heeled ‘scorpion’ volley over his head and in off the crossbar.

It bore more than a passing resemblance to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s effort for Manchester United six days ago.

Alex Iwobi’s second-half header then wrapped up victory against Sam Allardyce’s Eagles.

Wenger told Sky Sports 1: “It was a great counter-attack at great speed. The ball was kicked behind him and he had that great reflex, a big surprise. It’s a surprise and a fantastic goal.

“I was a bit spoiled over the years by great goals. With the exceptional quality all these players had and everyone you remember for the exceptional quality like the exceptional Giroud goal.

“It’s a reflex and I think all of us can score this kind of goal. The strength, the power and the reflex to kick the ball. Groud is very good in front of goal from crosses but I’ve never seen this kind of goal from him.”

Wenger was impressed by the way his side bossed the game and added: “We controlled the game. We had a little difficult patch in the second half but overall I think we controlled the game well.

“I was very pleased with the pace of our game. The speed of our passing, our movement. Our game is based on that and I felt for long periods of the game I felt we had a good mixture between possession and penetration.”

And the Frenchman insists that the Gunners need to focus on their own results as they try to close the gap on Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.

He said: “At the moment Chelsea is in front of everybody but all the others try to hang on, not to give any ground away and at the moment they manage to do that. They win when they are expected to win so that means every surprising result penalises you in a very strong way.

“You have just to focus and try to win the next game and hope at some stage some others will drop points.”