Giroud ‘Scorpion’ stunner fires Arsenal past Palace

Giroud ‘Scorpion’ stunner fires Arsenal past Palace

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud scored a stunning ‘scorpion’ goal as the Gunners beat Crystal Palace at a rainy Emirates Stadium to move back above North London rivals Tottenham and into third place.

Giroud — who missed a great chance in the early moments when he failed to make contact with a low cross from close range — opened the scoring in spectacular style after 17 minutes.

The France international, who was involved in the early stages of the move, arrived in the area to flick home Alexis Sanchez’s cross with a brilliant improvised finish that went in off the bar. It came just five days after Manchester United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan had scored a “scorpion” goal of his own against Sunderland.

The goal gave Arsenal a lead they had threatened to take several times in the opening stages, with Sanchez blasting an effort just wide and Alex Iwobi seeing his low strike stopped by keeper Wayne Hennessey.

Palace had set up with the intention of containing their hosts and offered little threat throughout the first period.

Hennessey came to the rescue when Andros Townsend lost possession inside his own area and almost gifted Nacho Monreal the chance to add a second, and Mohamed Elneny fizzed an effort from range off target.

Seconds before the break, the Palace keeper made a crucial stop to foil Sanchez, saving with his feet as the Arsenal forward looked set to give his side a two-goal cushion.

Palace fired a warning shot in the early moments of the second half when Christian Benteke narrowly failed to guide a header from Townsend’s cross beyond Petr Cech — but Arsenal scored the second goal they wanted within 10 minutes of that scare.

It came when a Monreal cross was deflected up into the air by Palace’s Scott Dann and Alex Iwobi nodded home via a defender and the underside of the bar.

That setback sparked the best spell of the match from Palace with Benteke and Yohan Cabaye — who tried his luck with a superb long-range volley — both denied by Cech within a matter of moments.

Giroud just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross and Granit Xhaka saw an effort deflected past the post as Arsenal sought a third before, with time running out, Monreal was booked for a foul on Wilfried Zaha as the winger tried to spark a Palace counter-attack.

Substitute Aaron Ramsey curled a shot wide as the seconds ticked away and Alex Oxlade-Chanbverlain was denied by a good Hennessey save — but nothing could deprive Giroud’s stunning goal of its position at the top of the bill.

-Report by FC