Wenger hails Giroud’s goal as a ‘work of art’

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: 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, pic­tured, 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. “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 (Sanchez) 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: “We had a dy­namic game with a good bal­ance be­tween pos­ses­sion and good off the ball move­ment,” he 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 tonight. Al­lardyce said that was a more im­por­tant game than this one, and raged against the fact that his team only had 48 hours be­tween th­ese two games.

“We have been dealt the blow of not hav­ing enough time be­tween games today and on Tues­day, I don’t know who does the fix­tures but he needs sack­ing.”

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