Monday 16 October 2017

Alex Iwobi: Olivier Giroud's stunner left Arsenal players open-mouthed

Alex Iwobi (left) grabbed his second Premier League goal of the season in Sunday's win over Crystal Palace.
Alex Iwobi (left) grabbed his second Premier League goal of the season in Sunday's win over Crystal Palace.

Alex Iwobi revealed the Arsenal dressing room was left open-mouthed by Olivier Giroud's "scorpion kick" volley in the New Year's Day win over Crystal Palace.

The France striker struck a remarkable opening goal as he burst into the Palace box and finished Alexis Sanchez's cross with a back-heeled volley over his head and in off the crossbar.

It bore more than a passing resemblance to Henrikh Mkhitaryan's effort for Manchester United a week earlier and split decisions on social media as to which of the two goals was better.

But Iwobi, who scored the other goal in the 2-0 win with a second-half header, said he and his team-mates were suitably impressed with Giroud's strike.

"A lot of people were coming in with their mouths open," he told Press Association Sport.

"They couldn't believe it; they were all congratulating him but it was only half-time. At the end of the game we could say well done Ollie.

"It's rare. We have some special players and you do see the odd crazy thing but nothing like that has ever happened in training.

"I think my one was better to be honest...no, Ollie scored a special goal. I have never seen a better goal than that live. It was amazing for me as well to get another goal in the Premier League."

Iwobi developed into a regular fixture in Arsene Wenger's first-team as 2016 progressed and he operated in his favoured number 10 role against Palace with Mesut Ozil missing out through illness.

"This time last year I was just playing in the cup games and happy to be there," he said.

"To be starting almost every week is just amazing progress for me. I'm still young, still learning and there is still a long way to go.

"It (number 10) is where I have grown up playing and where I enjoy playing the most but wherever I am put on the pitch, I will do my best and whenever I get told to play any position I give 100 per cent.

"There are a lot of players who can play number 10; a lot of ball players in the team. Every day in training I am always learning and trying to add it to my game."

Despite a great breakthrough year, Iwobi is not looking too far ahead in 2017 as the Gunners look to keep on the coat-tails of leaders Chelsea.

Asked about his aims for the new year, he replied: "I haven't looked that far ahead.

"I concentrate on every game and taking it game by game. I don't know, I just have to wait and see. On the team's behalf we are focusing more on ourselves and our performance.

"Hopefully if Chelsea slip up, they slip up but we have to make sure we win to keep up the title race. The games are coming thick and fast; we just have to prepare the same.

"We have got the momentum, we are confident now and hopefully we can keep up our winning streak. I'm just trying to do the best I can.

"If the team does well that is the main thing."

Press Association

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