An outrageous scorpion kick from Olivier Giroud helped Arsenal start 2017 with victory over Crystal Palace.
Arsene Wenger’s side moved back ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham and into third in the Premier League courtesy of Giroud’s wonderful first-half volley.
Wenger was unable to call on Mesut Ozil due to illness, but it made little difference to the outcome as Arsenal recorded a 2-0 victory.
Alexis Sanchez, Lucas Perez and Alex Iwobi, who scored in the second half, all performed admirably behind Giroud.
In the opening minutes at the Emirates Stadium, Giroud missed a simple chance to tuck away Nacho Monreal’s cross.
Moments later, Wayne Hennessey was forced into his first save as he kept out Iwobi’s tame effort, but the Wales goalkeeper could do nothing as Giroud opened the scoring in emphatic fashion.
Palace were on the front foot, only for Perez to break down the move and Giroud to start a counter-attack with a cute flick.
Iwobi fed Sanchez on the left-hand side, who looked for Giroud in the Palace box.
Sanchez’s ball was behind Giroud, but the Frenchman improvised brilliantly with a back-heeled volley over his head which crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
“I think it is the best goal I have ever scored,” Giroud said of his 17th-minute wonder strike.
“Alexis gave me the ball a bit behind and I tried to take it with the backheel and I had a lot of luck.”
Giroud’s stunning strike won the Frenchman the FIFA Puskas Award for Goal of the Year.
The striker scored 73 goals in 180 Premier League appearances for the Gunners before he was sold to Chelsea in January 2018.