Olivier Giroud’s wonder strike for Arsenal in last night’s Europa League clash with Red Star Belgrade was one of the goals of the season to date.
Jack Wilshere also played a significant part in the build-up. His deft touch and incise passing eventually led to Giroud somehow hooking the ball – first time – into the far corner of the net.
It was a magnificent team effort finished off by sublime individual skill. In essence, it was the perfect Arsenal goal.
It also maybe signifies that Giroud is the ideal striker at this level. Not quite good enough to win you a Premier League title, but with qualities to drive you to trophies at a level below.
The France international has scored two goals for the Gunners in the Europa League this term, as well as a strike against Belarus for Les Bleus.
He also managed to score the winner in the stunning comeback win against Leicester City in the opening Premier League game.
For years, Giroud has been criticised for not being quite good enough to get Arsenal over the line against the top teams. That’s probably why Arsene Wenger spent such a huge sum on Alexandre Lacazette.
However, the former Lyon striker has yet to appear in the Europa League this term. Wenger has rotated substantially in that competition, preferring Giroud up top.
That has paid dividends to date with the North Londoners winning three out of three in the group and looking likely to go deep in the tournament.
The Gunners are 5/1 favourites and when you examine the current competition, that looks a fair price.
Wenger’s men look to be in a battle for a domestic top-four spot, too.
It’s a long season, but it already looks like the two Manchester clubs will be duking it out for the title. Tottenham Hotspur look in a class of their own in that third place.
In reality, Arsenal will be battling Chelsea and Liverpool for that final UCL spot. If they don’t make it, a Europa League win will guarantee Champions League football next season.
If they are to achieve that, they will be relying on Giroud to propel them towards glory. Going on his performances so far, Arsenal look like they’re onto a winner.
All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publication