Not all heroes wear capes, but perhaps Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud ought to look into that the next time he’s feeling inventive with his celebrations.
The Gunners came from a goal down versus Preston North End to win 2-1, courtesy of Giroud’s 89th minute finish, and thus secure their spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Arsenal’s victory sees them top up on Arsène Wenger’s proud record of never losing in the third round of the FA Cup, going 21 for 21, as the north Londoners boast an equally respectable feat of losing just once versus lower league opposition (Blackburn Rovers, 2013).
It could all have been so different for the Premier League outfit, however, as ex-Aston Villa trainee Callum Robinson put Preston 1-0 up within the first 10 minutes of the game.
The Lilywhites continued their search for a second and came close to doing so too on various occasions, more notably through Jordan Hugill and Paul Gallagher throughout the first half, as the Gunners edged closer to following Bournemouth, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion out of the tournament.
After a half largely dominated by the Championship side, Aaron Ramsey prepared to make Simon Grayson’s side pay for all the missed opportunities, as the Welshman returned to the scoresheet for the first time since his back-heeled goal against Tottenham Hotspur in March of last season with a well struck shot in the 46th minute.
But the headlines were reserved for one man and one man only, as Giroud pounced on a subtle heel flick from Lucas Perez to give Arsenal an 11th hour lead and clock up his fair share of attention on social media.
10 – Olivier Giroud has scored in each of his last eight starts for Arsenal in all competitions, netting 10 goals. Clinical.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 7, 2017
— Arsène's Son (@hughwizzy) January 7, 2017
Giroud is so underrated it's actually a disgrace. Hero. Olivier Giroud FC.
— Wenger's Bödyguard (@nana_alaouie) January 7, 2017
Giroud shouldn't be celebrating there, should be going back to the halfway line trying to get the third to kill the game.
— Paddy (@VieiraPaddy) January 7, 2017
Before signing for Arsenal, the two clubs closest to signing Giroud were Bayern Munich and Middlesbrough. Which I think just sums up Giroud.
— TF⁹ (@TheFalseNein) January 7, 2017
Olivier Giroud's week:
– Goal of Season ⚽️
– MOTM 🍾
– 2 Assists 🎯
– 91st Min ⚽️
– MOTM 🍾
– 89th Min winner ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/eAHr0c9rhU
— SPORF (@Sporf) January 7, 2017
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) January 7, 2017
The marmite-esque striker has developed a healthy habit of coming up with clutch moments in recent weeks, with his strike versus Preston increasing his overall tally for the season to nine goals in 18 appearances.
After scoring for a fourth consecutive game, four out of six of Giroud’s goals have all come no earlier than the 86th minute of the game, subsequently earning Arsenal an additional five points in the league and propelling their name into the hat for the draw of the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Prior to that, Arsenal’s number 12 also came up with the goods against Sunderland back in October, scoring a brace within minutes of hopping off the bench to take the Gunners from a 1-1 draw to a 3-1 lead at the Stadium of Light.
The Frenchman’s red-hot form is now sure to continue giving Wenger a selection headache, with Alexis Sanchez also excelling as a centre forward role prior to the festive period.