Sensational footballing moments just keep on coming

2017 has only just begun, and already the Premier League has produced some sensational footballing moments. Giroud’s scorpion kick against Crystal Palace is being named goal of the season, Chelsea have continued their nearly record-breaking form, and Arsenal have managed to come from 3-0 down to draw against Bournemouth in a thriller on Tuesday night.


The stereotype of ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ has never been further from the truth. With a lethal attack and a leaky defence, Arsène Wenger has managed to create both a volatile set up and an exciting footballing style. And one of the most unlikely of players is fronting this exciting team – Olivier Giroud.

With his often critiqued lazy style of football, Giroud has been a victim of fan abuse for all his time at Arsenal. However, since his spectacular scorpion kick, all sceptical fans have been silenced. Giroud has instantaneously moved from a ridiculed figure to a symbol of Arsenal’s superiority. His failed scorpion kick on the edge of his own area and a dismal attempt at a bicycle kick near Bournemouth’s penalty box on Tuesday suggest a touch of arrogance, however all is forgiven as yet another replay of his sensational goal appears on the television. Besides, arrogance is essential for a striker.

Despite all the excitement, it is impossible to get away from the negative critics. Instead of celebrating the footballing high, these critics talk of the inevitable low to follow. Giroud is the epitome of Arsenal, they write, announcing that he and they are both capable of moments of genius, but inevitably they will crumble under the weight of their own inconsistency.

In some ways this may be true, and I sincerely hope that Arsenal do not suffer their annual February-March slump, however this turn of form may signal hope for the future. Strikers rely on confidence to score goals, and with this new found self-belief, Giroud could become the free-scoring attacker he has always seemed so close to becoming.

Arsenal must learn, if they want to challenge for the title, that a well-rounded, deep and balanced squad is vital. They cannot rely on the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil for all their goals, nor can they simply hope that Cech will save every shot that comes his way.

I had hoped that Mustafi would solve their historic defensive incompetence, however his last match led me to believe the contrary. The starting XI should not, as many pundits lead people to believe, ‘pick itself’; it should be a challenge for the manager to decide who to leave out.

In an ideal world Giroud, Perez, Sanchez, Walcott and Iwobi would all be on fearsome form, and Wenger would be spoilt for choice. In reality, this is not the case, and that makes the Gunners vulnerable to injuries sabotaging their season (as it has done in the past).

Liverpool played a similar erratic style under Brendan Rodgers, seeing huge scorelines on a regular basis. It was ultimately this method that cost Liverpool the title in their infamous 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace at the end of the 2013/14 season. Although Arsenal does not have as formidable a force as Luis Suarez, they are in danger of succumbing to the same weaknesses.

Amidst all the inconsistency below them, Chelsea had strolled away from the competition, winning game after game, that was until last night. To me they are destined to be champions.

Only a few weeks ago it looked like it was going to be the closest Premier League ever, but the recent competitions, particularly over the festive period, have exposed the failures of the main title challengers.

Antonio Conte has returned Chelsea to their finest, leaving the managerial superpowers in his wake. 2016 was the year of the underdog, but 2017 heralds the return of the mighty.

This year has begun with a bang. Sublime strikes, captivating comebacks, managerial mayhem – and we haven’t even had a week. It will do well to live up to last year’s standards, but it seems that 2017 is up to the challenge.

Joshua Korber Hoffman is a 15-year-old football fanatic and Arsenal supporter. He writes a football blog called The Young Gun, in which his love for writing and the beautiful game intersect.

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