Olivier Giroud

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Olivier Giroud returns to Arsenal after picking up injury with France

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One of France’s goalscorers from Friday won’t be available when Les Bleus face Germany on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Hazard calls Belgium teammate “the best player in the PL” ]

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has left his national side after picking up a thigh injury during Friday’s 2-0 win over Wales.

The 31-year-old will return to the Emirates Stadium early after being subbed off in the 73rd minute against the Welsh.

France is scheduled to meet Germany on Tuesday from the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne. The Germans are coming off a 0-0 draw on Friday against England.

Meanwhile, the 2017 FIFA Puskas winner (awarded to the Goal of the Year recipient) spoke on Saturday about his future with Arsenal after some raised questions about his decision to stay with the team despite the arrival of club and international teammate Alexandre Lacazette.

“I am not questioning myself about my future,” Giroud said. “I am happy at Arsenal and I am fine with the decision to stay because I want to. I am thinking that the story between the club and myself was not over and not finished. We will see what happens but I am happy at Arsenal for the moment.”

This season, Giroud has scored three goals in 14 appearances across all competitions for Arsenal, however, his production with Les Bleus is at an all-time high.

The Gunners front man has eight goals in 10 matches for France in 2017, which matches Giroud’s best single-year total for his national team (equalling 2016).

Video: Giroud gives Arsenal three points with superb overhead finish

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Red Star Belgrade posed a big test to Arsenal on Thursday, but it was Olivier Giroud that had the last laugh for the Gunners.

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The Frenchman delivered in spectacular fashion five minutes from time when Giroud scored a makeshift-bicycle kick following Theo Walcott‘s headed pass inside the penalty area.

Arsenal went on to win the match, 1-0, and currently sits atop Group H in the UEFA Europa League on nine points through three matches.

Giroud, who went the full 90 minutes for the Gunners, has had a knack for scoring some fine goals in an Arsenal kit over the years. That includes last year’s tremendous scorpion-kick goal against Crystal Palace in Premier League play (watch below).

Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud a Puskas award finalist

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Olivier Giroud‘s incredible scorpion kick from 10 months ago could earn him a FIFA award.

The Arsenal forward is a finalist for the annual FIFA Puskas award, honoring the year’s best goal. Joining Giroud is Baroka FC goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke and Deyna Castellanos from the Venezuelan National Team.

Giroud’s strike is memorable for a number of reasons. First, his nifty back-heel deep in his own half to Granit Xhaka opened up the opportunity. Then Giroud took off on a full sprint down the field to give Alexis Sanchez an option in the middle.

Of course, Sanchez’s cross was a bit behind the run of Giroud, but he left his left foot in the air just enough to redirect the ball off his heel into the top corner, finishing a brilliant sequence with an even more impressive finish.

Giroud has some company though. Castellanos, moments after Venezuela was scored upon, lazered a shot in from inside the center circle, a blast the goalkeeper couldn’t keep out. And Masuluke, a goalkeeper himself, scored on a stoppage time bicycle kick to save a draw in South African league action. Masuluke wasn’t just happy with the goal though. Like his field player teammates, he had to drop a dance move to the delight of the crowd and his team.

Watch the Puskas award videos below and let us know what’s your pick for Goal of the Year. The award will be announced on October 23.

(more…)

Wenger says comeback hero Giroud “decided to stay”

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Following the wild 4-3 win over Leicester City that opened the 2017/18 Premier League season, Arsene Wenger told the media that he gave Olivier Giroud the opportunity to leave Arsenal, but that the Frenchman “wants to stay.”

“I opened the door for him [to leave] at some stage,” Wenger told reporters at the post-match press conference, “because it’s important for him to play but I don’t want him to go. He wants to stay. It was one of the great days when he decided to stay.”

[ MORE: Giroud scores late winner as Arsenal beats Leicester 4-3 ]

When pressed again if there’s still a chance Giroud could leave before the window closes, Wenger persisted with, “It is a determined no.”

The signing of Alexandre Lacazette and the presence of Danny Welbeck has seen Giroud lose his already shaky starting place on the team. Last year, Giroud started just 11 games, with Wenger preferring to use Alexis Sanchez at the head of the attack even with Welbeck injured.

On Friday, with Sanchez injured for the Premier League opener, Wenger started Welbeck and Lacazette up front but brought Giroud on with 67 minutes to go. The Frenchman scored with five minutes left in regulation to give Arsenal a 4-3 win.

Clearly Giroud still has a role to play on the Gunners squad, with Wenger calling it a “relief” that the 30-year-old striker chose to stay.

Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City: Super subs complete wild Gunners comeback

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  • Lacazette scores 1st PL goal 2 minutes in
  • Leicester hit twice against the run of play
  • Welbeck equalizes on stroke of HT
  • Subs Ramsey, Giroud complete comeback

The Premier League opened in wild fashion at The Emirates as the Arsenal defense crumbled time and time again, but were rescued by substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, who each scored in the final six minutes to bring the Gunners from 3-2 down to a 4-3 win.

Arsenal started brilliantly and struck just two minutes in as the Gunners pinged the ball around the box perfectly. Hector Bellerin controlled a switch and cut the ball to Mohamed Elneny outside the top of the box. The Egyptian flicked the ball over the defense perfectly to the head of Lacazette waiting at the back post, and he poked a stunningly accurate header just between Kasper Schmeichel and the post.

[ MORE: Arsenal shows fighting spirit | 3 Things Learned ]

It wouldn’t last long. Just two minutes later, Leicester City hit back. The Foxes played a short corner eventually whipped in by Marc Albrighton to the far post, where new boy Harry Maguire headed it back in front of net for Shinji Okazaki who put his head to the ball from point-blank range for the equalizer.

The Gunners reclaimed control of the match after conceding, and bullied Leicester City off the ball whenever they stole possession. Arsenal nearly went back in front after some beautiful one-touch passing built up to a sliding Danny Welbeck shot, but his goalbound effort was blocked by Harry Maguire.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Despite that, Leicester City took their few chances and went shockingly in front against the run of play. Granit Xhaka gave the ball away poorly in the Arsenal half, and Albrighton was there to deliver another fabulous cross. It fell right at the feet of a streaking Jamie Vardy who bagged the easiest of tap-in goals.

Arsenal started to fall apart after conceding the lead, giving the ball away constantly and looking sliced open at the back. Okazaki came close to a second goal, heading yet another fabulous Albrighton cross just wide right.

The Gunners did get back level just before the break in first-half stoppage time with what looked like a prayer. A scuffed shot by a wheeling Lacazette clipped a defender and fell right into the path of Sead Kolasinac, who was free on goal with Welbeck, and he fed the England international who tapped in.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

After the break, the Gunners defense fell asleep again as Vardy snuck in front of Xhaka and headed in off a corner before the hour mark to put Leicester City up 3-2.

After going behind a second time, Arsenal again pushed forward and put Leicester on the back foot. They came agonizingly close as Schmeichel saved well on a deep effort from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Schmeichel was required again four minutes later as he smothered a shot from Bellerin. Arsene Wenger brought on Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud, and moved a host of players into unnatural positions in a desperate attempt to put on pressure.

That apparently did the trick, as Arsenal would complete the wild comeback. First, it was Ramsey in the 84th minute to finish from a tight angle after an expert side-footed assist from Xhaka. Then, just two minutes later, the hero Giroud headed off the underside of the crossbar just over the line for the win.