Eric Lichaj already had one goal to his name in the FA Cup match against Arsenal. By a defender’s standards, that was already surprising.
It wasn’t enough for the American.
Lichaj deposited an absolutely stunning volley into the top corner of the net to give Nottingham Forest a 2-1 halftime lead over Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger helplessly watching from the stands amid a touchline ban.
A cross into the box by Ben Osborne meant for the head of the dangerous Ben Brereton was cleared by a pair of Arsenal defenders, but only to the top of the box. There, Lichaj collected the clear by chesting the ball to himself and volleying it before it hit the ground. He hit the ball spectacularly, looping it over the defense and leaving goalkeeper David Ospina crumbling to his ankles.
Lichaj earlier in the match had put Forest 1-0 up 20 minutes in when he headed home a free-kick. The 29-year-old expertly snuck in behind the entire defensive pack and used the 2-man Arsenal wall to play himself onside. Kieran Dowell sent in the free-kick, and Lichaj crashed the ball into the back of the net despite a heavy challenge by Ospina.
The goal was good enough to get Lichaj trending on Twitter worldwide.
The pair of goals on the day up Lichaj’s goal tally to three on the season for Forest, coming into today with just one on the campaign so far. It’s also one more than he has for the US national team in his 13 caps for his country. He goes for the hat-trick in the second half as Forest looks to hold off what will surely be plenty of pressure from the Gunners. Nottingham Forest has conceded 42 goals in Championship play so far, just two less than the most in the league.