Olivier Giroud: French Striker Dubbed 'Scorpion King' After Wonder Goal

 John Sinnott

A "scorpion" is suddenly a new danger for English Premier League goalkeepers.

Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford was the first to experience the venom of a scorpion kick in Manchester United's 3-1 win at Old Trafford on December 26.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan connected with a cross that was behind him but the Armenian still managed to flick the ball with the back of his heel into the net.

On Sunday it was Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey that was left with a bitter taste in his mouth after Olivier Giroud produced an equally outrageous scorpion kick to give Arsenal the lead in a 2-0 win that kept Arsene Wenger's side in the Premier League title race.

Giroud attributed his goal to "maximum luck."

"It's not difficult to say that is the best one, because I think I needed good help to score this goal," Giroud told the Arsenal website.

"Thanks God, I was a bit lucky but it was the only thing I could do. The ball was behind me and I tried the back heel and obviously, after that, it was all about luck."

While Giroud admitted Mkhitaryan's effort had "maybe inspired" him, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright described the French international's effort as "the best Arsenal goal I've ever seen, the most beautiful goal an Arsenal player has ever scored.

Palace keeper Hennessey described Giroud's effort as a goal of the season contender, though he was more prosaic in describing the beauty of the Frenchman's strike.

"I just think he sticks a leg out and it hits him in the right area, but Giroud's goal is up there for goal of the season," Hennessey told the Croydon Advertiser. "It's the best goal scored against me anyway."

Arguably, it was a goalkeeper that produced the most outrageous incarnation of the scorpion kick.

During an international friendly with England in 1995, Colombia goalkeeper Rene Higuita morphed his body into the shape of a scorpion to clear a cross from Jamie Redknapp with both heels.

A scorpion kick goal -- scored by Simon Skrabb for Swedish side Atvidabergs -- is also on FIFA's goal of the year award.

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Sports
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