EPL Table: 2016 Top Scorers, Standings After Post-Week 21 Premier League Scores

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2016

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 13:  Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring his team's third goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on January 13, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud took a big step in his quest to become the Premier League's top scorer in Week 21, as he bagged a brace in Arsenal's 3-3 draw against Liverpool and his main competitors all failed to find the net.

Roberto Firmino added a brace of his own in that match, while Sunderland's Jermain Defoe stole the show against Swansea City with a hat-trick.

Here's a look at Wednesday's results:

EPL Week 21 Results: Wednesday
Manchester City0-0Everton
BBC Sport

The current Premier League standings:

EPL Standings
3Manchester City2112453921+1840
5West Ham219843324+935
6Manchester United219752720+734
8Crystal Palace219482320+331
13West Bromwich Albion217682227-527
19Newcastle United2146112238-1618
20Aston Villa2125141737-2011
BBC Sport

The Premier League top scorers:

EPL Top Scorers
1Jamie VardyLeicester15
1Romelu LukakuEverton15
3Riyad MahrezLeicester13
3Odion IghaloWatford13
5Olivier GiroudArsenal12
6Harry KaneTottenham11
7Jermain DefoeSunderland9
8Georginio WijnaldumNewcastle8
8Sergio AgueroMan. City8
10Marko ArnautovicStoke7
BBC Sport


Romelu Lukaku, Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, Odion Ighalo and Harry Kane all failed to find the net on Wednesday, and that's great news for Giroud, whose brace against Liverpool means he has now scored 12 goals this season, good for fifth place in the top-scorer's race.

The Frenchman should have added a third, as he somehow managed to miss an open goal from just a few yards out, but his performance on Wednesday was magnificent, regardless.

England international Gary Lineker thinks he's still among the most underrated players in the league:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

Olivier Giroud is an extremely underrated player. His intelligent movement and finishing are exceptional. He'll always score plenty of goals

Giroud scored Arsenal's second and third goals, the first one with a reaction move after a corner kick fell into the box. His second was a thing of beauty, a typical striker's move where he controlled the ball on the turn before slotting it past the helpless Simon Mignolet.

His hold-up play was also excellent, and the only real black spot on his performance was the comical miss in the first half.

With Mignolet off his line, Giroud had the goal begging when he slid toward a cross. But, somehow, he managed to turn the ball back toward Mignolet and the Liverpool defenders as opposed to putting it in the back of the net.

Bleacher Report UK couldn't believe it:

B/R Football @brfootball

That Olivier Giroud miss has Arsene Wenger like… https://t.co/xUjnePpysM

Speaking to BT Sport (h/t Football Insider's Alex Stevens), Giroud couldn't hide his disappointment about the final result:

It is disappointing because we were 3-2 up one minute from the end of the game. It was a nice game for the fans because of the intensity and there were a lot of chances to score. 

But when you lose three goals in an away game it is hard to win these games. We should have been stronger at the end because we did well in the second half.

It's hard to fault Giroud's performance, however, and he was arguably the top player on the pitch at Anfield. Another man vying for that recognition is Firmino, who twice gave Liverpool the lead in the first half.

First, he reacted quickly when Petr Cech was only able to push a shot as far as the Brazilian, and following Aaron Ramsey's equaliser, he produced a truly stunning effort.

Taking control of the ball outside the box, he shuffled between two defenders before taking aim and curling a strike past Cech and into the top corner.

Per ESPN FC's Paul Carr, his output against Arsenal came as something of a surprise:

Paul Carr @PaulCarrTM

Roberto Firmino has more goals so far today (2) than he did in his first 24 games for Liverpool this season (1).

It has taken Firmino quite a bit of time to get settled at Anfield, but he has looked more confident in the last few weeks, and a better statistical output was perhaps due.

It's probably too late for the Brazilian to make a run at the top-scorer's title, but he'll have a big role to play in the second half of the season, regardless.

In Wednesday's other matches, Defoe certainly made the biggest impact in Sunderland's 4-2 win over Swansea City, scoring three of the Black Cats' four goals.

Kyle Naughton's red card just before half-time opened the door for Sunderland to take advantage of the open space, and Defoe, who had already scored one at that point, gladly obliged.

By the time he scored his third, fans like ALS_Fanzine went crazy:



The hat-trick takes the veteran into the top 10 of the top-scorer's rankings, although he's still six goals behind the leaders, Lukaku and Vardy.

The latter hasn't found the net since the win over Chelsea midway through December, and it looks like his hot streak has truly come to an end. Lukaku remains among the favourites to finish the season on top, although Giroud isn't too far behind and Sergio Aguero is finally healthy again.