Chelsea

Chelsea: Giroud has proven he should be considered as one of the best strikers in the Premier League

Chelsea: Giroud has proven he should be considered as one of the best strikers in the Premier League

Giroud could be Chelsea’s saviour next season after Eden Hazard’s departure

Pre-conceptions. No matter what someone does, nothing is likely to make people change their opinion about something. Despite being a World Cup winner, his country’s third-highest goal-scorer of all-time, and having hit double digits in every season since arriving on English shores, Olivier Giroud just never seems to be able to convince anyone that he has what it takes. But after a starring performance to help Chelsea to European glory in midweek, the 32-year-old may have just proven a lot of people wrong.

With Chelsea’s potential transfer ban likely to see them being exiled from making any new signings for the next two windows, Maurizio Sarri is likely to be stuck with just Giroud and Tammy Abraham as his front-like strikers next season. On the face of it, the pair are perhaps the least formidable forwards Chelsea have had in the Premier League era, with neither really able to strike fear into the hearts of their opponents. But with his performance against his old club Arsenal in the Europa League final, Giroud once again silenced the doubters.

It was a display brimming with the realisation that a spot to become the side’s number nine could potentially be up for grabs, and aside from his well-taken goal, was a constant threat for the Gunners’ defenders and linked up brilliantly with Eden Hazard. Indeed, being the target man that he is, the Frenchman will always be an outlet for his defenders and goalkeeper when under pressure to not being afraid to go long. And that perhaps is why Giroud should be trusted with more regular opportunities. One of those rare strikers whose biggest quality will always be bringing others into play. It was no coincidence that Hazard himself remarked about how much he enjoyed playing with the France international.

The Belgian said back in September (via talkSPORT): “Olivier’s a target man, maybe the best in the world; I think so. When he gets the ball he can hold the ball and we can go in deep with him, so for us it’s a pleasure to play with him.” Whilst Chelsea’s talisman may no longer be at Stamford Bridge next season, whoever steps in to fill his shoes, whether it be Christian Pulisic or the returning Callum Hudson-Odoi, will relish the prospect of playing those quick and dangerous one-twos. It was the undoing of Arsenal on Wednesday, and it could be the making of Chelsea next season.

Indeed, perhaps Abraham doesn’t need to be rushed into the starting spot for one of the world’s biggest clubs just yet. Surely blooding him in would be far, far better for his development. Yes, it’d be nice to see him handed more of a chance, but it’s not realistic to ask him to be the main striker at such an elite club yet.

Whilst the idea of not being able to sign any new players may initially be a cause for concern for Blues fans, it’s worth reminding that they have someone already at the club who’s proven to be a very good Premier League striker at two clubs who arguably haven’t even played to his strengths. With Hazard likely gone, it may be the perfect time for Chelsea to set up their game-plan entirely for the French forward, and watch him go from being just ‘very good’, to ‘great’.

Chelsea fans, would you back Olivier Giroud to be your starting striker next season? If not, why not? Join the discussion by commenting below…

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