Just as Chelsea’s striking issues were mounting up, an unsung hero shed light to their problems.
Indeed, Olivier Giroud showed the answer to what the Blues were lacking had been just sat on the bench in recent weeks, with a perfect display to brash aside Dynamo Kiev and move into the Europa League quarter-finals.
The Frenchman finally got the nod ahead of Gonzalo Higuain and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Just after people started criticising Didier Deschamps’ decision to select him for the Euro 2020 qualifiers ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, Giroud decided to shut up his critics in style.
That’s been the story of his career, really. While it’s hard to argue that the former Arsenal man has ever been a truly elite strike, does that really matter? A World Cup-winning striker, he knows what he can do and exactly how to do it.
He ran riot in Kiev, starting right from the get-go as he scored the opener with a poacher’s finish. However, his next two goals indicated how much of a talented striker he is. Giroud rushed into the box to score his second and flicked on a powerful header for his third, before assisting Callum Hudson Odoi with a brilliant defence-splitting pass.
The Frenchman almost played the role of two players into one with that fantastic performance which must’ve caught Maurizio Sarri’s eyes. The Italian’s preferred his long-time candidate Higuain, but Giroud’s display now makes it difficult for him to turn a blind eye.
Despite his size, he’s certainly far more mobile than Higuain, can get behind defenders and actually assert his authority in the box. Proven in the Premier League, the fact he’s been overlooked of late is a travesty.
Giroud’s also found back his goal-scoring touch and shouldn’t just be used as a super-sub. If his all-round display proved anything, Olivier Giroud is the key towards getting Chelsea playing incisive attacking football, while also getting the best out of Eden Hazard and co.
Chelsea fans, do you think Giroud deserves to start over Higuain? Join the discussion by commenting below…