When Chelsea signed striker Olivier Giroud from Arsenal, it was seen as a short-term solution that the club needed. A goalscoring forward who can also help his exciting cadre of attack-minded teammates get into scoring positions. For the most part, it was seen as a short-term solution that would benefit the club while it allowed Arsenal to move on a player who wanted out. The Frenchman has since endured a tough time in the western part of London, often finding himself benched for another forward before gaining his place again.
Recently, the latest coach to drop him was Thomas Tuchel. The German has just arrived at Chelsea but already started to show more game time to the likes of Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham. Giroud, though, has made a habit of reminding Chelsea managers that he is far better than they assume with a series of vital displays since arriving in London – many arriving in Europe. Indeed, Giroud was a key part of a Chelsea side who won the UEFA Europa League under Maurizio Sarri.
Giroud, then, has continued that return to form with a spectacular overhead kick away from home against Atletico Madrid. It has provided his team with a 1-0 away win; a crucial advantage against one of the best teams in Europe. It was also another reminded that Giroud has proven himself time and time again and that the regular dropping of him often ends with one solution – the return of the Frenchman to the starting line-up.
Will Giroud leave Chelsea in the summer?
Ever since the arrival of Timo Werner, this looked set to be the last season in blue for Giroud. However, the Frenchman has continued to turn doubters into believers this season and has contributed both under Frank Lampard and now under Tuchel. Now, it looks like he has done enough to convince Chelsea that holding on to him might be for the best. Indeed, the new manager has admitted his mistake already in not giving Giroud more game time after his starring role from the beginning against Atleti.
Speaking after the game in Madrid, Tuchel said regarding the decision to rest Giroud in the 1-1 draw with Southampton: ‘We thought long about putting him in and you are absolutely right, it was a decision clearly a possibility that Oli started against Southampton, but we analysed them and they are a very aggressive team, they attack high up the pitch, so we expected more spaces behind the last line and we wanted to have more deep runs.
”In the end I only had three changes because in our league it’s only possible to have three changes. ‘I was not too happy with my game decisions in the game against Southampton, maybe we missed the possibility to bring him on at the end. But we also can say we saved him for today.”
Justification, then, for one of the best target men in Europe – this is yet another Chelsea manager who has been persuaded that, out of their expensive forward line, the veteran striker might be the best bet.