Once again, when Frank Lampard’s men were asked where a winning goal could come from, Olivier Giroud responded.
His winner against Norwich was another in a string of important goals he’s scored in his 2-and-a-half years in Blue. His bullet header from Christian Pulisic’s pinpoint cross kept the Blues firmly in third place.
Lampard will see retaining Champion’s League football as crucial if Chelsea are to continue progressing under his management. With just two games to spare, Giroud’s goal kept them on track to do just that.
It hasn’t always been good times for Giroud under Lampard’s tutelage, however. He’s only started ten games in the league this season, appearing in less than half of their total league matches.
While that’s an increase from the seven starts he received from Maurizio Sarri last season, he doesn’t have Europa League football to garner game time from this term, leaving France boss Didier Deschamps incensed with Lampard at times this year.
Deschamps claimed Giroud should leave the club as his lack of minutes would affect his position in the National Team. A reunion with Antonio Conte at Inter Milan was on the cards in January, but Giroud made the decision to remain.
Lampard promised that Giroud would have more chances to show his quality in the second half of the season. When fellow striker Tammy Abraham lost his form in front of goal, it was finally Oli’s time to shine.
After not scoring in the entire first half of the Premier League season, Giroud caught fire in 2020. He’s now scored six goals in the calendar year, including four goals since the COVID restart. For players with over 850 minutes, he has the fourth-highest goals/90 ratio in the league, ahead of the likes of Aubameyang, Kane, and Sterling.
He’s scored at important moments too, with four of his goals coming in single-goal margin victories. Without these strikes, Chelsea would be eight points worse off, sitting level on points with Wolves in sixth. United and Leicester would be sat comfortably in the top four places ahead of their final-day clash.
Put simply, Giroud has been absolutely vital in keeping Chelsea in the chase for Europe’s premier competition.
Following his side’s victory over Norwich, Lampard praised his World Cup-winning hitman. “He has scored important goals. He has never given me a problem, always trained well. His professionalism is always good.”
Lampard will surely be thanking Giroud for staying at Chelsea for the rest of the season at least. Although Chelsea have been inconsistent in the league since Giroud’s arrival, his goals have helped the club lift the F.A. Cup and Europa League in recent seasons.
If he is to depart at the conclusion of the season, Giroud will surely be hoping to contribute to a top-4 finish and second F.A. Cup to sign off on his fruitful time in London in style.