Not too long ago, Chelsea pulled off a miraculous comeback at St Mary’s, much to the dismay of new Saints boss Mark Hughes. Southampton’s 2-0 lead was cut short and overturned by Eden Hazard, and you guessed it, Oliver Giroud. We’re here today to state why Olivier Giroud needs to be given more playing time at the Bridge.
The Frenchman came on in the 61st minute for the ineffective Álvaro Morata and showed Antonio Conte why he should be Chelsea’s no.1 striker. To put things into perspective, in his 61 minutes on the pitch, Morata only attempted 2 shots on goal- 0 on target, completed 10 passes, completed 0 dribbles and was dispossessed once. In contrast, Olivier Giroud came on, and in 39 minutes he won 3 aerial duels, completed 75% of his passes and scored two match-winning goals. That’s not just an impact sub, that’s a first-class starter.
Olivier Giroud is one of the finest target men in world football today. The former Marseille man is aerially dominant, technically competent, hard-working, intelligent and a subtle finisher in front of goal. He has the assets that Morata could only dream of having and that’s why he needs to be starting ahead of the Spaniard from now on.
His cameo performance against Southampton proved why Olivier Giroud should be given a more prominent role at Chelsea next season. The former Arsenal man has proved since moving to the blue side of London that he made the right decision not to accept being in the shadow of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette.
The Frenchman also believed that he’d have a better chance at world cup selection in a team that would play him more. However, Antonio Conte didn’t seem to get the memo, neither does he seem to understand how good Olivier Giroud indeed is.
In his short Chelsea career thus far, Giroud has already directly contributed to 4 goals. Olivier Giroud’s link-up play has also been exceptional, in the league he’s created 6 chances for his teammates while averaging a 69% pass accuracy in the final third. If you add the goals he scored for Arsenal before January, then the 32-year-old has hit 10 goals for the season, despite spending most of the campaign on the bench.
Although he was thoroughly abused at the Emirates, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an Arsenal fan that didn’t value the contribution of the striker. As an Arsenal player, Olivier Giroud became one of the few players to reach over 100 goals for the Gunners; he netted 115 goals in his six years at the club. With that goal ratio, he’s officially one of the most prolific strikers in Arsenal’s history.
So, when you have a striker of such pedigree at your disposal, why is Antonio Conte subjecting the Frenchman to substitute appearances? It’s decision like these that have left Conte’s tenure at Stamford Bridge in ruins. The Blues currently sit in 6th place, 27 points behind the new champions Manchester City. It’s more than likely that the Italian won’t be here next season, but whoever is, will surely utilise the 32-year-old in a more efficient way.