When Chelsea faced Arsenal in the finals of Europa League 2018/19 held at Baku, Azerbaijan, the onus was on Sarri to defeat the king of Europa League Unai Emery. The Spaniard had the best record as coach in Europa League and therefore were his team favourite getting into the finals since the very beginning.
Sarri and his squad had different plans. The Italian surely depended on his star forward Eden Hazard to strike but it was more of Olivier Giroud whose magical header ensured the Blues would win.
The Frenchman was leading scorer of Europa League and scored his 11th goal of the campaign with a stunning header past his former team mate Petr Cech. His goal gave a poetic start to what was going to be a one-sided final.
This is just the finals. The Frenchman was instrumental in all the games that led the Blues into the final. He did struggle to get game time in the Premier League but destroyed the defences all around Europe with ease.
Giroud was kept on the bench for majority of the time with Gonzalo Higuan getting a nod over him. He however ensured that whatever little chances he got, he caught on to them.
Giroud’s goal-scoring spree began in the away game against BATE which sent his team into the knockout stages of the league. He then bagged a brace against PAOK in matchday five of the league.
To stretch Chelsea’s unbeaten run in the Europa League, he scored a brilliant free-kick against Vidi in a game that ended 2-2. The free-kick was followed by a hat-trick over Dynamo Kviv which led to win the Round-of-16 tie for Chelsea.
And when he scored against Slavia Prague in the semi-final tie of 4-3 win, he became the first ever Chelsea player to have scored more than 10 goals in the Europa League.
The Frenchman saved his best for the last, scoring his 11th in 4-1 win against Arsenal and assisting one to Eden Hazard that sealed Chelsea’s name on the silverware. And rest, as the say, is history.