Olivier Giroud lit up the Champions League with his overhead kick against Atletico Madrid in Chelsea’s first leg against the Spanish oppositions on Tuesday night. It was not the first time the Frenchman made such an impact on such a big stage for Chelsea and after his goal against Atletico Madrid, it does not seem that this will be his last either.
Olivier Giroud has been widely underrated for a while now with the 34year-old often facing criticism for his lack of involvement in a game or for his lack of pace or being called ‘just a target man’. On the contrary, Oliver Giroud is so much more than that. The former Arsenal man has time and again proven his worth not just to Chelsea but also to the French faithful, as he played an instrumental part in France’s 2018 World Cup win where Giroud formed 1/3 of France’s frontline alongside the inventive Grizemann and the then-teenage sensation in Kylian Mbappe. Olivier Giroud also played a pivotal part in Chelsea’s 2019 Europa league victory with the Frenchman finishing top scorer in the competition with 11 goals to his name.
WHY DOES GIROUD DESERVE A NEW CONTRACT AT CHELSEA?
Olivier Giroud has been unbelievably clinical in the Champions League this season as he already has 6 goals in the competition with only Erling Haaland having more goals, however, Giroud has played lesser minutes as compared to the Norwegian.
In November 2020, the then head coach of Chelsea, Frank Lampard was asked whether he feels Olivier Giroud is a part of his plans this season and Frank Lampard responded saying, ‘ Every now and then I get asked this question about Ollie and I do not understand it. He has played pivotal roles for the club and this season, his role is a little different but he has made a big impact off the pitch as well as I see him constantly talking to Tammy and Werner and advising them and that is just who he is as a player. His attitude and behavior in training is impeccable, so as a coach, I cannot ask for anything more’.
Ironically enough, this was Frank Lampard’s pre-match press conference before they faced Rennes in the Champions League, and it was crucial that Chelsea win the game to secure top spot in the group. The match turned out to be a cagey affair with Rennes equalizing in the 85th minute after Hudson-odoi opened the scoring just after the 20-minute mark. The game was all set to end in a tie, however, Chelsea got a hold of the ball in the 90th minute and Werner was set to score the winner if not for a decent save by the Rennes keeper but as the ball went up in the air, Olivier Giroud attacked the ball ferociously over the head of a Rennes defender and sealed top spot for Chelsea in their group.
This turned out to be the changing point for the Frenchman this season, as Lampard then fielded the 34-year-old in their last game of the group against Sevilla where Giroud made it a historic night for himself as he scored 4 goals in a single match in the Champions League, only the 13th person ever to do so in the history of the competition. But what was so pleasing on the eye was the quality of the goals as the Frenchman completed a perfect hat-trick, with his first being a swift finish off his left foot while his second was a calm right-footed chip over the goalkeeper and eventually Giroud completed his hattrick with a trademark header. If this was not enough, the 34-year-old then thrashed a penalty to the keeper’s left leaving him no chance.
‘Olivier Giroud trains like a 20-year-old’ – Thomas Tuchel was beaming after his side defeated Atletico Madrid, with Giroud continuing to impress even under the new boss in Tuchel. Olivier Giroud could become a favorite of Tuchel very quickly, as Giroud can easily play alongside Timo Werner in a two-man attack while also be very beneficial to Christian Pulisic, as the American likes to run behind the center forward while Giroud likes to come close to head the ball onto to overlapping wingers. Moreover, if Tuchel continues with 3-4-2-1 formation, having a Giroud in the box could be very fruitful as players like Alonso, Hudson-Odoi-, Reece James and Ben Chilwell cross quite often and with Giroud’s heading ability and aerial presence, it could bring a lot of goals to Chelsea’s kitty.
Olivier Giroud has proven his worth to the Chelsea hierarchy ever since his arrival in January 2018 and while the Frenchman might have lost some pace, his overall play has only gotten better and if Tuesday night was any evidence, Giroud is aging like fine wine and it would not be a very hard decision in the summer to provide the Frenchman with a much-deserved contract extension.