Olivier Giroud is perhaps one of the most underrated strikers in recent times. Ligue 1 winner, 3 FA Cups and of course the 2018 World Cup. He wins silverware and has played pivotal roles in those successes. Moreover 125 goals in his 8 years in England, it’s not talked about enough about the impact the Frenchman has had for Arsenal as well as Chelsea.
Olivier Giroud – Surplus to requirements
Frank Lampard from the outset was not his biggest fan. Though there was never any issues between the former Chelsea midfielder and his 33 year old striker personally or professionally, clearly he was not in the Blues boss’ favour. From a systematic point of view. It began well with Tammy Abraham taking the league by storm in what was unprecedented run of form for the striker. The Englishman’s 15 goals in 34 appearances across all competitions this season meant the former Arsenal striker couldn’t get a look in. With Michy Batshuayi as a backup too, Giroud was surplus to requirements.
The issue with Giroud is his lack of pace and energy. The French international has never been gifted with blistering pace and now especially at 33, he’s hardly got legs to run with the ball. It meant that immediately, he did not fit in Lampard’s high energy possession based and pressing system. As a result, the former Montpellier forward has made just 8 appearances under the English manager in 2019/20. 357 minutes, with 4 of the appearances off the bench. Clearly not in favour.
Many expected the French striker to leave Stamford Bridge in January. Ourselves included with this article HERE. A reunion with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte seemed imminent. Yet a deal could never materialise. Then a shock last minute move to bitter rivals Spurs was on. But that failed to make any progress either.
Only now Olivier Giroud is getting more game time. But my issue with it and Lampard is how it’s taken injury woes for Tammy Abraham and a clearly shot for confidence Michy Batshuayi to play the veteran striker. Yes, perhaps he doesn’t fit the system in terms of energy and pressing. But at least bring him off the bench to impact the game. Batshuayi has been out of form for a while now. Yet Lampard has been reluctant (up until now) to use the option he has from the bench. A target man and a proven goal scorer in Giroud.
He’s one of the highest goal scorers as a substitute in PREMIER LEAGUE HISTORY. Even if he isn’t quick, doesn’t fit the system or you have a focus on younger players, when things aren’t going to plan, Giroud should be brought on. No ifs or buts. When you have one of the best crossers in the league in Reece James and one of the best target man, it just makes sense. Batshuayi is completely shot for confidence and doesn’t have the experience or physicality of his French teammate. Sometimes, you need a different option to surprise your opponents. Even if that means adapting or sacrificing your system for half a game.
Giroud and Lampard – True professionals
Don’t get me wrong, I like Frank Lampard. He’s charismatic, clearly a fan favourite and really done well considering the circumstances. Yet I feel his treatment of Olivier Giroud has been wrong. It’s not as bad as Pogba-Mourinho or Emery-Ozil where there falling outs. Credit to both parties in that regard for how professional they’ve kept it without creating any negative PR for club.
But I feel it’s gone under the radar how reluctant he’s been to use the Frenchman. Establish a philosophy and stick to your principles, yes. But if things aren’t going to plan, bring on Giroud to change the game. He’s been prolific of the bench in his career for a reason and I’m glad that he’s now getting the opportunities he deserves.
You can see the results on the pitch too, with Giroud scoring the opener against Tottenham last week. Further to that, an industrious performance today against Liverpool just emphasises my point. 33, slow and maybe not first choice. But Olivier Giroud is and always will be a great option off the bench. Gamechanger.
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