The start of the season for Chelsea had many new faces inserted into Frank Lampard’s lineup. The London club was faced with the difficulty of a summer transfer ban and this limited their ability to purchase key players. It was expected that Olivier Giroud would be heavily relied upon with Tammy Abraham being young and having little experience in the top flight and Mitchy Batshuayi, once again, having to prove himself with Chelsea.
Tammy Abraham excelled and exceeded expectations when he was on loan for three seasons and scored over 20 goals for Bristol City as well as Aston Villa in the Championship. This earned him a spot in Chelsea’s starting eleven as he secured the number nine position for their season opener against Manchester United. He had a strong start to the season and scored seven goals in his first five Premier League matches.
Before the season came to a stop, Abraham was Lampard’s preferred choice for the number nine position. The forward was hampered by injuries but recovered before the season restarted. Since the resumption of the season, he started in two of their games and has run into poor form as he went scoreless for ten straight matches before his goal against Crystal Palace on July 7th. While Abraham has scored plenty of goals for the Blues, on many occasions he struggled in the final third which has prompted Lampard to make changes to his lineup.
Back in January, Giroud was often spoken about in the winter transfer market and was rumoured to join a handful of clubs such as Inter Milan, Lazio and Tottenham Hotspurs. A deal never came to fruition and in April, Chelsea picked up the option to extend his contract by a year which has been the best scenario for the Blues. Lampard had no options to replace Giroud and needed him to stay with Chelsea.
“I was supposed to leave in the January transfer window because I wasn’t playing much and I needed more game time to make the France squad for Euro 2020,” Giroud said.
“I very nearly left the club but I really think that God wanted me to stay at Chelsea.
“The manager told me he couldn’t let me leave because he didn’t have anyone to replace me. Everyone knows what happened so I won’t go back over it but the coach spoke to me privately and told me that he’d give more games.”
Giroud didn’t begin the season as a starter with the club. As the first half of the season progressed, Giroud became the third option with Batshuayi as a second choice after Abraham.
However, Batshuayi’s performance versus United back in February phased him out of the lineup. He wasn’t clinical in the final third, his finishing was very poor and he lacked motivation or effort throughout the game. With Abraham also struggling to score and not finish his chances in the final third, this opened the door for Giroud to once again, make himself the starter.
Since the restart of the season, Giroud has seized control of his opportunity to be a starter and has scored five goals in eight EPL matches, including one goal in the FA Cup semi-finals. The striker has been vital in Chelsea’s recent victories as he’s given them a strong presence up front. He has been clinical in the final third and has been aggressive in his approach towards the goal.
Giroud’s recent performance versus Manchester United in the semi-finals of the FA Cup earned praise from Lampard.
“‘He sets an amazing example. He kept training well, had the most positive attitude possible and he just exudes professionalism,” Lampard said.
“I know what he can do, the presence and quality he has. We have to make sure we work off and around him but he’s been great and the young players should see in him everything it takes to be a professional.”
Giroud has been a class act and a true professional this season. Also, he isn’t one to complain when having to sit on the bench on a consistent basis. When Lampard has called upon the Frenchman to enter as a substitution or starter, he has shown a strong work ethic that has awarded the striker with goals. Nevertheless, his presence on the pitch as a leader has been influential for the upcoming youngsters.
In their matches against Aston Villa, Watford and Norwich City, Giroud scored the winning goals in which helped earn nine crucial points for his side. With the Frenchman playing at his best at the moment, it might be a while before Abraham is reinserted in the lineup as a starter.
With Chelsea going into their final match in a close race with Leicester City and United for the final two spots into Champions League, their number nine has risen to the occasion at the most fortunate time.