Olivier Giroud is a striker that will always divide opinions among fans. His critics insists he doesn’t score enough goals to be considered the main striker in a top club like Chelsea but his fans see beyond the goals.
If what you want from your striker is just goals and nothing more, then Giroud isn’t the striker for your team but if you want a selfless striker that creates space for the players around him, then Giroud is your man.
Chelsea star Eden Hazard enjoys playing alongside Giroud because of the selfless play from the France international and Hazard sees Giroud as the best target man in the world. Hazard isn’t far from the truth. Hazard knows whenever he plays next to Giroud, he will get space to torment defenders and get service too.
Giroud won the World Cup with France, starting every game for the champions bar the first game and France coach Didier Deschamps had complete faith in him and saw him as an important member of his team. Despite failing to score a goal for France in the World Cup and getting just one shot on target during the tournament, Giroud was an important player for France.
Giroud’s ability to hold up play and draw in defenders due to his strength, and his awareness and ability to play the right pass to the players around him like Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe was important for the French team.
We saw the best of Giroud again in the 3-0 Europa League win over Dynamo Kiev on Thursday night at Stamford Bridge. Pedro could easily have gotten a hat-trick against Dynamo Kiev due to the selfless link-up play of Giroud.
With his back to goal, Giroud received a pass from Pedro, held up play brilliantly, and passed the ball into the path of Pedro who finished brilliantly. It was a brilliant goal which once again showed the best of Giroud.
Michael Owen always admitted he enjoyed playing alongside Emile Heskey because of the physical presence of the big striker and just like Giroud, Heskey’s attributes were never appreciated because he didn’t score enough goals.
Giroud has started just six games for Chelsea this season and I believe we would have been in a better standing in the league if he had started more games. Chelsea dropped so many points due to Maurizio Sarri’s insistence on playing Hazard as a centre forward. Hazard is a brilliant player but he is no striker. When you have teams sitting deep and defending in numbers, playing Giroud who can hold up play and bring others into the game is important.
I don’t expect Giroud to be Chelsea’s main striker but I believe he is an important player in the team especially when we face teams that defend in numbers. Giroud won’t give you goals but his value to the team is his ability to give players like Hazard, Pedro, Willian and Callum Hudson-Odoi the chance to win games for Chelsea.