Olivier Giroud pulled off another exceptional Europa League performance in Chelsea’s 4-3 victory over Slavia Prague on Thursday night.
The striker was partly involved in all of Chelsea’s four goals against Slavia Prague.
Giroud provided the assist for Pedro’s opener. Giroud held on to the ball brilliantly before finding Eden Hazard, who set up Chelsea’s second courtesy of an own goal by Simon Deli. Giroud scored Chelsea’s third from a Pedro cross and it was Giroud’s shot that parried into Pedro’s path for Chelsea’s fourth.
Giroud’s ten Europa League goals this season means the France international is the first Chelsea player to score 10 goals in Europe in a single season. He is also the Europa League’s top scorer.
For all of Giroud’s brilliance in the Europa League this season, he has started just one of Chelsea’s last 13 Premier League games. That one game, he scored.
According to former Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle, every Chelsea fan except Maurizio Sarri knows the importance of Giroud to the team.
“Giroud is class, and he gives Chelsea a focal point and allows Hazard to play off a focal point, which is important,” Glenn Hoddle told BT Sport. “I think everyone in this stadium knows that bar Sarri.
“Higuain looks as if he’s thinking about things before he’s even going to get a shot off. He’s a little bit slower than he was in yesteryear, he was a fantastic striker, don’t get me wrong. He looks like he should be in better shape than when he arrived, but for me he looks actually a little bit in less good shape, he looks as if he’s put a bit of weight on since he’s been here.
“Perhaps he’s been in the gym too much, I don’t know.”
Meanwhile, Giroud revealed after Chelsea’s 4-3 win over Slavia Prague on Thursday that the Blues dropped intensity in the second-half, which gave Slavia the opportunity to score twice in the second-half.
Giroud said: “We started well and were efficient in the box. Maybe we dropped our intensity in the second half and made a few mistakes, but Slavia never give up and the last 10 minutes were a bit box-to-box crazy. The first half was very enjoyable but we need to learn from our mistakes in the second half.”