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Chelsea recorded a resounding 4-1 win against Arsenal in the Europa League final last season, as the Blues won the trophy under Maurizio Sarri.
Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud finished top-scorer in that season’s competition with 11 goals and was also on the scoresheet in that night at Baku, as he scored the opening goal against his former side.
Giroud spent five-and-a-half years at Arsenal before joining Chelsea in January 2017, and it was a special game for him.
“That final against Arsenal was obviously very special for me emotionally,” Giroud told the official Chelsea website.
“When I saw that we were going to face Arsenal in the final, I knew it was going to be special.
“On top of that, it was only a year after I left. I have quite a lot of friends over there, people who work in the club’s offices. That was extra motivation for me and I knew that it was going to be a high-pressure match.”
Giroud admitted it was a bit technical to face former teammates who knew his game in-out.
“You definitely prepare for the match in a special way, in a different way, because you know that they know you inside out, and they know that I know them well too,” he continued.
“You have to plan for the match but not play the match before it’s happened. You have to think ahead. I thought that if I had a one-on-one with Petr Cech, who knows me really well, or a penalty, I would have to shoot there and not somewhere else. ‘I knew that he knew me really well. I was also going to play against my friend Laurent Koscielny, who has also known me inside-out for years because we started together at Tours in 2008.
“It was a very special moment but it was like extra motivation for me because I wanted to show them that I still had some energy in me and some good years left in me.”