After a scintillating performance against Hull City in the FA Cup, which included two assists as well as his first ever goal for his new club, Olivier Giroud is looking for more. And not just for himself but for the team as well.
“That’s what the team needed after two disappointing results. It can happen but the most important thing is to bounce back. We must do job then think about next games.”
It was an inauspicious beginning to Giroud’s time at Chelsea, the back-to-back blowout losses to Bournemouth and Watford, the former of which had Giroud experience shocking defeats on consecutive nights, first with Arsenal then with Chelsea (albeit not as part of the matchday squad), but the Blues have won both the games that he started since. The big man gives a lot of credit to Conte’s passion and heart for engineering that turnaround.
“From the first game when I was behind the bench I was watching the game with big attention. But the coach just a few metres from me – it was special. You can feel he’s still a player in his head. You can tell he wants to help us on the pitch and he can’t just sit on the bench.”
Certainly a contrasting style to Giroud’s previous manager, and one that is inspiring confidence and faith in the 31-year-old, who wants nothing more than to just repay it. So far so good in that regard!
“Of course us strikers, they need a real human relationship with the coach, it’s nice to have the confidence of the coach, of the staff, and I just want to give it back.
“I feel like the last two opportunities [I’ve been given] I’ve brought my small thing to the big machine, Chelsea.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: BT Sport via Metro
Giroud’s situation mirrors Michy Batshuayi’s, with both strikers finding a situation much more to their liking since the big January Transfer Deadline Day Merry-go-round that also involved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — who , unlike Bats (5g, 1a) and Giroud (1g, 3a), has yet to make a similar impact at Arsenal. How all that will re-shake out come the summer remains to be seen, but for now, it’s proving to be a win-win situation.
That said, scoring against minnows like Hull City is one thing. Scoring against Barcelona, as Giroud well knowns from his matchup against them at this same stage two years ago, is an entirely different proposition. Giroud started and played in both legs of that Round of 16 clash, which Arsenal lost with a whimper, 5-1 on aggregate.
For Chelsea to make a better fist of things, we might just need a few more big contributions from the big man to the “big machine” (versus the ginormous machine of Barcelona).