It may have taken longer than we all expected, but Chelsea finally managed to found themselves back into their usual winning rhythm yesterday. Up against Crystal Palace for the Premier League, the Blues got a 2-1 scoreline to add their 5th victory in 16 games since the turn of the year.
However, the score does not reflect how dominant the hosts were throughout a match in which Palace players flung themselves in front of the ball to keep Chelsea at bay. In this affair, striker Olivier Giroud may have been the one player most affected with the combination of Palace’s hustle and our general bad luck in shooting to keep him away from scoring his first Premier League goal at Chelsea.
“We were 2-0 up and we struggled a bit to score the third one, which could have relieved us and let us play without fear until the end, but we did well and it was important to get the three points.”
“Sometimes the goal looks smaller in certain games and that was the fact for me. I kept going, kept believing I could score but I was a bit unlucky. The defender saved the ball off the line, and after that I hit the post. After that I just tried to play with my team-mates and the most important thing was that I felt good on the pitch.”
During the match, Giroud showed great sync not only with his colleagues in the attacking line but also with teammates in other areas such as Davide Zappacosta and Marcos Alonso, who were constantly looking for the Frenchman to meet ends on their crossing from the flanks. It is all a sign of how quickly Giroud has adapted to the team, and vice-versa.
“As a striker, sometimes you don’t look at the goal, you shoot and it’s going in but you need a bit of luck. It’s important keep the confidence high and work for your team-mates so I tried to deliver some passes for Willian and Eden [Hazard]. I’m happy because we won and even if I didn’t score I’m sure I will in the next games.”
“I think I’m adapting well, I try to have a good understanding on the pitch with the number 10s like Eden and Willian.”
“We did some great movements. We could, and should, have scored more goals but as long as you are getting chances to score it means you are creating spaces so that’s good. Now we need more efficiency and a bit of luck.”
But even if Giroud went off the pitch at minute 72 of the match-up as a player well deserving of a goal for all of his efforts that went astray for whichever reasons, the game’s best player was his attacking companion Willian. The Brazilian continues to show his best in times of Chelsea’s struggles, showing progress in his play even though he is already a 29-year-old with speed as one of his main traits.
No wonder Giroud is already joining the rows of praise for his teammate, for all that he has brought on the field in his previous games.
“[Willian has] been very efficient in the last weeks, he’s doing very well and he’s on a good run. We need players who can make the difference all through the game. He’s got everything to bring his quality for the team.”
With the win over Palace and Liverpool’s loss to Manchester United this weekend, Chelsea have closed the gap between them and the top four spots to four points from the five following their loss against Manchester City last week. But the fight is far from over as there are not only our nine Premier League “finals” and FA Cup clash with Leicester City, but also the upcoming battle with Barcelona as a season-deciding encounter ahead of us.
“Obviously we needed the three points. We basically had nine finals to win, we’ve won the first one but now we put the Premier League on the side and we have to focus on Barcelona.”
“I think we have a good chance to go through if we stick together with solidarity. We know it will be tough but I believe in the quality of this team.”
-Olivier Giroud; Source: Chelsea FC
To end this final stretch of the season on a high note, quality and consistency will be key. May the Palace win be the beginning of it all!