It’s been less than three months since Olivier Giroud switched allegiance from north to west, from red to blue, from Arsenal to Chelsea, and he’s wasted no time at all in endearing himself to the fanbase, in making it look like he’s always belonged here. The only real question about him at this point is ... what took you so long?! He’s either a really good PR-man; or a quality professional who just found a very receptive team for his certain set of skills and attributes; or a born winner obscured by the Arsenal veil for all those years since he signed for Wenger in 2012 as a Champion of France (remember them Montpellier shooting stars?).
It may not be rocket science what Giroud’s doing of course. Say a few things about winning (Chelsea DNA!), talk up the new club’s greatness, ambition, trophy-record and future prospects for more. But Giroud somehow makes it all feel genuine, where we have no choice but to believe that he truly embodies these feelings, these values, these aims.
“Chelsea is a competitor. In the last 13 years, Chelsea have been the biggest club in this country because they have won the most. I signed here to win trophies. Obviously Manchester City have done very well this season to be [Premier League] champions and that’s why [the title race] is over for this year.
“But I believe we can compete very well next season. I am looking forward to that. But we need to finish the job this season.”
In his 5.5 years at Arsenal, Giroud scored over 100 goals and had three FA Cup trophies to show for it. That trophy is all we have left to fight for at Chelsea right now as well, but surely next season’s effort will be a little better. The 31-year-old clearly wants to be a part of that, even as he will be facing increased competition for minutes depending on how the managerial situation as well as the futures of Batshuayi and Morata and Abraham and possibly others shake out.
Chelsea may have intended Giroud to be a short-term signing, just a stopgap solution for Conte’s problems, just for the second half of this season, but based on what we’ve seen so far, it would be foolish to head into next season without him.
“We are professionals, we are competitors and we will believe until the end. Obviously if we win the FA Cup it’s a lot better than winning nothing. It will make a big difference to our summer. The FA Cup is very important. Since I have been in England everyone talks about the Premier League but the FA Cup is massive as well. I understand that and I really want it for the fans.
“Does it send out a message that it’s not just about Manchester City this season and that there are other good teams out there? Yes, of course. It’s very important to finish strong.
“If I win it again, it would be my fourth FA Cup in five years. I want to carry on the good momentum because I was unbeaten at Wembley with Arsenal and I want to do it with Chelsea too.”
It’s unclear if Giroud will start on Sunday against Southampton. He did not get the nod last weekend and on Thursday, both he and Morata started together for the first time ever. Conte’s new-fangled 3-5-2 — with two “pure” strikers — got Chelsea a well-deserved win at Turf Moor over Burnley. Could that be a way forward? Certainly an option. Giroud was just happy that the team got the three points. He also had some supportive words for Morata himself, who once again grabbed headlines with a shocking miss (and inspired the WAGNH blogfather to unretire, at least temporarily).
“We haven’t played together much, but it is easy to play with this kind of player. Obviously we have had an opportunity in training to work on it and we know exactly what the manager wants from us.
“I was a bit sad for Álvaro because he didn’t score. I tried to help him in the first half and in the second half he could have scored as well. I wanted to assist him, but I will do that next time.”
Aiming for trophies, looking to assist his teammates and direct competitors for minutes, having an awesome beard ... he’s the complete package.
And just imagine if something miraculous were to occur in the final four games in the league...
“Yes. We will try to put pressure on Tottenham and Liverpool until the end.
”We know that we have to play Liverpool in the penultimate game. We are going to keep fighting until the end.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: London Evening Standard
So say we all.