Like most everyone else on the planet, I wondered what was going on when Olivier Giroud celebrated his goal against Liverpool by rushing into the stands to hug David Luiz. (Ed.note: does anyone actually need a reason to hug David Luiz??)
If you missed it, here it is again.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen David Luiz outside of Instagram. He’s been out since early February with an ankle injury, which struck almost as soon as he recovered from a recurrence of his knee injury (may the all the hammers of Thor thunder down on Sergio Aguero) and it’s been a difficult rehabilitation for him. It’s unclear if the knee injury ever really cleared either (again, thanks, Sergio), as earlier in the spring there were a few scattered reports of a possible surgery on specialists visits in Barcelona. So it was good to see him sitting behind the dugout today.
And it was even nicer to see Giroud involving him in the goal celebration. Talking to reporters after the game, Giroud explained why he ran to his “good friend” after staking Chelsea to the 1-0 lead.
“David Luiz is a good friend, so I was very pleased to dedicate him this goal because he is going through a tough period and he is coming back.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Sky via Evening Standard
The former Arsenal man has shown flashes of leadership since his arrival in January, and here was another instance of it on full display. Chelsea have been looking for a leader all season, especially since going into a tailspin in the near year, looking for a man who could combine performance with spirit and pull the group together, shake off adversity and get back to winning. In the deepest of ironies, we may have found him in a cast-off from a team, Arsenal, who themselves have been often accused of being leaderless.
Antonio Conte, who’s been accused of shunning David Luiz unreasonably, claims not to have seen this (he was facing away from the bench at the time and giving some instructions), but if it means winning, he wants nothing more than for it to happen many more times.
“I didn’t see it. I tried to use this moment to give some advice to my players.
”For sure, tonight, I want to watch this celebration on TV, and I hope to see this celebration many times over the rest of the season. I don’t know if there is a special relationship. They are team-mates.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
Chelsea have now won five in a row and Olivier Giroud has been right in the middle of it, scoring goals, inspiring comebacks, and fostering good team spirit. What more can we ask for other than to keep it going for three more games this season!