Chelsea’s striker situation could see some hard decisions made in the next couple months, as both Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud vie for something more than backup minutes behind the goal-per-game form of young Tammy Abraham. Both Batshuayi and especially Giroud remain important players for their respective national teams, but they face the possibility of not getting picked for next summer’s Euro 2020 tournament if they continue to not play at club level.
The other day, Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez urged Batshuayi to start looking for a “solution”. Now, France head coach Didier Deschamps made it even more clear that he wants Olivier Giroud to be playing more. In fairness to the former Chelsea midfielder, he’s continued to stand by his man and keep picking the veteran striker who was so crucial to their 2018 World Cup victory despite not getting a single shot on target, let alone score any goals, but it probably would be easier to justify his selection if Giroud played a bit more often. Everybody’s just looking out for their best interest.
“You know, Olivier suffers his situation. Before January, nothing will move. After, it will be up to him to see. I hope he will have more playing time.
“But we cannot take away his goals, his good performances. He scores, he makes others play well. He knows he is under pressure, but he always responds.”
-Didier Deschamps; source: Mail
The statistics back up Deschamps’ claim. After last night’s goal against Turkey, Giroud has 6 goals in his last 9 games for France, dating back to last November.
For the 33-year-old striker however, it’s also a question of pride, competitiveness, and intention. He’s repeatedly made it clear that he won’t give up and just simply accept his lot in life at Chelsea, that he will push for minutes and challenge the others for both for his own benefit and for the club’s. It’s the sort of attitude one expects from model professionals and veteran leaders, and Giroud has never disappointed in that regard in his two years at Stamford Bridge.
But with less than a year left on his contract, his time at Chelsea is likely ending sooner rather than later. And if things work out a certain way, that could already be in January.
“I’m going to fight for my place in Chelsea. The coach knows it. And we will make the decision in January.
”If I want to leave Chelsea? Not necessarily. But if I need to make a choice... I have some beautiful years in front of me. I’m 33, I still have legs and a good healthy lifestyle and I feel good physically. I want to have fun and want to play more games. Chelsea is my priority, but if in the end I’m forced to make a choice, I will do it as when I left Arsenal.”
Giroud’s recent illness has not helped his case, and he seemingly had fallen behind Batshuayi in the pecking order as well. But it’s a long season and a long time even until January, and at least Giroud can rest assured that Lampard will not only be aware of what’s happened over the international break, but reward hard work and dedication in training.
”For different reasons, I have played little since the last national team break. Of course it feels good to make the difference.”
“[Lampard] will almost certainly watch the matches. In any case, I am going back to Chelsea pumped up.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Goal
The season resumes with a match against Newcastle at the Bridge on Saturday. It will be the first of seven games before the next international break in mid-November, which will also include two against Ajax (home and away), a big League Cup showdown against Manchester United, and “should be winning these” league games against Burnley, Watford, and Crystal Palace.
There should be minutes and chances to impress for all three Chelsea strikers.