For Olivier Giroud, the new season at Chelsea came with a new contract extension and new intention for more minutes. Under new manager Frank Lampard, there was new hope of not being stuck behind underperforming players.
But despite his best efforts, things have not played out as he might have imagined. Giroud is finding himself behind not only free-scoring youngster Tammy Abraham, but even Michy Batshuayi, who had been struggling to find the proper path in his once-promising career, getting mired in successive loans to mixed success.
But in classic Giroud style, he’s not letting those setbacks get to him. He’s keeping things positive instead, staying ready and helping wherever and however he can.
“There are two reactions to being left out of the side. There is one where you put your head down, start complaining that you’re not playing. The other way is you transform that frustration over not playing into a positive energy. You need to maintain a good feeling to bounce back, to show your character. That is what I try to do at training every day.
“I’m a competitor. It takes a lot more to get me down. I will always fight to get back in the team. I just have to stay focused, to keep concentrating on what I have to do in training and show I’m ready for whenever the manager needs me.”
Unlike the last couple years, when Giroud was fighting for minutes against inferior options in Álvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuaín, he’s having to deal with Tammy Abraham this season, and the Chelsea youngster is only leading the Premier League in goals with 8 in just as many games. Giroud called it “walking on water” form the other day, and he may not be wrong.
“It’s true that competition at Chelsea is tough. But it’s good for the team, for us to to be there to step up. It helps to have players like myself that want to be back in the team and never give up.
“Tammy is doing very well now. He is very efficient up front. What can I say? I’m just waiting for my turn. I work hard in training with a good spirit. If the manager needs me, I will look to be efficient.”
But as the saying goes, form is temporary and class is permanent. Abraham’s unlikely to keep up this scoring pace the entire season. While he is, Giroud’s ready to support him personally, work for the betterment of the team overall, and do whatever the manager deems best for Chelsea. If Abraham’s level do drop, Giroud will undoubtedly be ready to stake his claim again. It’s the sort of model attitude and determination we’ve come to expect from the veteran striker, and he continues to not disappoint in that regard.
“Have I been helping Tammy? Yes. He is still a young player and is having a good moment. I am happy for him. He reminds me of myself when I was starting out in my career. He is precocious. He is doing very well at a young age. I am delighted for him.”
“If I can help him to carry on, I will. But I will try to push him, again and again, not to be in the comfort zone. I will always try to score a lot. There is a good competition between us.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: The Athletic
Giroud’s contract is up at the end of the season, and as things stand, he’s likely to be heading off to a new challenge. But until then, it certainly bodes well for us to have such a competent striker as backup to Tammy and Michy, who can step up to the plate when needed, and also plays a role in developing the talent that can last for the next generation at Stamford Bridge. Add in the two trophies he’s already won with Chelsea, playing a key role in both the FA Cup and Europa League victories, and we shall be forever grateful to Olivier Giroud.