Olivier Giroud joined Chelsea from Arsenal in January 2018, with the express intent to play a big role in winning trophies. Last season, he did just that, starting ahead of Alvaro Morata and winning the FA Cup final against Manchester United. This season, he’s set to do the same in the Europa League final, against his old team incidentally.
As the competition’s leading goalscorer — joint-top on 10 goals with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic — he should continue to start ahead of Gonzalo Higuain and will hopefully come out on the winning side once again.
While Giroud has been a bit dissatisfied with his playing time in the Premier League, he’s been fantastic in Europe. He may not have scored in Thursday night’s win, but gave it his all (including drawing a top class save from Kevin Trapp with a flicked finish at the near post) before making way for Higuain.
“We are very happy obviously. I want to give credit to the Frankfurt team and their fans because they never gave up.
“They played very well in both legs and it has been difficult for us to play our game. They came back into the game and when it comes to penalties it is 50-50 so at the end we have been a bit lucky but thanks to Kepa and his performance, we could win this game and we are very pleased to reach the final. We know how good Kepa is on penalties so we trust him. He did very well so I am very pleased for him because he is a really good keeper and he deserved it.”
“We want to win a trophy every single year and it is our last chance. [...] I did not have the good opportunities to score. He [Jovic] got two in the semi-final but I am going to play in the final and obviously I would be very pleased to help this team win the trophy.”
- Olivier Giroud; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea remain unbeaten in Europe this season — 17 in a row in the Europa League itself, dating back to 2013 — and now just need one more win to get the latest trophy for the display case.
No better platform than Baku on May 29 for Giroud, who’s contract it set to expire afterwards, to make his mark again for the Blues. (Petr Cech will be hoping to do that same at other end of the pitch, incidentally, adding yet another interesting subplot to the occasion.)