Olivier Giroud must’ve had a bit of a flashback to Monday night when the VAR review flashed onto the big screen at Stamford Bridge, but fortunately this time, he was just on the right side of the offside marker in the particular video frame VAR chose to draw its lines.
It was also a much happier occasion overall than the game against Manchester United, with Chelsea running out fairly comfortable 2-1 winners over José Mourinho’s Spurs, whom we’ve now beaten twice in just a few short weeks. (And with Sheffield United only drawing with Brighton, we are guaranteed to have increased our lead over fifth place to at least three points — four if Manchester United don’t beat Watford tomorrow.)
As in the previous game just after Boxing Day, Lampard switched to a back-three to control Spurs’ counters and provide width in attack through wing-backs. As in December, it worked a treat — perhaps even better — despite Mourinho claiming to know what’s coming and despite Lampard opting for a well-rotated lineup including the aforementioned Giroud.
All in all, it was precisely what the doctor ordered, and Giroud couldn’t agree more, be that for the team’s benefit or his own.
“It was a very important game for us today. I want to talk about the team spirit and we have shown great character today. We knew that it was maybe a kind of turning point because we had maybe lost a little bit of confidence. At home, it was nice to bounce back and get this win, a hard win, against a rival. So, yes, I feel relieved today.”
“The [3-4-3] worked perfectly for us. We have shown through the season that we can adapt to different systems. Every game is different but I think half of the tactics today were about us knowing what this game means for everyone at this football club, for the fans.”
“[...] it was a good feeling for me, a good moment and I am so happy for the team, as I was able to help them win this game today. It has been three months since I started so it has been a special day for me and for all of us.”
-Olivier Giroud; source: Football.London
And Giroud wasn’t even supposed to be here today!
As with Chelsea’s wins over Spurs and Arsenal earlier this winter, this one feels like a potential turning point. Maybe this time, we’ll actually make it one, even!