Olivier Giroud recently celebrated four years at Chelsea, and during that time we’ve certainly become quite familiar with his qualities as a player and as a team-leader. Even more so than his quite respectable 38 goals in 109 appearances, Giroud has become a key player thanks to his presence in the dressing room, leading by example and providing veteran guidance especially as the team around him has gotten younger and younger.
Those qualities have been appreciated and praised by all four (!) of the managers he’s had at Chelsea during that time, with Tuchel now joining in with Conte, Sarri, and Lampard.
“Right now he plays a key role in the squad where we have a lot of young offensive players, so he is a key figure.
“Not because he plays every three day for 96 minutes but with the way he behaves, his experience on a daily basis so far, the last three days he has been in the most positive way that we can wish and this is what I like.”
Giroud was pressed into action against Newcastle last weekend after Tammy Abraham picked up an early injury, and responded, as he so often does, with a goal off the bench. In fact, it was his 100th substitute appearance in his 8.5-year Premier League career, and his 21st goal as a substitute, which is second only to Jermain Defoe (24) in the competition’s history.
The 34-year-old’s consistency is further underlined by the fact that the goal put him at 10 for the season, and into double-digits for the 14th straight season. Fourteen! He’s reached that mark in all but the very first season of his senior professional career in 2006-07 with Grenoble in the French second division!
Of course, another consistent feature of Giroud’s time at Chelsea has been his uncertain contract situation. And that remains true as well, though not something anyone’s actively concerned with at this very moment. Plenty of time to figure that out later, for all involved.
“No decisions made because it’s too soon to make them this season. I don’t have enough time because I only started three weeks ago and I need time to get to know the group better while everybody also deserves more time to show what they can do.
“What I can say about it is that I am super happy he is here, he is one of the top stickers in the box, he has an incredible first touch when takes balls directly out of the air and is very strong, with headers too. He did an amazing game against Newcastle, he is very strong in training and very impressive.”
“[...] I am very clear and from there we go and when decisions arrive, we will make it but as I said, it’s too soon.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
All eyes on Southampton and the season ahead. A few more goals from Giroud won’t hurt either.