Olivier Giroud’s performance against Sevilla was obviously most impressive and historic and significant, but not just in terms of the team’s ambitions or his own personal achievements, but also in terms of what it might mean for his immediate future at the club.
After all, the biggest motivating factor for wanting to leave in January isn’t so much that he isn’t playing many minutes, it’s that it becomes harder and harder for France national team head coach Didier Deschamps to justify (to his bosses, the media, and the public) including him in the squad if he isn’t playing much. And with Euro 2020 coming up (again) this summer (this time for real, maybe), there isn’t much wiggle room.
But justifications don’t come much better than four-spots against the defending Europa League champions and the second best team in our Champions League group. Deschamps was of course keeping a keen eye.
“It’s always important for attackers to score goals, whatever the match. But our analysis is done in relation to the opposition. When it’s a Champions League match, against a Sevilla team that is very successful, it necessarily highlights Giroud’s performance.
“He had the immense pleasure of being able to start a match. It does not happen to him often, even if by returning he scores important goals. Scoring a quadruple in the Champions League doesn’t happen every day. Besides, they are different goals.
“Olivier is someone with a big mind, a big character. He is forced to fight against everyone, to excess at times. It was an important game as they played first place against Sevilla. Faced with such an opponent, it further enhances his performance. Good for him and for his club.”
-Didier Deschamps; source: Goal
If Giroud can have solid reassurances that he would remain part of the France squad even as “just” a backup at Chelsea, he would surely be less set on leaving in January. Obviously, he would have to play a bit more than he has been so far, but Wednesday’s performance should prompt Lampard to start giving him more chances, too. Those two have had a good relationship, which should also help things along, including during a very similar situation that was amicably resolved (with more minutes) last January as well.
Giroud himself confirmed this line of thinking in the post-match glow.
“Obviously to be happy I need to be a little bit more on the pitch [and] I hope I will have more opportunities again because I think I’ve shown [the gaffer] that I am ready to fight for the team. [...] If I play a bit more than in the beginning of the season, I have a good chance to be fit and ready for the Euros.
“I had a conversation with Deschamps and he said if the situation stayed like that, I will have to take a decision in January. I am pretty sure I can get some more game time and stay at Chelsea because that is what I want. I want to win trophies with Chelsea so basically that’s it. You never know in football, everything is going very fast, but right now I am very happy. I am a happy man and I am proud to be a Chelsea player.’
-Olivier Giroud; source: Chelsea FC
Let’s hope that feeling lasts in the cold light of day as well.