Premier League Logo
Talking Tactics

Giroud goal threat boosts Chelsea's top-four push

Adrian Clarke 12 May 2018
Southampton v Chelsea

Adrian Clarke explains why Blues have improved since Olivier Giroud arrived and calls for him to start at Newcastle

The late double Olivier Giroud scored at Southampton last month sparked a run of results that still gives Chelsea a chance to claim a top-four finish on the last weekend of the Premier League season.

Although starts were initially hard to come by for the French striker, his influence has grown over recent weeks.

Leading the line with distinction and scoring a key goal at home to Liverpool last weekend, the 31-year-old has restored hope to a cause that until recently appeared irretrievable.

His battle for a first-team start with Alvaro Morata has been particularly fascinating to watch.

Morata duel

Giroud’s arrival in late January brought fresh competition for places up front, which head coach Antonio Conte was hoping would provoke a positive response from the Spaniard.

But Morata has scored just one Premier League goal since his new team-mate joined from Arsenal.

Conte has rotated the pair quite evenly, but Chelsea have looked a more potent goal threat when Giroud has been leading the line.

Averaging over two goals per match with the Frenchman in the team, the Blues’ record without him has been much worse.

Chelsea in PL since 5 February
Statistics With Giroud Without Giroud
Minutes 534 546
Goals scored 12 5
Minutes per goal 45 109
Better link man

Chelsea’s chief playmakers seem to have enjoyed the presence of a natural target man.

Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas are always looking to bounce forward passes into Giroud, who is naturally adept at supplying sharp one-twos or holding on to the ball.

He wins 52.8 per cent of duels compared to Morata’s 41.3 per cent and is a stronger physical presence.

Hazard and wing-back Victor Moses have created the most chances (four) for their new front man too.

Most passes from Giroud Most passes to Giroud
To Hazard 34 From Fabregas 45
To Fabregas 29 From Hazard 31
To Kante 17 From Azpilicueta and Courtois 22
Hazard understanding

Giroud has reciprocated the service, linking up with Hazard and Fabregas more than anyone else.

He set up Hazard for a lovely goal at home to West Bromwich Albion with a clever pass, and has created five goalscoring opportunities for the Belgian.

Giroud’s understanding with Hazard has been impressive.

Since his Blues debut at Watford, when three late goals earned the Hornets a 4-1 win, Chelsea’s record with Giroud and Hazard on the field at the same time reads: scored 10, conceded one.

Giroud goal threat

When you break down the last 270 minutes they have played alongside one another, Conte’s men have scored exactly three goals per match.

Giroud’s presence is having a fabulous effect on the team.

Looking ahead to Sunday, it remains a long shot for Chelsea to leapfrog Liverpool, who only need a point at home to Brighton & Hove Albion to guarantee a top-four berth.

But if Chelsea are to apply pressure with a victory at Newcastle United, it would make sense to pair Hazard with his productive new team-mate.

Giroud and Hazard is a combination that clicks.

Also in this series

Part 1: Can revitalised Salah restore normal service?
Part 2: De Bruyne the drive behind Man City success

Latest News

More News: Latest News

Latest Videos

More Videos: Latest Videos