Olivier Giroud may not be the best striker on the planet, but the Chelsea star has become undroppable in recent times. The France international is in contention to start the Blues’ Premier League clash with Manchester United on Sunday. And Thomas Tuchel would be wise to select the veteran for the showdown at Stamford Bridge.
When Chelsea signed Giroud from Arsenal in January 2018, many were bamboozled.
On one hand, there were fans who didn’t get the hype over the France international – believing they should go for more attractive targets instead.
Then there were those who thought Arsenal had made a major mistake by selling Giroud to one of their closest Premier League rivals.
In the three years since then, however, it’s the latter group of supporters who have been proven right.
Giroud doesn’t score with the frequency of Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy.
But he’s been a crucial asset for Chelsea in the years since his move across the capital, popping up with goals whenever the Blues need them.
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Giroud has bagged three goals against the Red Devils over the years, with all of them pretty important.
He hauled Arsenal back into the game against United in 2014, scoring in a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium during the Louis van Gaal era.
Giroud also notched against the Red Devils a couple of years later, when Jose Mourinho was in charge, earning Arsenal a draw.
And the 2018 World Cup winner was the best player on the pitch during the FA Cup match between the two teams in August, scoring as Chelsea cruised to a 3-1 win.
This season, Chelsea have seen Tammy Abraham blow hot and cold.
And Timo Werner has struggled to adjust to life in the Premier League following his blockbuster move from RB Leipzig back in the summer transfer window.
In Giroud, Chelsea are clearly in safe hands.
And they have a striker who has hurt United in the past, and therefore could feasibly do so again if he’s let off the leash against the Red Devils on Sunday.
Meanwhile, speaking ahead of the showdown, Tuchel has praised both Giroud and Edinson Cavani – with the veterans both impressing this term at the age of 34.
“Look at them when they switch shirts, they are totally fit,” Tuchel said.
“Their fitness is key. Oli has zero body fat, same as Edi.
“Edi is a player like Oli, who as a number nine, is always concerned about the team, will suffer for the team, always ready to sacrifice, always ready to do runs to open spaces.
“This is the characteristic of them both.
“Then in the box, they are both excellent finishers, they are experienced, they don’t get nervous and they both have composure, so they are both top quality strikers.
“Top quality number nines and for me their fitness and self discipline is key to their success.”