Olivier Giroud produces timely masterclass to give Chelsea boss Frank Lampard ideal headache

James Robson
·4-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

If Olivier Giroud is intent on putting himself in the shop window then Chelsea are feeling the full benefit.

The Frenchman has a point to prove to Frank Lampard – and after scoring four goals in Seville, it will be impossible for his manager to ignore him.

Giroud, who is considering his future ahead of the January window, wants more playing time to ensure his place in the France at next summer’s Euros.

In this form, neither club nor country could afford to leave him out.

He scored the perfect hat-trick as Chelsea won 4-0 against Sevilla and guaranteed top spot in Group E. But as if that wasn’t enough, he then proceeded to win a late penalty and convert it himself to complete the rout.

The veteran striker had to watch on as Tammy Abraham wasted two golden chances to secure victory against Tottenham in their top of the table clash on Sunday.

While he was guilty of failing to apply the finishing touch himself late on in that match, he could be excused for being given little time to get his bearings after coming on for the last 10 minutes.

But in only his second start of the season in Spain, he showed precisely what he can do with a performance of the highest quality and a full repertoire of his finishing ability.

One with his left, one with his right and a glancing header before his spot kick.

Each of his goals in open play were taken with such expertise that it was impossible to pick the best.

By the time Sergi Gomez bundled him to the floor in the box, Sevilla’s rear-guard had been given such a run-around by Giroud that it was all they could to try to stop him.

The question now is how on earth Lampard can leave him out against Leeds at the weekend – and that’s at a time when Chelsea have a clean bill of health and their manager can field his strongest XI for the first time this season.

What made victory over the reigning Europa League winners even more impressive was the fact Lampard made nine changes from the team that drew with Spurs.

Both sides went into the match knowing qualification to the knockout stages was secure.

Sevilla made eight changes themselves, including an enforced one just before kick-off when throwing in third choice goalkeeper Alfonso Pastor to replace Tomas Vaclik, who was injured in the warm-up.

But the size of defeat could not be blamed on the understudy.

This was a show of Chelsea’s might – their enviable strength in depth.

While Sevilla without Lucas Ocampos and Luuk de Jong were toothless, Chelsea were full of attacking intent.

AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images

Lampard had challenged his fringe players to stake their claim for more game-time, so this was a chance for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Giroud and Jorginho to make an impression.

Giroud did precisely that when opening the scoring with a sweet finish after just eight minutes.

Receiving the ball in the box from Havertz’ pass, he took a moment to get it out of his feet before sweeping a left-footed shot into the far corner.

Chelsea had further chances to take a more commanding lead into the break, but on two occasions Christian Pulisic couldn’t apply the finish.

Sevilla, meanwhile, saw their best effort repelled by Edouard Mendy when blocking Karim Rekik from point-blank range.

But the Spaniards had shown enough to suggest Chelsea still had their work cut out in the second half.

That task suddenly became much easier when Giroud doubled their lead nine minutes after the restart.

REUTERS
REUTERS

This time he ran onto Mateo Kovacic’s disguised pass, feinted to shoot before impudently lifting the ball over the committed Pastor with a flick of his right boot.

He completed his perfect hat-trick when racing to the near post to meet substitute N’Golo Kante’s cross with a glancing header.

When he was bundled over by Gomez there was no doubt who was going to take the spot kick – sending the keeper the wrong way to round off a night that saw both him and Chelsea make a major statement in the Champions League.

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