If Olivier Giroud’s first start for Chelsea gave an appealing glimpse into what he offers the Blues, setting up Eden Hazard before running out of steam and being subbed off just after the hour mark, his performance against Hull City on Friday night provided an even more convincing, exceptionally more potent example.
Indeed, the Frenchman showed his capacity to effectively bring Hazard into the game in the 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion and that ability to provide a real platform for Chelsea’s attacking talents in the final third only stood out more in his second start for the west London club.
It took just two minutes for the former Arsenal man to have an impact on the scoreline as his attempted tackle saw the ball ricochet into Willian’s path, setting up the Brazilian for a beautiful goal from the edge of the penalty area.
But what he truly offers Chelsea was far more evident in the next goal; Danny Drinkwater played the ball to the 6 foot 4 forward’s feet and he laid it back to an onrushing Cesc Fabregas who provided a perfect through pass for Pedro – the Spaniard then curled his shot past the Tigers goalkeeper into the net.
Giroud and Willian combined for the third goal as well; another tackle from the former putting through the latter; and then it was the 69-cap striker’s turn to be goalscorer, latching onto a cross from fellow January signing Emerson Palmieri to poke home from close range.
The goal marked Giroud’s first for the Blues, but the fact he provided three assists before finding the net himself highlights what the 31-year-old brings to Antonio Conte’s side. In comparison to Alvaro Morata who runs the channels and stands on the shoulder of the last defender, Giroud plays with his back to goal and creates opportunities for Chelsea’s attacking midfielders – the win over Hull yielded four scoring opportunities alone.
It suits Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation perfectly, allowing the likes of Hazard, Willian and Pedro to feed off the front-man as much as attempt to supply him, and leaves Conte facing a difficult question ahead of a huge Champions League clash with Barcelona on Tuesday night. Should he start a signing who has hit the ground running at Stamford Bridge, or revert back to his club-record addition from the summer? Let us know by voting below…