Oliver Giroud has made himself undroppable for Chelsea after nearing the exit in January… now the veteran striker stands between his old club and the FA Cup as he looks to further justify leaving Arsenal by winning another trophy
- Olivier Giroud faces his former club Arsenal in another major final this weekend
- The Frenchman left the Gunners in 2018 in a bid to win more silverware
- He got one over his former club in the Europa League and could strike again
- Giroud has gone from outcast to undroppable and is in stellar form for Chelsea
Eden Hazard’s confirmation of his Chelsea exit on live television after their Europa League victory last year meant another excellent interview by BT Sport’s Darrell Currie went largely unnoticed.
It was with Olivier Giroud, the striker who had scored the opener in the 4-1 win over his former club Arsenal and refused to celebrate out of respect.
‘I left so many friends in Arsenal,’ Giroud told Currie. ‘This club changed my life. They gave me the opportunity to live my dream. I owe them a lot, and I will never forget.’
Olivier Giroud’s form since the Premier League restart has made him undroppable at Chelsea
The veteran striker has scored in five consecutive starts and helped guide the Blues to top four
It was touching, then the 33-year-old added: ‘But on the other side I’m so proud to win this trophy with Chelsea. Now I’m definitely a true Blue.’
That final declaration no doubt hurt a few of his former fans.
Since he left Arsenal in January 2018, they have won nothing. With Chelsea, he’s won the FA Cup and Europa League, and a third trophy could follow on Saturday.
To end that hoodoo, Arsenal will be hoping Giroud has an off day at Wembley Stadium.
Chances are he won’t, however, because Giroud is in the kind of killer form that strikers dream about.
He had been close to the exit door at Stamford Bridge in January after a lack of opportunities
Giroud had played second fiddle to Tammy Abraham but now the Englishman is watching on
He is someone capable of scoring spectacular goals – that FIFA Puskas Award-winning scorpion kick against Crystal Palace will live long in the memory of Arsenal supporters.
But right now he is doing everything an efficient centre forward should be doing – scoring regularly himself, but also using his runs to create space for others.
In the first half of 2019-20, Giroud started two league games under Frank Lampard. Opportunities were so sparse the Frenchman was looking for a new club in January.
Quite understandably, he was concerned he would not be selected for Euro 2020.
But he stayed and now he is undroppable, scoring seven goals since the season’s restart.
Giroud left Arsenal in 2018 in a bid to win more silverware towards the end of his career
The 33-year-old struck against his former club to win the Europa League last season in Baku
At the age of 33, he recently became the oldest player to score in five consecutive Premier League starts, taking over from Jamie Vardy.
There is a spring in his step in training because he knows he is guaranteed to start. Suddenly Tammy Abraham is the one looking on from the substitutes’ bench.
When Giroud joined, he pointed out how Chelsea ‘have won maybe the most trophies in the last six or seven years’. That was why he was signing – for silverware.
He wanted to be competitive and perhaps predicted that would leave with Arsene Wenger.
Wenger’s exit was always going to spark an enormous transition, one which required patience from fans and players. As a 30-plus, Giroud did not feel like waiting around.
So he joined Chelsea for immediate glory while Arsenal continue to claw their way back, now under the promising guidance of Mikel Arteta.
And he can hurt his former club once more when Chelsea take on Arsenal in the FA Cup final
Giroud and Arteta will no doubt share a warm embrace on Saturday evening. The FA Cup is a competition they both have a rich history in – a shared history.
Arteta was Arsenal captain when they won it in 2014, with Giroud up front. The Frenchman went on to win it again in 2015 and 2017 with the Gunners.
Then he won it again in 2018 with Chelsea.
With four behind him, Giroud is on the verge of becoming a five-star FA Cup player.
‘I really think that God wanted me to stay at Chelsea,’ Giroud said recently of being refused permission to go in January. ‘The manager told me that he couldn’t let me leave.’
Giroud stayed and now stands between his old club Arsenal and a trophy and their ticket to Europe. He may not celebrate against you, but he may well score.