Let’s go back to last summer when France won the World Cup for the second time in their history. It was historic for them and historic for football and it was richly deserved. But one player did not feel convinced that he had played a great tournament, that player was French striker Olivier Giroud.
Despite playing every game Giroud failed to score for the French at the World Cup, and missed some real sitters. At the same time many critics pointed out his unique role in the team deployed by Didier Deschamps which was to play as a false no.9. and bring other players into the game. Since France won the World Cup it is hard to argue with Deschamps tactics and Giroud’s lack of goals.
But still as a forward it was only natural that Giroud would start doubting himself, it was clear that goals had dried up. His stats are still poor for a forward where he has scored just 4 goals from 34 games, but his game has certainly changed for the Blues since the arrival of Gonzalo Higuaín from Juventus.
Higuaín has done what Giroud usually does and brought others into the game, it means less chances for the Argentinian and it is unclear if this was the initial plan, but Giroud has become a beneficiary from the new roles. He has really shined in the Europa League where Chelsea remain one of the favourites to win the competition after reaching the quarter finals. His goal scoring stats in the Europa League have been phenomenal where he has scored 9 goals from 9 games- now that is the perfect way to answer your critics.
Fittingly Giroud is the top goal scorer in the Europa League- who could have seen that coming at the beginning of the competition? But his new found confidence has also seen him scoring for France once more. Since the end of the World Cup he has scored 6 goals in the last 6 internationals including his latest one in a 4-0 win over Iceland.
A striker’s confidence is all about goals, and it is nice to see Giroud get that at Chelsea and see it spread into the national team. His latest batch of goals for France has seen Giroud rise to 3rd place in the all time France national team goal scorers record. If he scores 7 more goals he will overtake Michel Platini.
Higuaín may be feeling the pressure of perhaps not scoring regularly for Chelsea just yet, but he has at least helped Giroud to nurture, grow and get that goal scoring feeling back which is quite unique given how Giroud’s 2018 had finished.