Chelsea 3-0 West Brom: Olivier Giroud’s first start for Blues assessed

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Olivier Giroud made his first start for new club Chelsea in Monday night’s 3-0 win over West Brom.

While the January signing from Arsenal didn’t make it onto the scoresheet himself, he played a key role in the build-up to Eden Hazard’s opener.

Here, we take a closer look at Giroud’s first Stamford Bridge appearance in Chelsea colours and hear from his manager Antonio Conte and Sky Sports pundits Jamie Carragher and Thierry Henry on his performance…

How it happened

7Giroud’s first shot at goal is blocked by Ahmed Hegazi after Craig Dawson forced the forward wide.

11 – Giroud meets Cesar Azpilicueta’s ball into the box but his header is blocked by Dawson.

13With some neat footwork and a smart turn in the centre circle Giroud beats his man – but his pass out to Hazard was never on and is easily blocked by Matt Phillips.

18Giroud’s movement causes problems again – and while Azpilicueta’s pass just evades the striker, Zappacosta shoots straight at West Brom ‘keeper Ben Foster from close range.

20Giroud should score when Hazard picks him out with a low ball across the box but from 12 yards out his shot is a tame one and straight at Foster.

25Giroud assists Hazard’s opener, holding off Hegazi to cushion Hazard’s pass back into the Belgian’s path and teeing him up to score from 15 yards.

35Giroud’s attempted overhead kick doesn’t come off, as he miscues when the ball comes to him in the box from a corner.

37 – Hegazi accidentally catches Giroud on the back of the head with his studs when the Frenchman falls to the floor attempting to meet an Azpilicueta cross. Giroud is forced to play on with a bandage around his head.

45Giroud heads Pedro’s cross wide of the near post.

45+3 – West Brom defender Jonny Evans is booked for a kick to Giroud’s calf. It’s a painful one for the forward, who hobbles off for treatment as the half-time whistle blows.

51 – Victor Moses drills a cross into the West Brom box but it is just too high for Giroud.

53Giroud’s pass to Pedro is just off target as Chelsea look to break away, before the Frenchman’s back heel rolls just out of Hazard’s reach.

60Giroud is applauded off by the home support and boss Conte as he is replaced by Alvaro Morata.

Key stats

  • Giroud had made just one assist in his past 32 Premier League appearances for Arsenal. He now has one in three Premier League appearances for Chelsea.
  • Giroud had six shots in his 60 minutes – more than any player from either side managed across the full 90 minutes

The manager’s verdict

Antonio Conte: “We forced Giroud to play, because with Morata injured it was important for us to have a point of reference like him. I think he could become an important player. At the same time I had a good answer from Alvaro. For this reason we must be happy. To have two strikers in contention, for us is very important.”

The pundits’ verdict

Thierry Henry: “I call it healthy competition. When Morata saw Giroud was starting, he will have wanted to do something when he came on because he did well.”

Jamie Carragher: “I have to mention Giroud’s touch [for Hazard’s opener]. What an assist that is.”

Sourse: skysports.com

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