After the transfer window SLAMMED SHUT! at 11pm on the 31st January, many were surprised that Oliver Giroud was still a Chelsea player.
Speaking on deadline day, at his usual pre match presser, Frank Lampard declared the window was 95% shut for Chelsea.
He cut a frustrated figure as he delivered spiky responses to the waiting press. He’d spoken previously about his desire to strengthen and bring players in and was clearly annoyed that there was no movement.
Obviously due to the size of the squad, Lampard also said he wouldn’t let anyone leave without a replacement coming in.
Giroud doesn’t feature in Lampard’s plans, but he doesn’t want to be left with just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as his only striking options.
It makes it all the more strange that Lampard, who couldn’t let Giroud leave, didn’t pick him in the 18 for the game at Leicester and ended the game without a striker on the pitch, opting to bring on Ross Barkley for Abraham instead of Batshuayi.
“We will all go away for a week away from each other, it’s probably what’s needed for everyone and we will come back and work hard and Olivier is here.” Lampard said after the game.
“[He’ll] play if he shows himself in training, because that is how I pick the team generally, then he will get his opportunities.”
The task of creating opportunities however, lays with Lampard and not with Giroud.
Lampard has repeatedly praised Giroud’s attitude in training and pictures emerged of the Frenchman seemingly enjoying training recently.
However the 33-year-old just doesn’t fit Lampard’s style. He wants his striker to be able to drop deep, hold up the play and then quickly turn and make runs behind the defence.
Whilst Giroud is more than capable of holding up the ball and bringing others into play, turning quickly and getting in behind is a trait that Father Time has taken away.
With the European Championships coming up this summer, it’ll be a last hurrah for the World Cup winner for his national team before inevitable international retirement.
However the French national team coach and former Blue Didier Deschamps has already been outspoken on Giroud’s lack of game time this season.
If Frank wants everyone pulling in the same direction then he might need to shoehorn him into the side, especially during the busier periods after the winter break.
One way might be going with two strikers, using Abraham’s or Batshuayi’s youth and energy to do his running, allowing him to get closer to the box and hopefully on the end of some Reece James crosses.
Or using Mason Mount as a second striker with a similar idea of getting someone else to do the running/pressing when required.
Many times this season, we’ve bemoaned our inability to unlock defences which sit in low blocks around their 18 yard box.
Giroud could be a perfect plan B for this, allowing us to pepper the box with crosses and having an out and out target man to give the defence something to worry about.
Either way, Giroud has by all accounts held up his end of the bargain and it’s time for Lampard to start holding up his.
Let me know your thoughts/ideas on how Lampard can get a tune out of Giroud.
Dean is the author of ‘Cult Fiction- how a year under Sarri almost tore Chelsea apart’ available on Amazon now amzn.to/2T7v5Tu