Giroud scored six goals in nine league games after lockdown and once in the FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester United
Frank Lampard has a problem and his name is Olivier Giroud.
We are, of course, talking about the kind of problem all football managers long to have. The good kind. Those that arise because of a highly talented squad and a superb striker who can barely get a look in, but reminds everyone just how good he is every time he does.
On Tuesday, Giroud came to Chelsea’s rescue, coming on with 22 minutes left and nodding in a 91st-minute winner against Rennes to seal their early qualification to the last 16 of the Champions League. It was not the first time it has happened.
And yet he has only one start so far this season to go with his seven substitute appearances, and that came in the Carabao Cup.
So with an array of attacking talent in his first XI and the French World Cup winner hammering at the door demanding to be let in, how does Lampard solve a problem like Giroud?
‘One of the most underrated forwards of the last five years’
Giroud, 34, was showered with praise in the aftermath of Tuesday’s cameo performance, which took his total minutes on the pitch to a combined 178.
“Great” was how Lampard described him.
“It wasn’t just his goal when he came on but his hold up play and physicality,” the Blues boss told BT Sport. “You saw the reaction to his goal, and that wasn’t just because it was a late winner, it shows what he does day to day and what he means to the team.
“He does things like he does tonight, he’s great.”
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In the BT studio they were even more effusive.
“Giroud is special,” said former Chelsea and England midfielder Joe Cole. “Frank knows what a great lad he is and what a great servant he is.
“He is one of the most underrated players we have seen in past five years in Premier League.”
Ex-England forward Peter Crouch continued on the theme:…