Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all secured their places in the knockout stages of the Champions League but there’s work to do for Manchester United. Find out who enhanced their reputation for the Premier League clubs as we round up the hits and misses from the Champions League…
Olivier the undroppable?
How do you tell a man who scores four goals in a Champions League away game at Sevilla – a side where only one English team has ever won before – that it’s not enough to keep his place?
If Olivier Giroud doesn’t start against Leeds United for Chelsea on Saturday night, that’s exactly what Frank Lampard will have to do.
And with international manager Didier Deschamps already pushing him to ‘find a solution’ to his lack of game time, you would forgive him if it proved the final straw against yet more months sat on the bench at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard admitted Giroud – the first Chelsea player to score four in one game since Lampard a decade ago – has a chance of a first league start since the final day of last season on the back of his haul.
He told BT Sport after the match: “When you play Oli and utilise his strengths, and still maintain threats from the sides, the speed of getting in behind or quality of play through the middle, you see a real nice balance about our attacking play.”
What reason is there to drop him? Tammy Abraham, who missed two gilt-edged chances against Tottenham last weekend, is hardly in sparkling form in the Premier League with two in his last seven. Pace? Timo Werner provides plenty.
Sevilla may have changed eight of their first-choice starting line-up but this was no flash-in-the-pan from Giroud. He’s a World Cup-winner. He has more Champions League goals than Zinedine Zidane. He has been there, done it, got the t-shirt. And all on the back of 47 minutes of Premier League football this season. It was a world-class forward display.
It might not make a tangible difference to Chelsea’s season whether Giroud…