Chelsea’s great record but lack of goalscoring under Thomas Tuchel needs a healthy infusion of Olivier Giroud to break out of this frustrating situation. Tuchel has yet to come to the correct conclusion that Giroud’s goal-scoring acumen is just what the team needs to snap out of its Tuchel-tenure long goal drought. Since his arrival 12 games ago, the Blues have gone undefeated in 12. A super record. Yet, the dark lining on this silver cloud is that the club is not scoring goals, at least not enough to make them a real threat to win silverware.
Since Tuchel’s first game against Wolves on January 27, the club has scored a mere 13 goals in those 12 games. Without a shadow of a doubt, the defensive record in those 12 games is amazing. The Blues have conceded an incredibly low total of a mere two goals (one an own goal) and racked up an astounding 10 clean sheets. Almost unequaled in Chelsea’s history. This cannot be overstated. It’s sheer brilliance. Yet the lack of goal-scoring is still an issue that needs to be addressed and the resolution to this dilemma sits quietly on Chelsea’s bench game after game. It’s Olivier Giroud who ostensibly is healthy and also Tammy Abraham, who evidently is not.
It took an injury to Tammy Abraham (perhaps the same ankle injury from which he suffers now) for then-manager Frank Lampard to finally insert Giroud into the starting lineup and the result was predictable: he scored a bunch of goals. Yet, not having evidently taken this lesson into account, Tuchel persists in making games closer than perhaps they need be by wasting the talents of the French World-Cup winner by pinning him constantly on the bench. It has not impacted the Blues negatively very much yet. But too many of these nil-nil games and too many points surrendered will hurt the club when a goal would have brought all three points and the team closer to pulling away from the pack in the all-important race for the final Champions League qualifying fourth-place finish.
Now, it is necessary to provide full disclosure. This writer, as previously admitted, has been a supporter of the talents of Giroud (but not his exploits against Chelsea!) since he was dashing Chelsea’s teams’ hopes while wearing the red and white of the Gunners. His ability to mostly come into a game off the bench and crush Chelsea and others with a brilliant goal was evident for anyone paying attention to see. And he’s done the same in a blue shirt since coming over from Arsenal for a meager 18m pounds in 2018. That’s what should be looked upon as one of Chelsea’s most cost-effective transfers in years.
How effective? This season, Giroud has 11 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions, five in six Champions League tilts (two game-winners), including the haul to crush Rennes. In addition, his magnificent overhead kick took down Atletico in the first leg of the current UCL stage away at Bucharest. It was the lone goal (and the Chelsea Goal-of-the-Month) against that terrific Atletico side (which currently sits atop La Liga six points ahead of Real Madrid) and was yet another game-winner which is his specialty for Chelsea. Meanwhile, Tuchel sits him down and doesn’t even introduce the French scorer into the action as a substitute lately and the result is one or fewer goals in eight of the 12 games Tuchel has coached for Chelsea. It’s unfathomable. It’s time for Giroud to start, as an article suggested previously, while Lampard was still at the helm.
It took too long for Chelsea under Lampard to finally make the realization that Giroud can and will add goals, sometimes in bunches if he just plays, fully acknowledging that his minutes at 34 years old must be managed to ensure peak efficiency. But this is not the issue with Tuchel as it was not for Lampard last season. They simply failed or are currently mistakenly failing to utilize this top weapon at their disposal for whatever reasons they manage to conjure up. Whatever those reasons may be, they are disadvantageous, counterproductive, and ultimately could cost them that fourth-place finish in the Premier League to boot. That would be a massive blow, especially since that goal is indeed now within reach.
Tuchel keeps searching for an answer at center-forward, even by misplacing Kai Havertz in that role when he is clearly better-deployed elsewhere. Play him as a No. 10 along with Giroud at striker to best utilize his passing ability and just maybe result in additional goals. Hopefully, Tuchel will come to his senses by Wednesday and start a well-rested and eager to demonstrate his abilities Giroud against Atletico, to greatly enhance the possibility of moving onto the quarterfinals in the UCL.
It’s time for Tuchel to learn the lesson that Lampard did last season, hopefully, before a dearth of goals knocks Chelsea out of Cup competitions and a Champions League qualifying spot in the Premier League. The solution is there in Oliver Giroud. It’s time to use him.