Thomas Tuchel has done a really good job in his first few games as a Chelsea manager. He is still yet to lose a game, and his side has conceded just twice, once being via a Rudiger own goal. He seems to have settled on playing a 3-4-3 formation, he has reestablished Kovacic into the starting lineup and has picked Callum Hudson Odoi over Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz. There is still, however, an uncertainty as to who the main man is upfront.
Tammy Abraham is yet to play more than 45 minutes for Thomas Tuchel and has been subbed off at half-time twice since the German took over. The 23-year-old obviously adds a little more pace at the top end of the pitch, but there have always been questions over his positional awareness and ability with his back to goal. Last season, Tammy Abraham bagged 15 goals for Chelsea in the Premier League.
While that was considered a decent tally for a player who was playing under a new coach in a “new team”, we all could see that Lampard started to lose faith in him towards the end of the season. To put it in context, Tammy Abraham started just two of Chelsea’s last ten games to end the season, scoring twice. On the other hand, Giroud scored 8 Premier League goals last year, seven of them coming in Chelsea’s last 10 games.
With Timo Werner still firing blanks despite his goal in the weekend and generally preferred on the left of a front three, the striker competition is still on. Chelsea had to travel to Bucharest, Romania, for their away game against Athletico Madrid due to COVID protocols placed in Spain. The change in the location, however, didn’t change Athletico Madrid’s style. Diego Simeone played a deep backline with his wingers acting as defacto full-backs. They were going to sit deep, stay organized, try to frustrate Chelsea and hit them on the counter.
However, the first half-chance of the game came from a rare Athletico high press that forced Azpilicueta to go back to the goalkeeper whose first touch was awry and almost picked off by Suarez. There were few clear-cut chances in the game, and despite how deep Athletico played, they looked the most likely to score when they countered. It, however, took a moment of brilliance from Giroud to give Chelsea the win.
Chelsea’s quick transition saw a long ball played into Giroud, who did well to win the header around the halfway line and find his way back into the penalty area. Another long ball into the Athletico box this time for Mount was not well dealt with by Athletico, and Olivier Giroud came up with a spectacular overhead kick to put Chelsea one goal up and essentially win the game.
Everything about the goal showed why Giroud should be Chelsea’s starting striker, at least for now. He is so strong on the air; his first touch always sticks, he excels when playing with his back to goal, and he links up to play perfectly. He is a really good finisher, and once in a while, he comes up with the spectacular. Start Olivier Giroud!