Chelsea produced a strong response from the recent league drubbing in the UEFA Super Cup against Liverpool on Wednesday night, but they were unable to get over the line with the trophy after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The Blues were by far the more dominant side as the game progressed to added extra-time but a 2-2 stalemate after 120 minutes of action meant that a penalty shoot-out was required to split the difference between the Premier League giants at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul.
Despite this, the Europa League holders and Frank Lampard can take heart from the performance where there were a number of standout performers including Olivier Giroud, who was preferred to lead the line ahead of Tammy Abraham.
The Frenchman has been overlooked for a regular starting role under different managers over the past few years due to his reduced mobility, but against the Reds, he provided a worthy performance where he was a constant threat to the opposition backline.
Giroud was able to have the joint-most attempts on goal (four) alongside Pedro for the Blues and out of those, two were on target including the one which broke the deadlock of the Super Cup clash, and handed his side with a 1-0 advantage at the break.
The striker of course had an average passing percent of 77, but he nonetheless made up for it with his physical presence and only Virgil van Dijk from the opposition ranks bettered his four aerial duels during the course of the encounter.
The 32-year-old was replaced with Abraham in the 73rd minute, but the youngster could not leave a similar type of impression, though he earned a penalty for a foul by Adrian, which seemed fortuitous with barely any contact from the Reds goalkeeper.
Besides that, Abraham missed a glorious chance at the beginning of added extra-time as well as the final penalty in the shoot-out, but he is still one to watch for in the future, provided he can improve on the finishing in the moments which matter.
As such, it seems a no-brainer to offer Giroud with a regular run upfront this season despite the fact that he has not been a consistent goalgetter throughout his career. Though the Frenchman can’t compete with the league’s best in terms of scoring, he has the gifted ability to hold-up and link-up play with a greater efficiency than Abraham, which comes through the experience of playing at the highest level.