How Chelsea outcasts Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso made Frank Lampard look silly against Tottenham
Feb. 22, 2020
Olivier Giroud starts up front for current world champions France, so he’s obviously not rubbish.
The question is, then, why did Frank Lampard leave him out of the Chelsea squad entirely for two months?
Despite full fitness, the Frenchman was not considered worthy of a place on the bench, even when Chelsea’s form began to take an alarming dip.
Even today, during the 2-1 victory over Tottenham, it was only the woeful form of Michy Batshuayi and an injury to Tammy Abraham which earned him a start as last-resort.
It was his first in the Premier League since November, which seemed all the more bizarre as he smashed the ball into the net on 15 minutes.
Giroud gave Lampard a glimpse of what he’s been missing, especially at home, with a display of clever runs and clinical finishing. Only he hasn’t been missing, he’s been available the whole time.
And ironically, it was against the side who tried to buy him in January, with Chelsea seemingly happy to let him go to anyone other than a direct rival, such as Spurs.
Not only did Giroud provide an edge in front of goal, he also made Chelsea’s other attacking players more threatening with his link-up play.
It remains a mystery why he has been so heavily omitted by Lampard, especially given his mass rotation in every other position.
The Chelsea boss has tinkered with his team relentlessly this season, while also complaining about various injuries – but some players are seemingly just dismissed from his thoughts.
Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic have both experienced spells on the sidelines, despite being Chelsea’s two standout performers earlier this season, while Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willian are currently feeling the full force of Lampard’s ruthlessness.
Meanwhile, Mason Mount has been at the forefront of Lampard’s thoughts every week despite some questionable form.
Another player who has fallen victim to Lampard’s obscure thinking is Marcos Alonso, who netted a trademark strike at Stamford Bridge.
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Again, despite no reported injury, the Spaniard has only featured once in the Premier League since October, missing out of 11 matchday squads in that time.
With Chelsea so short of attacking inspiration in recent weeks, this seems weird. Alonso is arguably the most prolific wing-back in the Premier League – and showed why with bags of attacking intent against Spurs.
Granted, Alonso has his defensive shortcomings, but the Blues look so much more threatening with him in wide areas. It pushes teams back, puts Chelsea on the front foot and provides them with a constant outlet.
At least, at least , both Giroud and Alonso should’ve been options on the bench these last three months? Alonso is worth a place for his free-kick taking alone.
Credit to Lampard for bringing them both in against Tottenham, but starting them both was not vindication – quite the opposite.
Whatever the reason for them being left out in the cold for so long, they made it look rather senseless on Saturday.