GIROUD is hoping he can become Chelsea’s lucky charm in their enthralling chase for a top-four place and Champions League football next season.
The Frenchman, who has become something of a talisman for Chelsea since joining the club in a surprise £18million deal from rivals Arsenal in January, scored the goal on Sunday that beat Liverpool 1-0 at Stamford Bridge and blew that chase wide open.
Suddenly Chelsea, eight points off fourth place at the beginning of April when they lost at home to Tottenham, are only two behind the White Hart Lane club, and three behind Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, with a game in hand over the Anfield side.
The odds are still against Chelsea, who face Huddersfield at home tomorrow and then travel to Newcastle on the final day, both teams with nothing to play for. Champions League finalists Liverpool’s last league game sees them take on Brighton at Anfield on Sunday in a game that has suddenly taken on vital importance.
Spurs face two home games against Newcastle tomorrow and Leicester on Sunday, both highly winnable. Both Liverpool and they have a vastly better goal difference than Chelsea, so if they win their games they should stay above them. But Spurs have won once in their last four in the league, Liverpool one in their last six.
Giroud inspired Arsenal to late surges to claim a top four place on many occasions in recent years, and the 31-year-old hopes that experience can help his new club.
“I hope I can be the lucky charm for the Champions League race in the final sprint,” he said. “We don’t have this situation in our hands, but I have experience about these kind of end of season situations.
“We need to give everything and wait for the other results. I’m confident because if we play with the kind of mentality we showed against Liverpool, we can have nice things.”
Tottenham in particular have been to known to wobble before with the finishing line in sight, in 2006, 2012, 2013 – and last year, when they stumbled with the title within their grasp.
Giroud added: “They lost this weekend, so it gives us a bit more energy and hope, so that’s why we want to fight to the end.”
The Frenchman has hit four goals in his last five games since ousting the out-of-form Alvaro Morata from the Chelsea attack, but it has been his sheer enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude which has rejuvenated the team and quickly made him a favourite with fans.
“I’m very happy to help the team,” he said. “I finished a good job off on Sunday.
“Victor Moses and I have a good understanding and I know what he is going to do. He did well and I just tried to put the ball into the net. It’s going well, I feel very good.
“Sunday was very hard, with the hot weather. We ran a lot because we wanted to block their holding midfielders. Everything was not perfect and it was not my best game, honestly, on possession and retention of the ball. We defended a lot, but the main thing was the three points.
“I have received a really warm welcome at the club from when I first arrived. I felt like I was at home since I came here, like I’ve been here a few years, so for me [to score] was very important.
“When you give everything on the pitch people see that, and even more when you have the opportunity to be efficient and to bring a plus to the team. It’s a nice to get that back from the fans.”