Chelsea 1-0 Norwich: Olivier Giroud header returns Blues to winning ways and sends Frank Lampard’s side four points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United in the race for Champions League
- Chelsea took advantage of Manchester United’s slip up against Southampton with victory over Norwich
- Olivier Giroud headed Chelsea in front against relegated Norwich on the stroke of half-time on Tuesday night
- His goal proved enough for Frank Lampard’s side as they close in on maintaining Champions League status
Olivier Giroud has revealed why his pen and pad celebration in Chelsea‘s win against Norwich was dedicated to injury absentee N’Golo Kante.
Chelsea welcomed the already relegated Canaries to Stamford Bridge for a crucial Premier League clash on Tuesday night.
Olivier Giroud says his unusual goal celebration on Tuesday was a nod towards scrabble partner N’Golo Kante.
The Frenchman scored the only goal as the Blues picked up three crucial points against Norwich in their fight for a top-four spot in the Premier League.
Giroud, recalled to the starting line-up, scored in first-half stoppage-time with a diving header, and after mimicking using a notepad and a pen, he revealed afterward what the cryptic celebration was a nod towards.
The 33-year-old laughed and said: ‘Oh I play scrabble with N’Golo Kante. That’s it.’
Giroud, who did not start in the 3-0 drubbing against Sheffield United on Saturday, was the difference between the two sides at Stamford Bridge.
Despite often being behind Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi in the pecking order under Frank Lampard, Giroud has proven reliable when called upon this season.
He has scored six goals and has started 10 times for the Blues in the Premier League, including crucial goals against Aston Villa, Watford, Crystal Palace and now the Canaries since the Premier League restart.
Giroud’s diving header in first-half stoppage-time was the difference at Stamford Bridge
‘He [Giroud] is a big character for us and he is scoring important goals at the minute,’ Lampard said after Tuesday’s game. ‘Just before lockdown he came in and was part of a couple of big results so that’s credit he was due anyway.
‘He has never given me a problem, he has always trained brilliantly. His professionalism was always good.
‘I told him in January I wanted him to stay and he was fantastic in how he handled that. The way he plays is important for us.’
Frank Lampard heaped praise on striker Giroud after his fourth goal since the league restart
Tuesday’s win keeps Chelsea in pole position in the three-way battle for two Champions League spots next season.
Lampard’s side are four points clear of Leicester and Manchester United – who both have a game in hand – with two matches left.
They travel to champions Liverpool next Wednesday before concluding their season at home to Wolves, on Sunday, July 26.
There is nothing quite like a Court of Arbitration overruling to focus the mind.
The requirements for Champions League qualification are crystal clear after Manchester City had their two-year ban from European football rescinded on Monday. Finishing fifth doesn’t get you in, it’s top four or bust.
Chelsea, after this scrappy win over Norwich, looks nailed on to eat at European football’s top table again next season.
Olivier Giroud celebrates with Jorginho after scoring Chelsea’s winning goal on the stroke of half-time against Norwich
The French striker makes a gesture after netting what proved to be the only goal of the game at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday
Giroud netted with a diving header to give Chelsea a crucial three points in their bid to secure a top four finish this season