Champions League: Chelsea Thrash Sevilla, Secure Top Spot In Group

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (R) heads the ball during the UEFA Champions League group E football match between Sevilla FC and Chelsea FC at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium in Seville on December 2, 2020. / AFP

 

Olivier Giroud scored four goals as Chelsea romped to an impressive 4-0 victory at Sevilla on Wednesday to secure top spot in Champions League Group E.

The 34-year-old striker is the oldest player to score a hat-trick in the competition since Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas in 1965 for Real Madrid against Feyenoord.

He is also the first player to net four times in a Champions League match since Cristiano Ronaldo against Malmo five years ago.

“Amazing solo performance from Olivier. Delighted with him, delighted with the team. This is a difficult place to come,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, the last Chelsea player to score four goals in a game against Aston Villa in 2010, told BT Sport.

Both teams were already qualified for the last 16 before kick-off, but Giroud made the most of a rare start, scoring with his left foot, his right foot, and his head to see Chelsea through as group winners, also slotting in a penalty.

“I didn’t know until two years ago that you called it a perfect hat-trick when I scored (a treble) against (Dynamo) Kiev in (the) Europa League, I said ‘What do you mean?’ It was good, I had good assists though,” Giroud said.

“I will try to carry on like that — to finish the good job of the team and it’s always nice to be in the club history and we play football to mark our history, so I’m pleased to help the team to win and to score the four goals.”

The France international sent out a message to Lampard, with Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham seemingly above him in the pecking order, by making the absolute most of only his second start of the season.

“Let me enjoy the night and that great win and after that we will rest and we will see what the gaffer’s plan is,” Giroud said when asked if he was now expecting to start against Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday.

Lampard will now be able to rest players for the final group game against Krasnodar at Stamford Bridge, with his side looking to improve on last season’s run to the last 16, where they were well beaten by eventual winners Bayern Munich.

 Fine finish

Giroud wasted little time in putting Chelsea ahead, collecting Kai Havertz’s clever pass before cutting inside and bending a fine finish into the far corner in the eighth minute.

Sevilla were left frustrated as they saw two penalty appeals for handball turned down.

In the 20th minute, claims that Christian Pulisic handled were waved away by referee Artur Soares Dias after he checked the pitchside monitor.

The hosts had another penalty shout turned down following a lengthy VAR delay after an Ivan Rakitic free-kick struck the Chelsea wall.

Aside from those nervy moments, Lampard’s Blues were the more threatening, with Antonio Rudiger seeing a header cleared off the line before Alfonso Pastor kept out Pulisic’s low drive.

The home side started the second half brightly, as Jesus Navas picked out Nemanja Gudelj with a clever pass, but the Serbian international fired narrowly over.

Chelsea doubled their advantage in the 54th minute, though, as Giroud boosted his case for more game time further by latching onto Mateo Kovacic’s pass and clipping the ball over the Sevilla goalkeeper.

But he was not finished there, completing his first Champions League hat-trick since a treble against Olympiakos for Arsenal in 2015 with a looping header from N’Golo Kante’s cross.

Giroud rounded off a virtuoso display from the spot with seven minutes to play, scoring a spot-kick he had won himself.

AFP

Giroud Extends Chelsea Contract Until June 2021

Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after Chelsea's English midfielder Ross Barkley (unseen) scored his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 7, 2018.
Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after Chelsea’s English midfielder Ross Barkley (unseen) scored his team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 7, 2018. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea have triggered the option to extend France striker Olivier Giroud’s contract by a year until June 2021, a source said Saturday.

Giroud, 33, signed for Chelsea in winter 2018 from cross-city rivals Arsenal.

The 33-year-old has scored 39 goals in 97 appearances for France, making him his country’s third-highest goalscorer behind Michel Platini (41) and Thierry Henry (51), and the striker will be vying for a spot at next year’s European Championship.

 

AFP

Benzema Ridicules Giroud As Rift Deepens

Benzema Scores Twice To Give Madrid Win Over Eibar
Real Madrid’s French forward Karim Benzema. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has mocked France striker Olivier Giroud by likening himself to a Formula One car and Giroud a go-kart.

Benzema has not played for France since 2015 and watched from afar as Giroud spearheaded the team’s World Cup triumph in Russia two years ago.

With over 500 appearances for Real Madrid and in his 11th season with the Spanish giants, no questions remain over Benzema’s playing skills.

Asked about the Chelsea forward during a question and answer session on Instagram on Sunday night, Benzema said: “You can’t confuse a Formula One car with a go-kart, and I’m being kind. I know I’m a Formula One car…

“It works because he’s there, that’s it. It’s not going to be spectacular. (Antoine) Griezmann and (Kylian) Mbappe get seen more while he rolls his sleeves up and does the dirty work.

“But does everyone like his game? I don’t know.”

During the 2016 and 2017 seasons ahead of up Russia 2018, Giroud scored 16 goals for France in 24 games.

He also played every match at the World Cup and although he failed to find the target in Russia, his team came home with the trophy.

France coach Didier Deschamps has sidelined Benzema since a legal case in 2015.

The case involving Benzema allegedly trying to facilitate a scheme to blackmail fellow France international Mathieu Valbuena over a compromising private film on a stolen mobile phone.

The investigation is ongoing and Benzema is now waiting to hear if he will face a criminal trial.

Benzema has scored 19 goals in 32 appearances for Real Madrid this season while Giroud has largely been a back-up player for Chelsea, despite a decent run of form in February.

AFP

Giroud Starts For France In Peru Showdown

Giroud Starts For France In Peru Showdown
France’s forward Olivier Giroud (2R) attends with team-mates a training session at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Ekaterinburg on June 20, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match between France and Peru. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud will start for France against Peru in their World Cup Group C encounter on Thursday with coach Didier Deschamps dropping Ousmane Dembele.

France will seal their spot in the knockout rounds with a victory thanks to the 1-1 stalemate between Australia and Denmark and defeat for Peru will end their Russian campaign.

The 31-year-old Giroud will be the focal point of the French attack, with starlet Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann playing off him.

The 21-year-old Barcelona man Dembele pays the price for making little impact in France’s stuttering 2-1 victory over Australia in their opener.

Blaise Matuidi replaces Corentin Tolisso in midfield in Deschamps’s other change.

Tottenham Hotspur and France captain Hugo Lloris will win his 100th cap for his country in Yekaterinburg, the most eastern city at the World Cup.

Lloris, along with the skippers of Denmark and Australia, backed Peru talisman Paolo Guerrero in calling for his drugs ban to be overturned for the World Cup.

Peru’s all-time leading goalscorer and captain was surprisingly on the bench for Peru’s opening game, coming on in the second half, but the South Americans went down 1-0 to Denmark.

The 34-year-old Guerrero will face Lloris from the start after Peru coach Ricardo Gareca chose him in his starting XI in place of Jefferson Farfan.

Peru are competing in their first World Cup since 1982.

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe

Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)

Peru: Pedro Gallese, Luis Advincula, Christian Ramos, Alberto Rodriguez, Miguel Trauco, Pedro Aquino, Yoshimar Yotun, Andre Carrillo, Christian Cueva, Edison Flores, Paolo Guerrero

Coach: Ricardo Gareca (ARG)

Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan (UAE)

AFP

Giroud Begins Chelsea Career With Southampton Fightback

FILE COPY Chelsea’s French attacker Olivier Giroud applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Olivier Giroud hopes to have kickstarted his Chelsea career after coming off the bench to inspire an eight-minute turnaround from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Southampton on Saturday with his first Premier League goals for the club.

The French international striker has largely struggled to make an impact since his deadline day move from Arsenal in January, putting his place at the World Cup at risk.

“I’ve been through some difficulties in my career, but I always try to come back stronger and it happened today,” said Giroud.

“The most important thing is to never give up, believe in our quality, play our game and I am proud of what we have done today.”

Defeat is another body blow to Saints’ chances of avoiding relegation as they remain rooted in the bottom three when for so long they seemed set for a first home win in the Premier League since November.

Dusan Tadic and debutant Jan Bednarek put the hosts in command, but Giroud struck either side of Eden Hazard’s equaliser to cut the gap on Liverpool and Tottenham in the fight for a top-four finish and Champions League football next season to seven points.

“As long as it is mathematically possible we will believe we can reach the top four,” added Giroud. “We have got five finals to play, after that we will see.”

The two sides will meet again in the FA Cup semi-finals next weekend, and Southampton will do well to raise themselves for cup glory with their place in the Premier League next season looking ever more precarious.

“As has been the case all year apparently we’ve got a soft underbelly,” said Saints boss Mark Hughes, whose three Premier League games in charge have now all ended in defeats. “When the momentum shifts against us we can’t get a platform and wait until the momentum swings our way again.”

Alonso escapes red 

Southampton had got off to a perfect start thanks to a former Chelsea player as Ryan Bertrand burst past Cesar Azpilicueta before squaring for Tadic to apply a simple finish.

Only a fine save low to his right from Thibaut Courtois denied Saints a second through James Ward-Prowse as Chelsea struggled to create anything of note before the break.

“Our first half was very negative,” said Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. “We didn’t show great spirit, desire, will to fight to win this game.

“But I saw a great reaction. If you don’t have something in you’re heart, it’s difficult to come back and win this game.”

Chelsea’s frustration overspilled as tempers flared late in the first period when Marcos Alonso was lucky to escape unpunished for raking his studs down Shane Long’s calf.

“It’s a clear red card and clear intent to hurt Shane,” raged Hughes. “It could’ve broken his leg. There were three officials within five to 10 yards so how each of them missed it is a mystery to me.”

Bednarek marked his Premier League debut in style when he half-volleyed expertly across the goal and into the far corner from Ward-Prowse’s free-kick on the hour mark.

Conte swiftly responded by hauling off the disappointing Alvaro Morata and Davide Zappacosta for Pedro Rodriguez and Giroud.

And Giroud showed what he is capable of with a brave near post header from Alonso’s pinpoint cross to get Chelsea back in the game and spark an incredible fightback 20 minutes from time.

Five minutes later Hazard levelled by smashing home Willian’s cross from close range.

With Southampton reeling, Giroud then completed Chelsea’s comeback when he pounced on a loose ball inside the area to drive into the bottom corner.

AFP

Chelsea Sign Giroud From Arsenal

Chelsea Sign Giroud From Arsenal
Oliver Giroud moves to Chelsea

 

Chelsea signed France striker Olivier Giroud from London rivals Arsenal on Wednesday’s transfer deadline day, freeing up Michy Batshuayi to leave Stamford Bridge on loan to German side Borussia Dortmund.

Premier League champions Chelsea revealed on their website that Giroud had signed an 18-month contract, with the 31-year-old saying: “Chelsea is one of the biggest teams in the Premier League. They have won maybe the most trophies in the last six or seven years.

“It’s a massive club and I am proud to sign for Chelsea, and I’m looking forward to playing.”

AFP

France Lose Giroud For Germany Clash

Giroud, Euro 2016

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will miss Tuesday’s friendly against world champions Germany in Cologne due to injury, the French football federation said on Sunday.

The 31-year-old suffered a right thigh strain during Friday’s 2-0 victory over Wales at the Stade de France, where he scored his 29th international goal.

France have several on-form strikers jostling to play alongside Antoine Griezmann including Anthony Martial of Manchester United or Giroud’s Arsenal teammate Alexandre Lacazette.

Giroud has been granted permission to return to his club and is yet to be replaced in Didier Deschamps’s squad.

Read Also: Spain’s Isco To Miss Russia Trip

AFP

Arsenal Boost Champions League Hope With West Ham Victory

Champions League: Arsenal Boost Chances With West Ham VictoryArsenal on Wednesday night boosted their UEFA Champions League hope with a deserved 3-0 victory over West Ham.

The Gunners were able to increase their possibility of top-four finish at the Emirates with goals from Mesut Oezil, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud.

Reacting to the victory, Ozil said the North Londoners have not forgotten how to win.

With the victory, Arsenal have moved to fifth position on the Premier League table with 54 points.

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-0 To Set Club Record

Chelsea Beat Bournemouth 3-1 To Set Club RecordLeague leaders Chelsea thrashed Bournemouth 3-0 at Stamford Bridge with a brace from Pedro Rodriquez and a goal from Belgian forward Eden Hazard.

With the victory, Chelsea set a club-record 12th successive Premier League victory while Hazard also earned his 50th Premier League goal

Pedro had given Chelsea the lead with a curled effort from 18 yards supplied by Cesc Fabregas’ 98th Premier League assist, before Hazard scored a penalty in the 49th minute after he was fouled by Simon Francis.

The Belgian became the sixth Chelsea player to reach 50 PL goals after Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Gianfranco Zola and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

AFC Bournemouth were dangerous throughout and twice went close through Jack Wilshere and substitute Benik Afobe, but Antonio Conte’s men held firm and got a late third through Pedro’s deflected shot.

Manchester United’s resurgence in the English Premier League continued as the Red Devils beat Sunderland 3-1 at Old Trafford with goals from Daley Blind, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrik Mkhitaryan.

Olivier Giroud’s 87th minute goal was all arsenal needed to secure maximum points against West Brom at the Emirates Stadium while Watford and Crystal Palace played a 1-1 draw.

Everton also beat defending champions Leicester City 2-0 while West Ham secured a priceless 4-1 away victory over Swansea City.

Arsenal Beat Bournemouth 3-1 In Premier League

Arsenal Beat Bournemouth 3-1 In Premier LeagueArsenal on Sunday afternoon defeated Bournemouth 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium to maintain fourth spot in the English Premier League.

With Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool having won on Saturday, Arsenal needed all three points to maintain the chase on the leaders and break further ahead of London rivals, Tottenham Hotspurs who lost to Chelsea.

Arsene Wenger’s men started well and got their reward early in the 12th minute with a calmly taken goal from Alexis Sánchez coming off an error from Steve Cook.

The Bournemouth defender got the ball from his goalkeeper, before slotting a scuffed pass back across his area and into the path of the Arsenal striker.

However, the lead did not last.

In what seemed like a harsh decision, Bournemouth got a lifeline with a penalty award after minutes of good pressure on the Arsenal defence.

Callum Wilson stepped forward to convert in the 23rd minute, making history as the scorer of Bournemouth’s first ever goal against the Gunners in history.

Walcott made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute. Ozil showed some lovely footwork, before curling a cross towards the back post. Monreal received it and guided a square ball towards the back post, which the England international was able to nod home from close-range.

Sanchez finished what he started and sealed the game for Arsenal in the 90th minute after Olivier Giroud picked out the Chile international in the six-yard box.

The 3-1 victory brought an end to Arsenal’s three game win-less run after draws against Spurs, Manchester United and PSG had left fans nervous.

The Gunners remain three points behind table leaders Chelsea.

At the Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands as Manchester United were again frustrated at home with a 1-1 draw against West Ham.

Southampton beat Everton by a lone goal while Stoke City also defeated Watford by same score line.

Earlier in the day, Watford lost 0-1 at home to Stoke City.

On Saturday, Liverpool extended their unbeaten run in the league to 11 games with a 2-0 win against Sunderland while Sergio Aguero scored twice to give Manchester City a 2-1 victory at Burnley.

At the Liberty Stadium, fans witnessed an astonishing nine-goal thriller with seven goals scored after the break.

Substitute Fernando Llorente scored twice in stoppage time as Swansea recorded an incredible 5-4 victory over Crystal Palace.

Nigerian winger, Ahmed Musa was a second half substitute for Leicester City as they struggled to a 2-2 draw against Middleborough.

Guardiola Says Manchester City Win Against Barcelona Is Vital

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Barcelona
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, Barcelona

Pep Guardiola has described Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Barcelona as momentous, considering he has only been working at the club for four months.

Guardiola, who believes it is just a beginning for City, however, says it shows his team is on the right track.

It was a dream come true for the coach as two goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne’s fine free-kick handed the hosts a famous win.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi had open the scoring in the 21st minute with the aim to replicate the Spanish side’s 4-0 win at Camp Nou.

However, the story changed down the line, as the match ended 3-1 on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.

This means Manchester City have one foot in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages.

Ozil Again Secures Arsenal’s Victory Against Razgrad

Arsenal, Ludogorets Razgrad, Mesut Ozil, Manchester United, BarcelonaArsenal have yet again beaten Ludogorets Razgrad 3-2 in a UEFA Champions League return match on Tuesday night.

Although the Gunners had a poor beginning, they later displayed a brilliant performance at the Ludogorets Arena in Bulgaria.

Goals from Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru had set Razgrad on the spot before Granit Xhaka gave the English visitors a reason not to lose their winning hope.

Olivier Giroud also made good use of Aaron Ramsey’s assist to level the score for Arsenal in the 42nd minute.

After a strong battle for the winner, Mohamed Elneny made a superb pass which led to Mesut Ozil’s 88th minute goal.

In an earlier visit to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal humbled the Bulgarian side 6 – 0.

Ozil netted a hat-trick while Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a goal apiece.

Dream Come True

Meanwhile, it was a dream come true for Coach Pep Guardiola as Manchester United thrashed Barcelona 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola: Champions League: Guardiola Wants New Mindset Against Barcelona
Pep Guardiola

Football legend, Lionel Messi had open the scoring in the 21st minute with the aim to replicate the Spanish side’s 4-0 win at Camp Nou.

However, the story changed down the line, as Ilkay Guendogan equalised for City.

The first half subsequently ended 1-1.

Kevin de Bruyne netted a brilliant goal few minutes after the second half began before Guendogan scored his second goal.