Giroud eyes Chelsea chance after bruising full debut

Tuesday February 13 2018

Chelsea's French attacker Olivier Giroud runs with the ball during their English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge in London on February 12, 2018. PHOTO |  GLYN KIRK |

Chelsea's French attacker Olivier Giroud runs with the ball during their English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge in London on February 12, 2018. PHOTO | GLYN KIRK |  AFP

By AFP
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LONDON

Olivier Giroud is focused on nailing down a first-team place at Chelsea after a dramatic full debut against West Brom, during which he was forced to have five stitches for a head wound.

The France striker, who moved from Arsenal for £18 million ($25 million) last month, impressed during Monday's 3-0 win against West Brom at Stamford Bridge, where he created the first of Eden Hazard's two goals before being substituted in the second half.

He had been struggling with a calf injury, having already had five stitches for a cut when taking studs to the head, but his manager Antonio Conte expects him to be fit for Friday's FA Cup fifth-round fixture with Hull.

"It's been a while since I played regularly and that's why I needed to move," said Giroud, who was replaced by Chelsea's summer signing Alvaro Morata. "I needed a new challenge and Chelsea was the perfect club for me.

"It's the Premier League, a club which has won more titles in the past 10 years than any other. It's a massive club and I am very proud to be here and to carry on my career.

"I feel very good. It's been maybe two months since I started a game so I felt good. I worked hard in training to be physically ready and to do what the coach asked me to do tactically. There is still room for improvement but I take a lot of pleasure from (my performance) and I'm happy to set the first goal for Eden."

The 31-year-old said he was focused on Chelsea after "five amazing years" at Arsenal.

"I said at half-time when they put stitches in my head that I wanted to carry on, but the calf was very painful and I couldn't play the whole game," he added.