Olivier Giroud hits four as Chelsea clinch top spot

Olivier Giroud’s perfect hat-trick and a penalty against Sevilla helped Chelsea clinch top spot in Group E with a game to spare. Chelsea’s fringe players put on a show to thrash Seviila without breaking a sweat and extend their unbeaten run to 15 in all competitions. The win allows Lampard to rest his key players for their final game against Krasnodar amidst a hectic schedule.

Lampard and Lopetegui rung a number of changes for the game, with the former making 9 and the latter making 7 as both managers decided to give their fringe players a chance to prove their worth. Giroud gave Chelsea an early lead after an intercepted Sevilla attack allowed Havertz to break forward and set up the France international, who cut inside to curl a clinical finish in the far corner. Pulisic drew a good save from Pastor and Idrissi dragged his effort wide as the half ended in favour of Chelsea.

Seviila upped the intensity in the opening minutes of the second half as Gudelj’s thunderous volley flew just over Mendy’s bar. However, Giroud quickly doubled Chelsea’s by chipping his effort over Pastor after being set up by Kovacic. Lopetegui’s triple substitution didn’t provide any respite as Chelsea continued to dominate possession and threaten with every attack. Giroud completed his perfect hat-trick in the 74th minute in a typical striker’s fashion by heading in Kante’s cross at the near post. The France international was not done yet for the evening as he won a penalty after he was dragged down by Gomez while attempting to meet Azpilicueta’s cross. Having won the penatly, the Chelsea striker duly dispatched it into the top-right corner to round off an emphatic performance.

Speaking on his performance to BT Sport Giroud said “When you win 4-0 away in the Champions League it is always a great feeling. A good performance from the team. We took the game from the front foot. It’s a good night, also for me, because I scored four goals! I didn’t know until two years ago that you called it a perfect hat-trick. I scored against Kyiv in the Europa League and they told me that. I said, what do you mean?!, and it was plus a penalty so yes it was good, but I had good assists so it was maybe easier to finish. I will try to carry on like that. Just let me enjoy the night, we will rest, and we’ll see what the gaffer has planned for Leeds. We are looking forward to Saturday and hope for a nice welcome with the returning fans.”

Frank Lampard was delighted with his team’s performance and praised Giroud for his professionalism. The Chelsea manager said “It was an amazing performance, to score four goals in the Champions League is a fantastic achievement. I am delighted for him. We knew we had to get balls into him and I think to make nine changes in the game it was about players who deserved a chance. The concentration and dealt with any issues. Some of our play was great. There were so many pluses. He is the ultimate professional. He wasn’t always a regular, but his performances have shown that he is a great sign for young players to keep training well. It was a complete performance.

The lads have worked. We have done a lot on that and to push the drive and the spirit. But the biggest thing is the players who have to go out perform. Competition is really good but consistency wins you titles. You can’t perform like tonight and then drop our levels.”

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