The last time they started together, away to Dinamo Kiev, Olivier Giroud set up Callum Hudson-Odoi to score. Yesterday against Brighton the roles were reversed, with the French striker benefitting from the youngster’s wing wizardry.
The pair have both been prolific in Europe this season, but at Stamford Bridge last night they had the opportunity to start in the Premier League, Hudson-Odoi for the first time ever, and Giroud for the first time since December.
Giroud had already had a volley blocked from a Hudson-Odoi cross by the time he daintily converted the 18-year-old’s low delivery 10 minutes before the break. The Frenchman explained how the plan came together.
‘I just said to Callum when you have the opportunity to cross have the first post as your first intention,’ Giroud said.
‘I know he loves to dribble past his defender on the outside and after cross strongly to the first post, so yeah, we’ve done well. It was a good cross and a good finish I have to say. I had to kick it in the air because the keeper was on the ground. It was tight, but I was happy for the team and myself.’
It was a brilliant goal, marrying good movement and determination with a delicate finish. Two further super strikes followed after the interval from the right boots of Eden Hazard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
‘Wow! The one from Eden is typically what he can do in training. He just puts himself in a good shooting position, dribbling past players.
‘The keeper was a bit unlucky because the two goals, Ruben’s one as well, was very hard in the top corner. Magnificent!’
Giroud was happy with his contribution to a good team performance against the Seagulls. The result keeps us in the thick of things as the race for the top four intensifies.
‘We need to keep it up. It was not our best game in Cardiff, but we showed some great team character. Against Brighton we wanted a clean sheet and to be efficient up front, and that’s what we did. We scored nice goals, it’s good for the future. We need momentum now and we already have another game on Monday at home again, so we need a win again.’
Giroud’s final word went to Hudson-Odoi, whose performances for club and country have everyone excited. Asked to assess the winger’s first league start, which included the assist for the opener, Giroud explained why his impressive performance came as no surprise.
‘He is working well in training. He is improving. He has got huge potential. He’s still young and I am sure he will become a top, top player. He needs to play more games but it’s coming.
‘He is a very good player but a good man as well in the dressing room. I like his mentality, so England can be happy to have him.’