Giroud: I want to stay at Chelsea and win more trophies

With the European Championship finals delayed by a year, and his national team manager Didier Deschamps desperate for his leading striker to be playing more minutes, there is certainly a sense of déjà vu to the narrative around Giroud right now.

For the player himself, a model professional on and off the field, the focus remains on being in the right physical and mental condition to perform whenever he is called upon.

‘I just have to show the manager that I am ready to fight until the end, as I told him at the beginning of the season, but obviously to be happy I need to be a little bit more on the pitch,’ Giroud said in the aftermath of our 4-0 win in Seville, a result that secured top spot in the Champions League Group E.

‘The gaffer gave me the opportunity to play and I hope I will have more opportunities again because I think I’ve shown him that I am ready to fight for the team. We all want to be on the pitch but we have a great squad.’

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Registration open for 2020/21 ePremier League

Representatives of all 20 Premier League clubs will be determined in qualifying before taking part in the online play-offs, with the top players then reaching the live finals next spring.

Online qualifying is open to players of every level, from professional gamers to the relatively inexperienced, with everyone competing in 90-rated Online Friendlies as their Premier League team, before moving on to FIFA Ultimate Team using Premier League players for the play-offs.

The finals will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, Premier League channels and the EA Sports FIFA 21 Twitch channel, and reached more than 22 million people over the last two seasons.

That makes the ePremier League the perfect opportunity to show off your FIFA 21 skills to your fellow Blues fans and the rest of the world while representing Chelsea, not to mention the chance to take home the trophy and a share of the £40,000 prize pot. This season, there are also seats on offer for the top-ranking players to compete in the EA Sports FIFA 21 Global Series European Playoffs. 

The ePL evolved during the 2019/20 season, with the introduction of the ePL Invitational Tournament while football was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. This saw first-team players and other famous faces compete on behalf of all 20 Premier League clubs in online EA Sports FIFA 20 tournaments, with Reece James, Emerson and Billy Gilmour all representing the Blues.

Make sure you register here to follow them in representing Chelsea in the ePremier League.

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Azpilicueta: Effort, even if not playing, is why we won big

‘I think there were plenty of things to be proud of,’ said Azpilicueta. ‘We’re really pleased with how we performed against a team who are the Europa League champions and have some great strengths.

‘We managed to dominate the game, which isn’t easy against a team of their calibre and with their top-level experience. Even though we were under pressure from time to time, we always kept that control, and that helped us win the match.’

A veteran of seven Champions League campaigns with Chelsea, having joined a few months after we won the trophy, Azpilicueta saved his highest praise for Giroud, but said his long-time colleague’s perfect display highlighted the hard work that has been put in by players up and down the teamsheet.

‘We have some who maybe aren’t getting the minutes that they had in previous seasons, myself included,’ he said. ‘But I think our effort day-to-day has been fantastic from everyone.

‘As a squad, we’re all working very hard. We’ve seen that reflected in Olivier Giroud scoring four goals in a Champions League game. That doesn’t happen every day – but it doesn’t happen by itself either. A lot of work that went into that.’

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Watch the highlights of our big win in Spain

The French striker was in clinical form as he scored all of our goals in the emphatic 4-0 victory over Sevilla, from just five shots in total. His tally even included a perfect hat-trick, before he made it a perfect double brace by adding a penalty to the right foot, left foot and headed efforts he had scored from open play.

Four-goal hero Giroud and captain Cesar Azpilicueta spoke after the match to Chelsea TV, which you can watch below.

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Lampard on Giroud’s four-goal haul, a complete performance and the challenge that lies ahead in the Champions League

Giroud’s supporting cast also deserve plenty of credit for how we played in Spain

‘When you play Oli you know his attributes. It’s important we get a lot of energy around him, people that can run off him, support him. He has the qualities to hold the ball up obviously, and quality with balls in the box like N’Golo puts in.

‘So I loved all those parts of us at the top end of the pitch, having made nine changes in a game, because as I said players are deserving to play, because I see them training well. Some players can get their heads down if they’re not playing lots of minutes and that’s always a worry when you make that level of changes.

‘But the focus and concentration of the team, in the moments you suffer which you always will do against a team like this. In the first half we dealt with things, we defended well, we were organised and some of our play was great. Whether it was our comfort on the ball or whether it was our counter-attacking at pace to cause a threat to them, there were so many big pluses from tonight and we need to continue with that.’

Plenty of players’ performances gave him difficult selection decisions to make for our next game against Leeds

‘That’s what you ask for I suppose when you make nine changes. I always say when I pick the team I try and pick the best team for the game and not to have favourites as such. You try and put the best team on paper. When players play as they did today they give you a great problem. It’s not a problem, that’s the wrong way to describe it, it’s just having a top player playing with quality, playing with dedication.’

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Match Report: Sevilla 0 Chelsea 4

What’s next?

Leeds United at the Bridge on Saturday, with 2,000 Blues supporters in the stadium. Let’s hope for a repeat performance! Our Champions League group stage campaign concludes the following Tuesday at home to Krasnodar.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Mendy; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger, Emerson; Havertz (Kante 67), Jorginho (Gilmour 85), Kovacic (Ziyech 67); Hudson-Odoi, Giroud (Werner 84), Pulisic (Mount 67).
Unused subs: Kepa, Caballero, Tomori, James, Chilwell, Alonso, Abraham.
Scorer Giroud 8, 54, 74, 83 (penalty)
Booked Kovacic 37, Pulisic 43, Mount 90+1

Sevilla (4-3-3): Pastor; Jesus Navas (c) (Kounde 60), Sergi Gomez, Diego Carlos, Rekik; Rakitic (Torres 75), Gudelj, Oscar Rodriguez (Jordan 60); Vazquez (Munir 66), En-Nesryi, Idrissi (Ocampos 60).
Unused subs Gonzalez, De Jong, Fernando, Zarzana, Vazquez, Romero.
Booked Gudelj 15, Idrissi 41, Sergi Gomez 82

Referee Artur Dias.

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Internationals: First cap for Berger and Jonna Andersson scores first goal for country

Berger received her first international cap this evening having earnt a place in the starting line-up of the German national side. The Chelsea goalkeeper, along with Blues team-mate Melanie Leupolz, helped their team maintain a 100 per cent record in their Euro qualifying campaign with a comfortable victory in Dublin.

Leupolz also featured in Germany’s commanding 6-0 triumph over Greece Friday evening, while Berger was an unused substitute. Leupolz came on in midfield with half-an-hour left of play and was handed the captain’s armband. They were 4-0 up by half-time and Germany are confirmed as Group I winners.

Sweden who thumped Slovakia 6-0 in their final Group F match with Andersson bagging herself a first international goal when she scored the fourth of the night. And what a goal it was from the Chelsea defender! The 27-year-old, who is known for assisting goals, this time got in on the act when she pulled the trigger from range and her left-footed effort sailed swiftly into the top corner.

Andersson played the full 90 minutes at left-back while Chelsea’s skipper Magdalena Eriksson, who was recently named as Sweden’s player of the year and defender of the year, remained on the bench. The Scandinavians had already qualified as group winners before tonight’s match and have won seven and drawn one.

Pernille Harder and Denmark drew 0-0 in their final match of Group B against second-place Italy. The Danes had already booked a place in the European Championships with a 3-1 victory away to Italy last month and they top the group undefeated with nine victories and a draw and a goal difference of 47.
 

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Prizes awarded and leaderboard reset for December on Play Predictor

The new month sees the leaderboard reset and fans given a whole new chance to win, starting with Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Sevilla. There are prizes up for grabs in each game and every calendar month, in addition to the overall winner for the season. 

With all fans starting on zero points for December, everyone has the same chance to win, making it the ideal time to get involved if you haven’t started playing yet. Whoever tops the leaderboard at the end of each month receives a signed merchandise bundle plus a £500 Megastore voucher.

That was the prize awarded to our November winner Nick from the US, who amassed a table-topping total of 253 points last month. That’s the highest monthly score so far, beating the October haul of 245 and September’s 219.  

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Who trained ahead of Sevilla?

The Blues were put through their paces at our Surrey training base, before stretching off and heading for the airport to board the plane departing for Spain.

We head into tomorrow night’s clash against Sevilla knowing we have already secured qualification to the knockout stage of the competition with our hosts, but knowing that top spot in Group E is still up for grabs.

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Blues handed home tie in FA Cup

The draw for the stage at which Premier League and Championship clubs enter the competition was made on Monday evening.

It will be our first ever meeting with Morecambe who are currently 15th in their division. 

The ties are to take place across the weekend of 8 to 11 January, with the exact dates to be announced in due course.

The full draw, which includes Tottenham visiting eighth-tier non-league side Marine, all-Premier League ties between Wolves and Palace, Arsenal and Newcastle, Villa and Liverpool, and a west London derby with QPR hosting Fulham, is: 

Huddersfield Town vs Plymouth Argyle
Southampton vs Shrewsbury Town
Chorley vs Derby County
Marine vs Tottenham
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Crystal Palace
Stockport County vs West Ham United
Oldham Athletic vs AFC Bournemouth
Manchester United vs Watford
Stevenage vs Swansea City
Everton vs Rotherham United
Nottingham Forest vs Cardiff City
Arsenal vs Newcastle United
Barnsley vs Tranmere Rovers
Bristol Rovers vs Sheffield United
Canvey Island/Boreham Wood vs Millwall
Blackburn Rovers vs Doncaster Rovers
Stoke City vs Leicester City
Wycombe Wanderers vs Preston North End
Crawley Town vs Leeds United
Burnley vs Milton Keynes Dons
Bristol City vs Portsmouth
Queens Park Rangers vs Fulham
Aston Villa vs Liverpool
Brentford vs Middlesbrough
Manchester City vs Birmingham City
Luton Town vs Reading
Chelsea vs Morecambe
Exeter City vs Sheffield Wednesday
Norwich City vs Coventry City
Blackpool vs West Bromwich Albion
Newport County vs Brighton and Hove Albion
Cheltenham Town vs Mansfield Town
 

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