Olivier Giroud proved his worth scoring upon return as Chelsea walked away 2-1 victors over Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues extended their unbeaten streak over the visitors to five, amidst a closely fought battle for Champions League qualification.
Olivier Giroud put Chelsea ahead inside the opening 20 minutes with a ferocious strike that nestled past Hugo Lloris at his near post.
Chelsea began the second half with the same intensity of first, as Marcos Alonso doubled the Blues’ lead. In the dying minutes, Erik Lamela’s effort ricocheted off Antonio Rudiger into the net leaving the Blues without another much sought after clean sheet.
Blues took an early lead
Chelsea launched out of the blocks and began the game on the front foot. The tone was set. It was war. The Blues’ aggressive pressing led by Mason Mount, encouraged the home side and then dominated much of possession in the early stages.
Having been brought into the starting eleven, Giroud looked to impose himself and repay Lampard’s faith in him. The Frenchman, with a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove, put the Blues in front with a darting strike at Lloris’ near post.
Jorginho executed a perfectly weighted first-time pass in behind to find the on running Giroud. The 33-year-old’s initial strike was parried to the feet of Ross Barkley, but Chelsea’s number eight acted instinctively. He shot goal bound but saw his curling effort thunder off the post back to the lurking Giroud.
A second bite of the cherry – the veteran striker made no mistake as he arrowed the ball past Lloris at his near post.
Alonso with the second
Chelsea doubled their lead moments into the second half through Alonso’s driven strike across goal into the bottom corner.
Once again, Lampard’s brave changes looked to have paid off with the returning Mount, Giroud, Barkley and Alonso all at the heart of the goal.
Giroud’s towering header opened the heart of Spurs’ defence, before a sequence of adjacent passes, Eddie Jones would be proud of, found Alonso loitering on the edge of the box.
The Spaniard’s daisy-cutter flung across the face of goal into the bottom corner leaving Lloris helpless.
Late consolation for Spurs
As the second half drew to a close, Willian and Tammy Abraham were called into action replacing Barkley and Giroud. The Blues were persistent in their play and continued to pose a threat going forward.
However, typical of a Jose Mourinho team, his side were not going to go down easy. Second half substitute Lamela, found space in behind the Blues' defence before his effort on goal ricocheted off Rudiger past Caballero.
The final moments were poised to be a grand stand finish but Chelsea ultimately waltzed away with the three points.
Takeaways from the match
Lampard’s brave choices paid off
Chelsea’s all-time top goal scorer, whom was very much aware of the significance of the clash, proved his tactical prowess having made four changes with a new shape. The four new inclusions all played a substantial role in either, if not each of the opening two goals.
The back five has also been utilised this season on a number of occasions and proved fruitful once again.
Giroud – a food for thought
With 15 goals this season, it is hard to look past Abraham as Chelsea’s leading striker. However, when given the chance Giroud has often documented himself as arguably one of the best target men in the world.
The Frenchman had a goal ruled out by VAR against Manchester United in the week and netted again against Spurs. Giroud’s performance has given Lampard something to think about which could see Michy Batshuayi’s involvement at Stamford Bridge fizzle out.
The Frenchman scored his first Premier League goal in 325 days upon return to the starting eleven and proved his worth to the club.
The 20-year-old midfielder proved his importance to the side with his relentless pressing and energy, which ultimately set the tone for Chelsea.
He was integral to how the Blues defended on the front foot which often goes under the radar.