By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 29th May 2019
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri heads into the Europa League final knowing he can call upon a bona fide expert in knockout deciders – a man opponents Arsenal know all too well.
Former Gunner Olivier Giroud is the man in question and his history of scoring in and winning cup finals makes him a potent portent in the Stamford Bridge side’s favour in Baku.
The 32-year-old with the matinee idol mug enters the Europa League showpiece with a joint-competition-leading 10 goals to his name and he’s 19/10 in the anytime goalscorer betting.
Europa League the latest Giroud cup final conquest?
Despite losing the first final he contested, the 2011 Coupe de la Ligue while at Montpellier, the French international has gone on to have an enviable record in silverware showdowns.
Christened ‘le buteur du charme’ (the charm striker) by Le Parisien the following season, in recognition of both his knack for scoring goals and his much-admired good looks, his luck would soon change.
Giroud’s association with final wins owes much to the oldest knockout competition of them all. The FA Cup scarcely left his possession between 2014 and 2018, during which time he won four of five editions.
Of those four winners’ medals, three came with Arsenal, but the most recent came with Chelsea, the same club he represented when winning the most major final of his career later the same summer.
Having endured a shock defeat with France in home soil in the 2016 European Championships, the Blues veteran regained the final winning thread when Les Bleus beat Croatia to win the 2018 World Cup.
Across all seven finals mentioned the burly target man struck just once, an injury-time cherry on top of the Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa cake back in 2014/15.
Despite this, Giroud’s record in the Europa League this term bodes well for improving that tally against the club that bought him to the Premier League back in 2012.
He’s 16/5 to find the net anytime in a Chelsea win in 90 minutes.