Olivier Giroud won three FA Cups with Arsenal, now he is gunning for Wembley glory with Chelsea and can land £40million blow on former club

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Olivier Giroud won three FA Cups with Arsenal, now he is gunning for Wembley glory with Chelsea and can inflict £40million blow on former club

Olivier Giroud spent almost six years of his life doing everything he could to improve Arsenal. Now, his mission is to ruin their season.

His current side, Chelsea, take on the Gunners in the FA Cup final on Saturday, a match you can listen to LIVE on talkSPORT (kick-off 5:30pm).

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Giroud has been in impressive form for Chelsea over the past few months and has never lost an FA Cup match at Wembley

Yes, the magic of the Cup isn’t what it once was and no one wants to lose a final, but there’s a particularly huge amount riding on this match for Arsenal.

Beat Chelsea and Mikel Arteta’s men get Europa League football next season. Lose and there will be no European trips for Arsenal in 2020/21.

No Europa League football would hit Arsenal badly – costing them around £40million in lost revenue and leaving Arteta with even less to spend this summer.

Champions League qualification and a trophy, meanwhile, would mark an excellent first season for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard but an added incentive for the final would be to stunt the progress of their London rivals.

Ironically, it’s former Arsenal man Giroud who could well be the difference between the two sides.

Giroud won three FA Cups with Arsenal – now he is gunning for glory against them

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Giroud won three FA Cups with Arsenal – now he is gunning for glory against them

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There’s a school of thought that form counts for nothing in a cup tie but when the fixtures having been coming thick and fast, it really does.

It’s therefore no contest on who should start as Chelsea’s centre forward out of Giroud and Tammy Abraham, even though the England international has 17 goals this season to Giroud’s ten.

In the ten matches Giroud has played since the season restarted, he’s scored in seven of them. This includes the opener in Chelsea’s convincing victory over Manchester United in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, Abraham has scored just twice and in the two Premier League matches he started since the restart, Chelsea lost both times.

David de Gea didn’t cover himself in glory in the semi-finals but it was Giroud who set Chelsea on their way

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David de Gea didn’t cover himself in glory in the semi-finals but it was Giroud who set Chelsea on their way

Abraham has 17 goals this season but 15 of them were scored before the season was stopped

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Abraham has 17 goals this season but 15 of them were scored before the season was stopped

Giroud, 33, is eleven years older than Abraham so has unsurprisingly featured in more big games. But history tells us that World Cup winner Giroud also has a knack for making an impact on big games too.

He won the FA Cup three times at Arsenal and had a hand in all of their victories, laying on a cheeky backheel assist for Aaron Ramsey’s winner against Hull in 2014.

The following year, he got on the scoresheet as Arsenal thrashed Aston Villa before setting up a Ramsey winner again in 2017 as Arsenal got the better of Chelsea – Giroud’s cross for Ramsey was actually his first touch of the match.

Abraham has performed well against Arsenal in the Premier League this term – he scored in the win at the Emirates Stadium and also claimed an assist as the two sides played out a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

But you’ve only got to look at last year’s Europa League final to see that Giroud has the tools to cause many problems for Arsenal’s shaky defence.

Giroud scored the opener and provided two assists with Eden Hazard (2) and Pedro getting the other goals, who played either side of him in the 4-1 victory.

Pedro and Hazard had a lot of fun in Baku against Arsenal thanks to Giroud

Getty Images – Getty

Pedro and Hazard had a lot of fun in Baku against Arsenal thanks to Giroud

His presence will be a dream for the likes of Christian Pulisic, who’s likely to start at Wembley against an erratic Arsenal back line.

If Giroud is playing, there’s no telling how the likes of David Luiz will react…

Olivier Giroud factfile

Born: Chambery, France

Age: 33

Previous clubs played for: Grenoble, Istres (loan), Tours, Montpellier, Arsenal

Club appearances: 550

Club goals: 224

International appearances: 97

International goals: 39

Honours won: World Cup, Ligue 1, FA Cup x 4, Europa League

 





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