Michael Owen has warned Frank Lampard that starting Olivier Giroud week in, week out may cost Chelsea in the title race as the Frenchman is not an “elite” striker.
Giroud grabbed headlines earlier this week as he scored four goals in the Blues’ stunning Champions League victory at Sevilla.
Lampard rewarded the remarkable display by handing Giroud his first Premier League start of the season in Saturday night’s clash with Leeds.
Giroud made good on his opportunity, scoring the equaliser as Chelsea came from behind to win 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
But he has not done enough to convince two-time Premier League Golden Boot-winner Owen that he is the man to spearhead a title charge.
“He (Giroud) is an all-round player, isn’t he,” Owen told Premier League Productions . “He doesn’t set your pulse racing because he hasn’t got electric pace, he doesn’t do the exciting things.
“He doesn’t beat five players and smack it in the top corner but he’s a very, very functional player who adds so much to the team.
“He can hold the ball up, you can bounce off him, he scores goals. But hang on a minute, he has been around 10 odd years. Why did Arsenal let him go? Why have Chelsea rarely played him?
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“He was close to leaving a season or so ago because there was a World Cup at the end and all these reasons, he had to start playing. A lot of top managers haven’t started him consistently.
“It’s not to say he’s a bad player but we’re talking elite, elite, elite to win the Premier League. You need one of the best few in the world.”
Continuing his criticism, Owen recalled Giroud almost joined Inter Milan in January and pointed out he has not been able to fire either Arsenal or Chelsea to the Premier League title.
Do you agree with Michael Owen’s criticism of Olivier Giroud? Have your say here.
The former England ace added: “I watch him and I admire him. World Cup winner. Don’t get me wrong, I really rate him.
“Zero goals at the World Cup. He’s a very good player. But not everyone is wrong about him.
“Would you play him every single week if you were trying to win the league? I think you’d be looking for someone a little bit better. That’s what’s happened throughout his career.
“Lampard did try and sell him 12 months ago. Of course, you’re well within your rights to change your mind. I’m just playing devil’s advocate. We’re all getting carried away.
“I just watched him and thought he was brilliant. I watched him midweek and thought he was brilliant.
“But you’ve got to think back and think, ‘hang on a minute’, he’s never been – for Arsenal he was never… and that wasn’t a league winning team.”
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