By Paul Lagan
Olivier Giroud rammed home four goals as Chelsea put Sevilla to the sword with an emphatic 4-0 thrashing in Southern Spain tonight to top Group E of the Champions League.
Giroud, 34, secured the perfect hat-trick before adding to it by smashing home a penalty.
The France striker is the subject of a potential move away from the Bridge in January with Inter Milan keen to land the hit-man, who is desperate for regular first-team football to retain his international spot in the Euros in the summer.
Frank Lampard has a headache of a decision as to retain Giroud for Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to Leeds United or bench the goalscorer for Tammy Abraham.
A powerful left-footer, a delicate right-footed chip, and a glancing header gave Giroud the perfect hat-trick. His spot kick was his last action on the pitch who was then promptly replaced by Lampard on 84 minutes.
This was a dominant display by the Blues who had made nine changes from the side who drew 0-0 against Spurs at the weekend.
Pastor was forced into a first minute save from Kai Havertz’s right byline cross a the Blues started strongly.
Christian Pulisic screwed his close range twist and shot wide of goal on six minutes with Sevilla unable to get a foothold in the game.
Their dominance was rewarded a minute later when Havertz set up striker Olivier Giroud who smashed a powerful left footer home from just inside the Sevilla penalty area.
Sevilla thought they had a penalty on 19 minutes when the ball hit Andreas Christensen’s hand in the Chelsea area, but VAR adjudged it was accidental.
Pulisic went on a long run, on 27 minutes. The American opted to shoot and forced a save from Pastor who flicked the ball away for a corner.
From the resultant kick, Toni Rudiger’s header was cleared off the line by Vazquez prevented the west Londoners from doubling their lead.
There were no changes from either side at half-time.
While the Spanish side took control of the ball and possession, the Blues took their first chance of the half. Mateo Kovacic produced a slide-rule pass into the France striker’s path. With just once touch to create more space, Giroud clipped a dinky chip over the advancing Pastor to make it 2-0 on 54 minutes.
Frank Lampard made a triple substitution, Havertz, Kovacic and Pulisic were replaced by N’Golo Kante, Hakim Ziyech and Mason Mount on 68 minutes.
Mounts first touch should have resulted with a goal, but the midfielder forced. Low, diving to his left save to thwart the England international.
But the third was coming and it was a beauty of a glancing header from Giroud, from Kante who claimed the perfect hat-trick with 16 minutes left on the clock.
Giroud was bundled over to secure a penalty on 83 minutes and he smashed home the spot-kick to make it 4-0.
It was the last touch for the striker who was replaced by Timo Werner with six minutes left.
Chelsea saw out the remaining minutes and could even have added to the score but VAR decided that a Werner rebound that hit against a Sevilla defender’s elbow was not worthy of a penalty.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger, Emerson, Kovacic, Jorginho, Hudson-Odoi, Havertz, Pulisic, Giroud
Subs, Kepa, Alonso, Kante, Abraham, Werner, Caballero, Tomori, , Mount, Chilwell, Ziyech, Gilmour, James.
Sevilla: Pastor, Navas, Gomez, Santos Silva, Rekik, Rakitic, Gudelj, Rodriguez, Vazquez,
Subs: Vaclik, Jordan, De Jong, El Haddadi, Kounde, Torres, Regis, Gonzalez, Zarzana, Pastor, Vazquez, Romero.
Referee: Artur Manuel Soares, Dias
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