Steve Nicol and Raphael Honigstein agree Gonzalo Higuain will help Chelsea score goals, but they also think it increases the club’s pressure to perform.

Olivier Giroud has welcomed the fresh competition that Gonzalo Higuain will bring to Chelsea as the Argentine striker prepares to make his debut in the FA Cup against Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

Chelsea confirmed Higuain’s arrival on loan from Juventus on Wednesday, and the 31-year-old was presented to Stamford Bridge ahead of their penalty shootout win over Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semifinal second leg.

Giroud was handed a rare start against Spurs, with head coach Maurizio Sarri favouring Eden Hazard as a false nine in recent matches, and last week the France international admitted in an interview with ESPN FC that he has found it difficult to accept his lack of game time.

Higuain is expected to start against the Championship side with a view to establishing himself as Sarri’s preferred striking option for the remainder of the season, but Giroud is adamant that he will keep battling for a starting spot.

“I think it’s good for the club to have different top strikers,” he told ESPN FC. “It’s a benefit for the team and competition is always good for strikers, so we will try to step up together to help the team reach our target.”

Giroud missed two good chances to give Chelsea victory over Tottenham in normal time on Thursday but his overall performance was praised after the match by Hazard, and he believes he will continue to combine well with the Belgium international if given opportunities.

“It’s true, I’ve got a very good understanding with Eden, off the pitch and on the pitch,” he added. “[But] I’m not making the starting XI — the manager makes choices and you have to respect them. Maybe I have to show more in training to be back in the team [on a regular basis].”

Higuain may boast a more prolific scoring record than Giroud, but he cannot match the Frenchman’s pedigree in the FA Cup in which he has been directly involved in 22 goals in 27 appearances in the competition since 2013, and lifted the trophy four times with Arsenal and Chelsea.

“I’ve been decisive for Arsenal and Chelsea in Wembley, in semifinals and finals,” Giroud said. “I hope this year is going to be the same. It’s always important to be here, to be determined to go to the end in cups and I’ll always try to bring something to the team.

Gonzalo Higuain was presented to Chelsea fans ahead of Thursday’s match against Tottenham.

“[Wembley] is maybe one of the biggest stadiums I’ve played in. It’s a great feeling, especially the finals. It’s a big show with the fireworks and national anthem, so you always feel something special in this moment.

“Cup games are different. You don’t have to think too much about the next game because it’s not the championship — if you lose, you are out of the competition.

“That is the beauty of this competition. I’ve won it four times and if I could win it again I’d love to. It’s a bit different but the FA Cup is always special for English players and English teams.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here