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Giroud eyes Chelsea chance after bruising full debut

Chelsea’s French striker Olivier Giroud holds a head bandage after getting caught in a challenge during the English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge in London on February 12, 2018 © AFP / Glyn KIRK

LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 13Olivier Giroud is focused on nailing down a first-team place at Chelsea after a dramatic full debut against West Brom, during which he was forced to have five stitches for a head wound.

The France striker, who moved from Arsenal for £18 million ($25 million) last month, impressed during Monday’s 3-0 win against West Brom at Stamford Bridge, where he created the first of Eden Hazard’s two goals before being substituted in the second half.

He had been struggling with a calf injury, having already had five stitches for a cut when taking studs to the head, but his manager Antonio Conte expects him to be fit for Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round fixture with Hull.

“It’s been a while since I played regularly and that’s why I needed to move,” said Giroud, who was replaced by Chelsea’s summer signing Alvaro Morata. “I needed a new challenge and Chelsea was the perfect club for me.

“It’s the Premier League, a club which has won more titles in the past 10 years than any other. It’s a massive club and I am very proud to be here and to carry on my career.

“I feel very good. It’s been maybe two months since I started a game so I felt good. I worked hard in training to be physically ready and to do what the coach asked me to do tactically. There is still room for improvement but I take a lot of pleasure from (my performance) and I’m happy to set the first goal for Eden.”

The 31-year-old said he was focused on Chelsea after “five amazing years” at Arsenal.

“I said at half-time when they put stitches in my head that I wanted to carry on, but the calf was very painful and I couldn’t play the whole game,” he added.

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