"brendan donley" "the assist" "soccer blog" "football blog"

#108 // Giroud → Hazard Chelsea 4 – 1 Arsenal

On the shores of the Caspian Sea, the Europa League final.

And Olivier Giroud—assisting the final blow against his former team.




They’re playing this game in Baku, Azerbaijan—a country known for…

Desolation? Soviet Union? Silk Road rest stop? Chess? That volcanic hole in the ground that burns all day?


A foreign land, without good reason for having been chosen.

But there they are.

In the Europa League final.

A most familiar London derby, closer to Mount Everest than Buckingham Palace.







In the 49th minute, Giroud scored the first goal of the game to put Chelsea ahead, on a brilliant near-post header.


And then, leading 3-1 in the 72nd minute…

This one-two give and go combination, with the lofted flick back across to Hazard for the goal—his final in a Chelsea uniform.






One of his career nights, and the finale to a year of soccer that saw him winning the World Cup with France, then leading the Europa League in scoring with 11 goals—carrying on despite the sparse playing time in the Premier League season.




So what do you do, to honor a night like that? For a goal, an assist, a season like that?

Well, you get on the bus, lift up the trophy…

And taunt the team that made you famous.