Olivier Giroud was making only his second Chelsea start of the season
Olivier Giroud scored all four goals in a comprehensive Chelsea victory over Sevilla that ensures the Blues take top spot in Champions League Group E.
The Frenchman scored early in each half with two delightful finishes after being fed by clever passes from Kai Havertz and Matteo Kovacic respectively.
He completed the treble with a flicked near-post header, then converted a penalty after he was bundled over in the box.
Already assured of qualification for the last 16, Chelsea made nine changes to the team that drew 0-0 with Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday.
Both Havertz and Christian Pulisic made their first Blues starts since October following illness and injury, while 19-year-old midfielder Billy Gilmour came off the bench for his first appearance of the season.
Sevilla, also sure of their place in the knockout stages, were without a number of first-choice players and were forced to give a debut to goalkeeper Alfonso Pastor after Tomas Vaclik was injured in the warm-up.
There was little the 20-year-old could do about the goals and his saves ensured Chelsea’s winning margin was not greater.
Giroud makes his point – again
Giroud had made only one previous start for Chelsea this season, in the EFL Cup defeat by Tottenham, but this haul came after he scored a stoppage-time winner as a substitute against Rennes last week.
His path to regular Premier League football is blocked by Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham, but he could do no more to take the opportunity presented to him in southern Spain.
The former Arsenal man put in a complete performance, not only displaying clinical finishing, but also a physical presence that tortured the home defence.
Chelsea found regular joy with runs from midfield and it was Havertz’s early burst that ended in a lay-off to Giroud, who cut inside and tucked inside the far post with his left foot.
The second goal was a joy, a dinked right-footed finish over Pastor, while the header from N’Golo Kante’s cross from the right completed a ‘perfect’ hat-trick.
The spot-kick, drilled in with his left-foot, was Giroud’s final act before he was withdrawn.
Chelsea coast to top spot
While both teams made changes safe in the knowledge their progress was already certain, there was still the carrot of a theoretically easier draw in the last 16 to play for.
Chelsea would not have expected such a straightforward evening against a Sevilla side who sit fifth in La Liga and took a point from a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge in October.
Yet, bar a period in the first half when set-pieces from the left caused trouble in the visiting defence, the Blues coasted to a fourth successive Champions League victory for the first time since they lifted the trophy in 2012.
Havertz and Pulisic, who have seen Hakim Ziyech emerge during their time on the sidelines, were both lively, while Callum Hudson-Odoi was a threat down the right.
Antonio Rudiger saw a header from a corner cleared off the line at the end of an even first period, before Chelsea dominated the second half as the hosts tired.
By the end, they had extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 15 games, during which time they have kept eight clean sheets.
More to follow.
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- 3GómezBooked at 82mins
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- 23IdrissiBooked at 42mins
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- 9de Jong
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- 17KovacicBooked at 37mins
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Artur Manuel Soares Dias
- Match ends, Sevilla 0, Chelsea 4.
- Second Half ends, Sevilla 0, Chelsea 4.
- Attempt saved. Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Óliver Torres.
- Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla) wins a free kick on the right wing.
- Foul by Emerson (Chelsea).
- Joan Jordán (Sevilla) is shown the yellow card.
- Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.
- Mason Mount (Chelsea) is shown the yellow card.
- Foul by Joan Jordán (Sevilla).
- Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
- Karim Rekik (Sevilla) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
- Foul by César Azpilicueta (Chelsea).
- Foul by Joan Jordán (Sevilla).
- Mason Mount (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
- VAR Decision: No Penalty Chelsea.
- Substitution, Chelsea. Billy Gilmour replaces Jorginho.
- Substitution, Chelsea. Timo Werner replaces Olivier Giroud.
- Goal! Sevilla 0, Chelsea 4. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the top right corner.
- Sergi Gómez (Sevilla) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
- Penalty conceded by Sergi Gómez (Sevilla) after a foul in the penalty area.