FA Cup specialist Giroud can give Chelsea the edge in final - Hazard

Olivier Giroud Chelsea SouthamptonGetty Images

Eden Hazard has praised Olivier Giroud's expertise and FA Cup record, which he believes can help Chelsea win the tournament this year after they were beaten in last season's final.

Chelsea lost to Giroud's former club Arsenal in 2016-17, but this time around they will face Manchester United after the two clubs safely navigated their respective semi-finals at Wembley Stadium.

The French striker opened the scoring in Chelsea's 2-0 win over Southampton on Sunday, expertly jinking away from several challenges in tight quarters before finishing with aplomb.

Giroud has had a hand in 22 goals from his 26 FA Cup appearances since 2013, which is more than any other player has managed since he debuted in the competition. He has also won the FA Cup three times, and Hazard thinks that experience will help Chelsea.

“I hope that we will win it this time – last year we sadly lost the final. But we have Olivier Giroud now. He often wins finals. Certainly the FA Cup," Hazard told reporters at Wembley Stadium.

"He has qualities. We all know that. Of course, we don’t often see those tricks of him, but it proves that he’s a good player.

"Not only with his header or his physical game, he has other qualities too. Maybe he should score more goals in this way. That would be good. 

"We had some chances. I had one myself, Willian hit the bar. Then we took the foot a little bit off the gas. We immediately scored in the second half. That helped us a lot.

"Afterwards we controlled the game. Southampton have had some opportunities, but I think that – generally speaking – we played a good game. We deserved the victory.”

Hazard put in one of his best performances over recent weeks against the Saints, as he aims to add an FA Cup win to the four trophies he has collected with Chelsea since joining the club in 2012 from Lille.

The Belgium captain will face Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini in the FA Cup final and he is excited to test himself against his compatriots before having them as team-mates at the upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“Of course, it’s always nice to play against friends," Hazard added. "But we will have to win that game. Otherwise I’ll have to hear about it during the World Cup."