Olivier Giroud will remember first Chelsea start after needing stitches
Olivier Giroud said he will remember his bruising but successful first start for Chelsea, telling SFR Sport he needed stitches to close a head wound during his new club's 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.
After coming off the bench in last week's 4-1 loss at Watford, Giroud was named in the starting XI for the game at Stamford Bridge and set up Eden Hazard's opening goal.
But the France international, who left Arsenal to join Chelsea last month, needed five stitches in the back of his head courtesy of Jonny Evans' challenge just before half-time and he was replaced by Alvaro Morata on the hour mark.
"It's certain that I'll remember that one," Giroud said. "People were getting stuck in. It's true that I was a little unfortunate when the defender landed on me with his studs. In fact, at half-time, they put in five stitches. I felt a little bit dazed at first, but it was fine after that.
"And as if that wasn't enough, I took another one to the calf. That was more painful, because afterwards, when I came in at half-time, I was really struggling. I wanted to continue, but it can't be helped.
"All the same, I'm happy to have helped the team win the game. There were some very good things and others will need to be worked on. In any case, I felt good and I'm happy to have won for this first match."
Giroud's arrival, which signalled Michy Batshuayi's departure on a loan to Borussia Dortmund, has given Chelsea boss Antonio Conte the option of playing either he or Morata up front without having to tweak his tactics.
The 31-year-old explained he had been able to hit the ground running in west London after quickly settling into the squad.
"My integration has been very good," Giroud said. "They have warmly welcomed me. There are quite a few French, and there are some French-speaking Belgians. I already knew a few of them. It all happened naturally. I'm very happy today."
And, speaking to the Evening Standard, Giroud said he has put his Arsenal past behind him.
"As a football player you need to move on and be ready the first day at your new club," Giroud said. "It's a new challenge for me. It was special for me to leave Arsenal because I had five amazing years there.
"But right now is a new chapter of my career and I'm focused 100 percent on reaching our targets. I am very happy to be here at Chelsea. I received a nice welcome and I was very happy with that. ... I feel very good and the players have been very good to me. I needed to move and Chelsea was the perfect team for me, the perfect club."
ESPN FC Chelsea correspondent Liam Twomey contributed to this report.
Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman