Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has hinted that Olivier Giroud will return to the bench for Monday's meeting with Burnley, despite his impressive form in the Europa League.
Both Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain have struggled in front of goal during their respective times at Stamford Bridge, but Sarri has continued to leave Giroud out in the Premier League, even though he is the Europa League's top scorer this season.
He said: "Giroud played the match number 39 [in Thursday's win over Slavia Prague]. Thirty-nine! Not number nine... 39! 39!
"Starting games? With 19 or 20 I don't remember. He is playing because he is very useful for us, like in 70 minutes against Slavia. Very, very useful.
"He played really very well but he needs to recover more than the other players because he is 90kg and so after the match he needs time to recover, only for this."
In the Premier League this season, Giroud has made just seven starts, as Sarri has preferred Alvaro Morata, Higuain and even Eden Hazard in a central role. He has been forced to settle for minutes in the Europa League, in which Giroud sits atop the scoring charts with ten goals from 11 outings.
By contrast, Morata managed just nine goals in 24 appearances before his January loan move to Atletico Madrid, and Higuain has found the back of the net three times in 13 matches, all of which came against opposition who have since been relegated from the league.
Giroud recently suggested that he may be forced to leave the club over concerns about his game time, saying: "I'm not satisfied with being second choice. The important thing for me is to have more minutes. I'm a competitor, so obviously I want to play more."
He is out of contract this summer, but the Blues have the option to extend his deal by a further year. Sarri confirmed that club officials intend to do so, which would keep Giroud at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2020.