Season 2012/13 has been somewhat of a struggle for Chelsea and lack of a consistent striking option upfront has been one of the largest and most publicised issues.
Fernando Torres, as per usual, has been performing well in fits and starts and can’t be labeled reliable or consistent.
When Demba Ba arrived it was a huge relief but he hasn’t hit peak form yet, with the fact Rafa Benitez seems much more interested in playing Fernando Torres.
Chelsea seem more confident in the final third with Ba on the pitch, as not only is his control is more reliable than that of Chelsea’s no. 9 but his presence in the box is far superior for obvious reasons such as his pure size.
The Chelsea bench currently looks very thin on game changing capability. Although Mikel and Moses returned for Brentford; of those two only Moses is capable of changing the game.
Looking at the attacking options on the bench you see Yossi Benayoun, who is not good enough for Chelsea FC and Marko Marin, who is still finding his feet. There is Victor Moses who does provide some width, pace and trickery as well as power and has been very important to us.
Oscar is the other option that will sometimes be found on the bench and as he proved against Sparta he can impact but has been hit and miss and is still a work in progress (not suggesting he is not a good player though, great talent, but there is work to be done as he adjusts to the Premier League).
Now having one or two influential bench players isn’t good enough, look at current Champions City; They have Nasri, Sinclair, Dzeko, Tevez (assuming Aguero as their starter), and Even Kolarov who has the ability to change a game.
Now usually the solution for Chelsea is to buy, right? Not in this situation, we have a perfect striking option out on loan in Romelu Lukaku – we didn’t shell out 18 million pounds for nothing.
Lukaku has proved he can compete in the Premier League –not just statistically but performance wise too. His cameo against Liverpool was Drogba-esque; a showing of pace, power and lovely finishing.
These stats show how well Lukaku playing - with a poorer midfield supporting him , he scores more goals than Torres and has bagged a couple of assists too.
Add to that the fact that a large chunk of his appearances were cameos from the bench whereas Torres and Ba have started a majority of their games. Below are some stats comparing Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku
Lukaku – 24 EPL apps, 61 shots, 10 goals, 2 assists
Torres – 26 games, 56 shots, 7 goals, 4 assists
Ba- 25 Epl apps, 98 shots, 14 goals, 0 assists
Next season Lukaku needs to be kept at Chelsea, as he will provide great competition for a starting berth upfront as well as firepower from the bench the team has sorely been missing.
With the Lukaku possesses and his love for the club, this is a match made in heaven and the time is fast approaching to give the lad a chance.
*all stats taken from ESPN FC
Should Chelsea keep Lukaku next season? Does it depend on which other strikers they sign - and sell?
image: © wshjackson