Chelsea's best finisher is the man with the biggest point to prove... elsewhere

Romelu Lukaku

Jose Mourinho blocked striker Demba Ba’s proposed loan move to Arsenal on deadline day but sanctioned the departure of Romelu Lukaku who joined the Everton side that beat Mourinho’s men 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.

It’s been Chelsea’s worst start to a season since the arrival of owner Roman Abramovich a decade ago in 2003 and, as last weekend’s scoreline suggests, the Blues are having something of a goal-scoring crisis at present.

Chelsea haven’t scored a goal in the league since August 21st after a goalless draw at Old Trafford was followed by defeat to the Toffees. In their 2-1 victory over Aston Villa, defender Branislav Ivanovic scored the winner after an own goal from Antonio Luna after 7 minutes.

Prior to that, in their 2-0 win over Hull, midfielders Frank Lampard and Oscar scored but, as of yet, not one of Chelsea’s strikers has found the back of the net in the Premier League.

Fernando Torres scored the Blues’ opener against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Super Cup they lost on penalties to the European champions but Demba Ba has yet to get his name on the score sheet this term along with new signing Samuel Eto’o whose misses were atrocious on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Mourinho allowed youngster Romelu Lukaku to leave for a season-long loan at Everton after the 20-year-old Belgian scored 17 goals and made 7 assists on loan at West Brom last season.

Samuel Eto’o is the most obvious reason for Lukaku’s departure from Stamford Bridge – the Cameroon international scored 10 league goals for Anzhi Makhachkala last term, whilst Torres scored 8 league goals and Ba netted 8 for the Blues. Forward Andre Schurrle scored 11 in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen last term.

On paper those four forwards ought to be enough to pose a threat to the Premier League title this term but so far all have been found wanting. Mourinho directly blamed his side’s poor finishing for Saturday’s defeat in his post-match interview, which is not something managers often do – in case it had a detrimental effect on their players’ confidence.

On that topic, all of Chelsea’s striker are visibly playing devoid of confidence at present and it’s up to Mourinho to instil that self-belief in his players as he has always been successful at doing wherever he’s been in charge.

But he might have had less work cut out for him if he’d have just kept his most clinical finisher last season – Romelu Lukaku. The boy was on fire and really impressed with the impact he had over at Albion and I’m dumbfounded as to why he would be allowed to leave, given his vast improvement and his obvious quality, work rate and, crucially, self-confidence.

He could go and bang in 20-plus goals for Everton if he gets a run of games in the team this term and, at present, even though it’s still early days, I can’t see any of Chelsea’s strikers hitting that amount of goals.

For the moment, the goal-burden is falling on the midfielders who obviously have the quality and talent to step up if they’re needed but you just wonder whether that’ll be enough to mount a genuine title challenge this term – last season the champions had the Golden Boot winner, the previous season, the champions three strikers scored 50 goals between three of them (Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli).

Unless Torres, Ba, Eto’o and Schurrle repeat a similar feat at Manchester City’s strikers did that season, it’s hard to envisage Chelsea really posing a threat to them and Manchester United.

You need your strikers scoring goals and Jose Mourinho has, in my estimation, made a big blunder in letting a player of Lukaku’s quality and potential go out on loan. He is statistically the most clinical finisher they had. I also think pointing so negatively to his strikers' poor finishing on Saturday could have a negative impact on their already dwindling confidence and belief.

image: © wshjackson

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