Despite, Chelsea’s emphatic 2-0 victory over Fulham in the West London derby, concerns must be mounting over Jose Mourinho’s strikeforce.
So far this season, only one Chelsea’s goals has been scored by a striker – Fernando Torres’ 8th minute opener in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Bayern Munich on penalties remains the only exception to the rule – all of the Blues’ 10 goals scored in all competitions have come from midfielders or defenders (or own goals).
Presently, Oscar is their leading goal scorer with three with Eden Hazard, Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Branislav Ivanovic (and Torres) all tied with one each. In their 2-0 defeat at Everton both Samuel Eto’o and substitute Torres were woeful with their finishing – the Blues had 22 shots of which just 5 were on target.
They ground out the result admirably against Fulham at Stamford Bridge on Saturday – they had a massive 64 per cent of possession over 94 minutes (they completed 242 passes) and kept a clean sheet – they allowed the Cottagers just 4 shots of which only one was on target.
However, Chelsea had 26 attempts on goals of which 11 were on target – Samuel Eto’o had just one shot on target (33 per cent of his 3 shots on target), only completed 50 per cent of his four passes and his 64th minute replacement Torres had just one shot on target as his only shot of the game. Torres also completed 71 per cent of his passes and the Spaniard created one chance for a teammate in his pass for the Blues’ second.
Compare that to, for example, Oscar who scored the 52nd minute opener – the 22-year-old Brazilian had one shot and that was on target, he created three clear-cut chance for teammates and had a 100 per cent tackle success rate (7 tackles, 1 clearance). His finishing accuracy was 100 per cent.
Mourinho’s men are out-playing and out-passing all of their opposition so far this term but their strikers are simply cancelling out their teammate hard work – at this rate Chelsea will need to start playing their midfielders up front to have any hope of as goal.
Unless, of course, they buy a striker in January – Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic had five shots against Monaco on Sunday of which two were blocked, two were on target, and one was a goal. He has already spoken of his relationship with Mourinho very positively and with the arrival of Edinson Cavani at the Parc des Princes, his status has change slightly.
Chelsea must bring in a new striker of the Swede’s quality and determination – they need someone decisive like him – because at present neither Torres nor Eto’o nor Demba Ba are the match-winning strikers that a title-winning side must have. On present form, none of them are good enough to be playing in front of Oscar, Hazard and Mikel – they are wasted more chances than they are taking and, what’s more, they’re not even contributing to the build up play, or the defensive work that they’re team are doing all over the pitch.
A win at home to Fulham on Saturday papered over the cracks with a solid and focused display from Chelsea - but at the moment they are playing with 10 men. They must buy a striker in January.
image: © stephyhan