Mourinho criticises strikers - What do the stats say?

Samuel Eto'o

Eto'o, Torres and Ba have yet to reach double figures in all competitions

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been caught in a rather embarrassing moment with reports in France suggesting he is unhappy with the current strikers at the club.

Mourinho was quoted by Canal + saying: ‘The problem with Chelsea is we lack a scorer. I have one [Eto’o] but he’s 32. Maybe 35, who knows?’

The lack of firepower up front has been one of the sticks to beat Mourinho’s side with this season – suggesting that if Chelsea do not lift either the Premier League or Champions League this season then that may be the reason.

Prior to the January transfer window, Mourinho defended his strikers when asked if he would enter the market for reinforcements up front. His only January arrivals were winger Mohamaed Salah from Basel and the return of defensive midfielder Nemanja Vidic whilst Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne and Michael Essien all left Stamford Bridge.

He was quoted saying in December: ‘If we had eight-10-12 goals [from the strikers] we would be top of the league. That’s a reality but my strikers give everything and the team works hard. What can you do more? We work, we keep working. That’s the only way I know is to keep working.

‘It is my squad. For good and for bad it is my squad. Of course it is not the perfect squad, but it is my squad and I work with them until the last day. To criticise does not help me. What do I win by criticising my players? I win nothing.’

It seems to be bit of a U-turn, but are the criticisms of his strikers fair this season? Here is a look at the statistics.

It would seem that Jose Mourinho's criticism of Samuel Eto'o is the harshest of them all. Not only has he questioned the age of the Cameroon forward but he has been the man who has scored some of their biggest goals in the league this season - though he did say he is a 'scorer'. Eto'o scored the winner against Liverpool in a tight contest and a hat-trick against reigning champions Manchester United. He currently has eight goals in all competitions.

The surprising thing for some fans will probably be Eto'o's goal per minute ratio is better than that of Eden Hazard. Though Hazard has been consistently in the side this season and Eto'o has been in and out - Hazard has been on the end of a significant amount of praise for his prolific goal record this season.

NameTeamPosmins / GoalsAppsMins
Demba Ba Chelsea FW 312.00 11 312
Fernando Torres Chelsea FW 258.25 19 1,033
Andre Schürrle Chelsea FW 223.67 19 671
Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 190.00 27 2,280
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 183.50 17 1,101

Demba Ba has only struck once in the Premier League so far this season but has two Champions League goals to his name - whilst Fernando Torres has struck on eight occasions in all competitions, half of them in the Premier League.

The three strikers combined all have the same assists as Eden Hazard, not only is their contribution in front of goal put to shame by the Frenchman - but their creativity is too. This only strengthens Mourinho's off the record argument.

NameTeamPosGoal AssistAppsMins
Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 5 27 2,280
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 2 17 1,101
Fernando Torres Chelsea FW 2 19 1,033
Demba Ba Chelsea FW 1 11 312

Could the forwards have done more? Certainly so if you look at the big chances the forwards have missed in the side - Eto'o could have near double the amount he has notched up in the Premier League this season. His six goals could be turned into a respectable return of 11, Torres missing big chances has been unfortunately typical of his Chelsea career thus far, whilst the rarely seen Demba Ba needs to take these opportunities when he gets them in order to force his way back into the side.

NameTeamPosBig Chance MissedAppsMins
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 5 17 1,101
Demba Ba Chelsea FW 4 11 312
Fernando Torres Chelsea FW 3 19 1,033
Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 2 27 2,280

Overall, it does seem that Mourinho has a point - especially when you compare their scoring exploits to that of the rest of the Premier League. Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester City, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Swansea City, Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton [Chelsea's Lukaku on loan at the club] all have strikers who have been more prolific in front of goal this season than the Chelsea trio in the Premier League. 

Mourinho has a point, his strikers aren't doing enough. No matter how ill-advised he may have been to make those comments and abandon one of the first lessons of media training it is something he feels needs addressing for Chelsea to kick on during his second reign at the club. Though it does seem unlike the Chelsea boss to be so forthright in his feelings in public when he may have been in the dressing room. He has some bridges to build.

image: © Jason Bagley

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