We have seen Chelsea's performances swing to both ends of the performance spectrum till now, since the start of the season. Many a times we are the team to beat and probable title contenders and for the other times we have been dominated or outclassed by either Athletico or Shaktar. Throughout our inconsistent performances, nevertheless, the team has shown that it will not be beaten un-till the last second and is capable of pulling off a miracle any time.
We have concocted many reasons for our failure to be consistently threatening or surprisingly sloppy. Some believe that a system with a lone man upfront should have a striker consummate enough, who we have not been able to find in Torres. Some are of the opinion that we lack of a plan B, primarily due to shortage of quality backups on the bench.
Well had it not been for Mata's missed chances today we would be sitting a bit more comfortably within a point's reach of United. But the truth is that such misses or loss of form are not uncommon. And a team can only win the premiership or CL when it has adequate options to change things up and cover up for the loss of form of a certain player(s).
The most heartening aspect of our summer transfers was to introduce wide players in our play by buying Hazard, Moses and Marin. But as it has turned out, Hazard prefers to drift centrally or link up with Mata in any area of the pitch, Moses has been our first choice sub because of the brilliant chemistry between Hazard Mata and Oscar, and marin probably does not exist. Only one of the full backs is capable enough to provide service from wide areas. Ivanovic loves to score more than to bombard crosses.
So, we are back to the point of contemplating width issues. But there is another confusion in the ongoing trend. The band of 3, which should ideally have 2 wide players, drift centrally and the player who has to be at the centre, Torres, has a habit of swaying away to wide areas. The best solution would be to get hazard upfront and torres on the wings, based on their proclivities.
The answer for the lack of crosses hangs between naturally drifting players and lack of natural crossers. Moses is the only person I think who can test the full backs or drag the centre halves back by providing service from crosses, continuously.
Moreover, our current Centre Forward is just not good enough to create enough pressure on the opponent's defenders. One can argue that a player cannot play well in all the matches, or that he is contributing to the team play and stuff. But influenced by our love for the club, and a will to support our players, we tend to compare him with whatever good we can expect of him and not with a proper in form centre forward.
His shots per goal ratio in the league is bettered by van persie, defoe, jelavic and suarez.That in 15 appearances he has scored 5 goals in CL and league and is yet to provide an assist goes on to project his contribution till now. He dribbles a bit and runs towards the goal and makes a couple of good movements in some matches is not the adequate level of Chelsea's lone striker. His incapability traverse across building pressure on the likes of mata and hazard to do more than what they already do. A dedicated system of supply and scoring can never be established between such creative players and a striker in an abysmal form. Lack of depth, more responsibilities on the band of 3 will wear the most creative players in our team sooner rather than later.
The uncertainty over Sturridge's contract and his likely involvement and role in the team does not help the cause either. We need a team which has the first 15 players sorted and contentedly willing to play for the club.
Thus, I think we can address a couple of issues by being active in the january transfer window. A move for a legit striker would be the best thing. A reinforcement on the flanks would suffice to our plan B needs. Buying a central midfielder in january will need a detailed assessment as it relies on romeu's and lampard's form, future of Oscar or Mc' Eachran in the deep lying midfielder role and our verdict of how good mikel is really with his overall contributions. And Terry's knee will force us to probably dive in for a new CB.
Come soon January.