There was some talk about signing Benzema ( I may have started it :P) on one of the many Diego Costa threads recently and I thought it would be a good idea to analyse the pros and cons of having him at the Bridge. Then I figured, why stop there? Let's do a study on our so called striker problem altogether. And so this post came about.
A little bit about me: I am a Civil Engineer, Business Analyst, UX Designer currently working out of Mumbai and I thought that it might be fun to try and use the design process in an effort to address our conundrum.
This is my first post ever on WAGNH after lurking around for quite a while and only recently getting involved in the comments. I really hope this can match up to some of the amazing content that people post here.
(Side note: Anyone notice how a vast majority of the posts recently are from Peezy? Relentless. A big thanks for all the effort you guys put in here.)
Anyway, back to the topic:
Step 1: Identifying the Challenge
To solve a problem effectively we must first find the purest form of the need that we are trying to address and define the problem correctly. While we performed just fine against the big teams, it was the results against Crystal Palace, West Ham and Aston Villa that ultimately cost us the league. These games highlighted our failure to break down tight defences, otherwise known as THE BUS.
Since, we see no problems in parking said bus as a tactic to effectively compete against teams that pose a greater attacking threat than our own, I don't think we Chelsea fans can be Wenger enough to whine about it being morally incorrect. Also because:
- It isn't morally incorrect. You do what you have to to win, and apart from biting players, sometimes the end does justify the means.
- Even if it were, it would be immensely hypocritical.
- It is our responsibility to win games regardless of how the opposition sets up to play against us, and "blaming" the opposition for parking the bus hides our own flaws that come back to bite us later.
Hence, to define the challenge:
Chelsea need to find a long term solution to scoring goals against tight defences (a tactic often employed by smaller clubs) and doing so in a way that can possibly improve our results when team set out to attack us as well (a tactic often employed the big teams).
Step 2: Identifying Different Ways of Overcoming the Challenge
There are different methods employed by different teams to break down teams that defend deep. We've seen teams try to stretch play and get defenders out of position, we've seen teams bore the opposition to death to eventually make that killer pass and teams that Yaya over the midfield.
On the face of it, it looks like you could either go through the bus by some neat passing, brilliant bullish play by a centre-forward in a Drogba-esque fashion, or as someone rightly said in one of the comments, go over the bus instead of going through the bus.
Over the course of the year we have tried different systems using the players we had available in an effort to win against teams that are set up to frustrate us. And we have failed. It then becomes evident that the problem lies not in the process, but in the personnel. It is also worth noting that these problems were less pronounced when we had a decent striker upfront and since the Age of the Torres, we have struggled. While correlation does not imply causation, it would be fair to say that in the case of Torres, it does. Since crying over Torres'd Torres is not a solution, we'll move on.
A good centre forward is worth building a team around and a few examples in recent times come to mind: Chelsea with Drogba, Barcelona with Messi, Brazil with Neymar, Liverpool with Suarez (I'm sorry), United with RVP and so on. In our case, we have a system in place and (barring the acquisition of a certain Paul Pogba) we seem to need what would be the final piece of the puzzle: A good centre forward to compliment our plethora of AM's. Distilled down to it's essentials, what we are really looking for here is a player with the right set of skills to compliment the ones we already have and aid us in dispatching off teams in the lower half of the league. I use the word "aid" since such a responsibility cannot be placed on one player alone for a whole host of reasons.
You may have a different understanding of "right set of skills", but to me it would be in the form of a player who could compliment our system effectively in winning games against lower teams while also putting on a performance in the big games.
Here I present to you in a similar fashion to something that was used earlier: A poll of the package of skills available without any mention of the player so as to prevent bias of any kind.
Here are the options:
You may have identified some of the players here (no prizes for guessing which one is Balotelli), but I encourage you to be as objective as you can in your approach here so as to obtain a more accurate result and hence a better understanding.
The poll shall close on Friday, the 27th of June and soon after I shall reveal the results along with the names of the players and we can then go on to the next Steps: Prototyping, Cost-Benefit, Impact of Implementation and the final decision.
Do let me know what you guys think about this post. Also, be gentle :)
Thanks for reading.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the images displayed above. They have all been sourced from whoscored.com.