Antonio Rüdiger isn’t in the reckoning for new Chelsea captain, but he’s proven himself to be one of the most important players and leaders of the team since arriving last summer. He’s now using that position to call on his teammates to start helping out Eden Hazard in the goalscoring department, fearing that Chelsea are becoming over-reliant on the Premier League’s leading goalscorer.
“We need to learn to kill matches. It’s not only on Eden’s shoulders. We need the other players to help him with scoring. He has been doing his job very well again, but the other guys must score too – Giroud, Morata, Willian have to score. As a team all of us have to provide more goals, the defenders as well.
“At the end of the day the best scorers are Hazard and Pedro, but with the quality of players we have on the pitch, it’s (the lack of goals from elsewhere) not too good.”
-Antonio Rüdiger; source: Evening Standard
Hazard, who has scored in five of his last six appearances, has as many goals in all competitions (7) as the rest of the team minus Pedro combined (7). Pedro himself has chipped in with three, but he’s also currently injured and missed both of the games against Liverpool over the past week. The most glaring issue here is the lack of goalscoring provided by both Olivier Giroud (zero goals) and Álvaro Morata (one goal), though it should be noted that if we want Hazard to get to 20, 30, or perhaps even 40 goals, he’s going to have to carry the load for much of the season. There are only so many goals to go around.
In any given season, Chelsea might end up with around 100 goals scored in all competitions. The numbers wished upon Hazard would by definition make him outscore the rest of his teammates by a significant margin. Even in two of Chelsea’s greatest goalscoring seasons (142 for Ancelotti’s first year, and 147 for 2012-13 when Chelsea played a record number of fixtures) only two players managed to get above the 20-goal mark each time: Drogba (37) and Lampard (27) in 2009-10 and, no joke, Torres (22) and Mata (20) and 2012-13.
That 2012-13 season was actually a fantastic example of a shared goalscoring burden among the team — probably not by design, but by circumstance — as no less than a dozen players scored more than 5 goals: Torres (22), Mata (20), Lampard (17), Hazard (13), Oscar (12), Moses (10), Ramires (9), Ivanović (8), David Luiz (7), and Cahill, Terry, and Ba (6 each). Compare that to 2009-10, when Drogba and Lampard hogged all the goals and only three others got above 5: Malouda (15), Anelka (15), Kalou (12).
That of course doesn’t invalidate Rüdiger’s claim that others need to step up and provide more goals. He is correct in saying so; Hazard may be the best player in the league on his good days, but he will have bad days and he will miss big chances, too. That’s when the others need to chip in and make the difference.