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Comparing Chelsea’s Strike Force With Manchester United & Other Top Clubs – How Effective Are The Top 5?

The battle for supremacy is heating up in the Premier League almost midway through the season. While Chelsea and Manchester City remain top contenders, Manchester United, Southampton and West Ham can still harbour hopes in a league where fortunes turn very quickly. The march of each of these teams into contention has been led from the front with the likes of Costa, Aguero, Van Persie, Sakho and Pelle being clinical in front of the goal. So how do the strike force of the top 5 clubs compare against each other so far?


Chelsea Fabregas Costa

While Cesc Fabregas has been hailed for running the show at Stamford Bridge, Diego Costa has proved to be an able ally to his Spanish teammate with his performances in front of the goal. He has scored 11 goals in the league, having converted an incredible 40% of the chances that have fallen his way. The other strikers at the club Drogba and Remy too have come good when presented with an opportunity. While Didier has notched up 3 crucial goals in his 12 appearances at a conversion  rate just of 20%(having played just over 20 minutes per appearance), Remy has 2 goals so far this season having converted 40% of his chances.

The usage of Drogba allows Jose Mourinho to bring a like for like change to the side, thus not unsettling any balance of the team on the pitch. Both Costa and Drogba thrive on their strength, movement and an ability to create chances for others. Remy on the other hand presents a second option, wherein he can make runs into spaces and allow the midfielders to free him with intelligent passes.

Chelsea aren’t a team which lack ammunition as Fabregas, Hazard and Oscar too are known for their goal scoring ability and strikers like Drogba and Costa are more than just the number 9 at the club. The 3 strikers created more than 1.5 chances per 90 minutes with Drogba leading the way having created more than 4 chances per 90 minutes. The ability to unsettle the opposition and dominate the box has been one of the key success factors to this Chelsea side.



Manchester City’s attacking prowess has been primarily dependent on the performance of Sergio Aguero. The Argentine leads the scoring charts in the league having notched 14 goals so far this season. With a knee injury set to keep him out till at least middle of January, it is time the other strikers stepped up to the plate and performed. Edin Dezeko, who has been mostly restricted to substitute appearances at the club, has 2 goals from 11 appearances while Stefan Jovetic has 4 goals from 9 appearances. Aguero’s injury could deem costly for City who have been looked upon as a one man team for some time this season.

Aguero’s understanding with his teammates combined with his tenacity often open up spaces for the striker high up in the pitch. This season he has been presented with 56 chances and to his credit, he has found the back of the net on 25% of these occasions. Apart from scoring goals at ease, he has also created more than 1 chance per 90 minutes when on the pitch. He has shown a great ability to beat his man, having averaged over 4 successful take ons per 90 minutes thus piling further misery on the defenders that line up against him.

Jovetic’s injuries time and again have thwarted his credentials to become one of the top strikers in the world. However, after shining in the preseason, the player has been used in bits and pieces and hasn’t completed a game in the league. However, with no dearth at the club, now or in the future, Jovetic will need to take the chances that come his way. He has converted close to 30% of the chances that have fallen his way apart from having created 2 chances per 90 minutes. The possibility of extended playing time, which would do his confidence a lot of good, Jovetic will be looking to leave a mark on the club in the month and half to come.

Edin Dzeko’s league so far has seen him score in just one game where he notched up a brace. His ability in the air has been well documented and that makes him a constant threat in the box. Apart from that he has a keen eye for making clever short passes and the Bosnian has so far created 7 chances this season. At the beginning of the season, it was rumoured that Dzeko could leave the Manchester club for the want of playing time, but he stayed put and it remains to be seen if Dzeko’s perseverance at the club will benefit his career in the time to come.


Radamel Falcao

Injuries have plagued United’s season. However, they have had at least one striker available for most part of their season so far in Van Persie, who has missed just the season opener against Swansea. While he struggled with the pace and looked jaded at times, he has in some ways found his scoring boots and currently leads the United scoring charts with 6 goals. He was presented with 29 chances of which he converted 21%. The Netherlands international has also contributed to the attack of the team having created 15 chances in 14 appearances.

When Van Gaal took over United, they seemed headed for extended period on the sidelines after a disastrous season as well as what many claimed as not filling up crucial spaces in the transfer window. His appointment of Rooney as captain is beginning to yield results as the Merseysider has been in imperious form over the last few weeks with united as well as England. Rooney has notched up 5 goals at a conversion rate in excess of 25%. Though he has been primarily deployed as a striker, Rooney has also had stints as a CAM to help plug the gaps that exist in the middle of the park. He still retains his powers to drive his team forward with this determination and work ethic and this has helped United churn out difficult yet crucial wins at times.

The other two strikers at the club Wilson and Falcao have had short stints on the pitch. While Wilson’s appearances have been restricted in search of a more experienced strike force, Falcao’s injuries have kept him on the sidelines for some time now. The Colombian has a single goal and 2 assists to his name in 7 appearances while, to ask anything very concrete for someone as young as Wilson would be too much.

Southampton FC

Pelle leading from front - Southampton

Southampton’s meteoric rise to the top of the table has been built on the foundations of a strong defensive unit as they have conceded just 12 goals this season (the lowest in the league). However, credit is due to the attacking unit as well, as after all it is goals that win matches. Graziano Pelle currently sits atop the scoring having found the back of the net on 7 occasions. The Italian, who has adopted really well to a more physical and faster league since moving from Feyenoord has made life easier for manager Ronald Koeman, who lost many players from last season. Pelle has been renowned for his abilities in the air and it comes as no surprise that he has been involved in 126 aerial duels, winning close to 50% of them. It suggests that Southampton have found ways to play to Pelle’s strengths. He has been presented with more than 50 chances this season. However, his conversion rate isn’t all that great as he has averaged just over 10% and now that the fixtures are getting harder by the way, Southampton will be served better if he gets clinical in front of goal.

Shane Long, Pelle’s partner in crime has scored 2 goals from the 16 chances that have come his way this season, averaging a conversion rate at just over 10%. He has often been deployed on the right side and hence, he has not been presented as scoring opportunities as often as Pelle. However, his performance on the right hand side has definitely benefitted the marauding Nathaniel Clyne who has probably been the best attacking full-back in the league this season.


andy carroll

West Ham United have probably been the biggest surprise of this season. Like Southampton, their rise has been a result of performances of their new recruits like Song, Valencia and Sakho. With the return of Andy Carroll from an injury, Sam Allardyce now has 3 strikers at his disposal and can mix things up a bit to leave the opposition guessing.

Sakho has been the most consistent of the lot as he has scored his 7 goals over 9 appearances at a conversion rate of close to 30%. Most of his goals have come in the air and while this might seem like great heading prowess, it would be wrong to classify it as just that. His goals are primarily a result of his movement and getting into crucial spaces in the box on crucial occasions. With the in-form Stewart Downing behind the West Ham strike-force, the West Ham strikers have the primary task of finishing the Englishman’s chances.

Ecuadorian Valencia, on the other hand has scored 3 goals this season, with the rocket of a goal against Hull City being a moment that the Hammers fan will recall for a long time. His conversion rate hovers around 20% from the 18 chances that have fallen his way so far this season. Apart from the goals, he has also created 7 chances, 2 of which resulted in a goal. With West Ham players and fans beginning to believe that a top 4 finish is a possibility, Valencia will need to improve his efficiency in front of the goal.

The last game brought West Ham fans more joy with Andy Carroll finding the back of the net. The burly Englishman has been haunted by injuries and should he find the back of the net as easily as he did with Newcastle a few seasons ago, there’s no reason for West Ham fans to believe of greater things at Upton Park. The striker has shown great prowess in the air, winning more than 13 duels per game and his monstrous presence in the box will torment the opposition.

All in all, while Pelle has adopted and Sakho has shown, no strike force has been as effective as the Chelsea one as it is a combination of styles and lots of creative players sitting behind their strikers. While Drogba might not have the legs he had a few seasons ago, his work rate and ethic remain the same and his usage over shorter periods of time consistently has yielded good results for Mourinho.