Chelsea lost ground to Manchester City after they dropped two points against West Ham at Stamford Bridge. They currently lie in third place and have the daunting prospect of a visit to the Eithad on Monday, where defeat could see them six points of the leaders and fourth place Liverpool breathing down their necks.
Scoring goals has not been a major problem for Chelsea, and they average almost 1.9 goals per game. This gets even better at home where they average over 2 goals a game. However, worryingly for Chelsea, their two leading strikers have managed to net just 10 of the 43 goals they have scored while midfielders Eden Hazard and Oscar are their leading scorers with 9 and 6 goals respectively.
This has translated into the fact that almost 26% of their goals have come from outside the box, while a many other from just inside. Compared to any of the other top six teams, this is more than all of them barring Everton. This interesting statistic has been a result of Chelsea’s strikers misfiring in front of goal.
Jose Mourinho brought in Samuel Eto’o on a free transfer to address their striking problems, but the Cameroonian has failed to make a mark on the Premier League. He has managed to find the net six times in 13 appearances, or one goal every 135 minutes played. Considering that he only averages just about 62 minutes per appearance, which means he scores a goal in a little over two appearances. On top of that, 3 of his 6 goals came in the game against Manchester United.
Yesterday, Chelsea huffed and puffed for the entire 90 minutes and then some, but failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Samuel Eto’o playing as the lone striker for much of the game had a rather toothless performance, especially considering the fact that he was coming off a hat trick against United in their last league game.
Eto’o was largely ineffective and failed to find any space for himself inside the West Ham penalty box, and the only chance of note was when he forced a smart save from West Ham keeper Adrian after the ball fell to him inside the box after a blocked shot. Barring that, he was almost anonymous. Finding no joy in the central areas, Eto’o increasing drifted into wider areas where he was even more ineffective.
Against United, Eto’o played much more centrally and rarely ventured into wider areas. His movement in and around the penalty area was good and that resulted in the 3 goals that he managed to score. However, against West Ham, Eto’o was barely able to make those runs given how West Ham had set themselves up in a compact manner.
Eto’o never quite had the skill to dribble past two or three players, and the deceptive pace that he possessed is gone with his age. The one thing he was really good at was getting into good areas, and while his finishing was not the most clinical, he was in the right place at the right time often enough to find the back of the net on a consistent basis.
However, in a Chelsea setup that requires him to be mobile and interchange with other forward players, Eto’o looks slow and cumbersome at times. Even Demba Ba, who came on late in the game last night, looked more of a threat in the short time he spent on the pitch than Eto’o did in the entire game.
Chelsea have been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa, and a move for him in the summer would perhaps alleviate the problems Chelsea have on their hands. However, till then, they will have to make do with Eto’o, and it may just cost them the title.
Stats courtesy: Squawka