Last night’s Champions League match between Chelsea FC and Galatasaray was all set to be an emotional affair with the return of Didier Drogba to Stamfrod Bridge and the tie very much in the balance. The aggregate score was tied at 1-1 with Chelsea leading through the slightest of advantages, the away goal rule. If Galatasaray were to score an early goal then the Blues and their supporters would be thrown in to a tail spin as they had to win the game outright to move on and no one wanted to go in to extra time. With much of the focus leading up being the fact that Drogba was to be the best striker on either team, it was Samuel Eto’o who stepped up in the fourth minute to calm Chelsea nerves and send the Blues through to the next round.
For a position group as maligned as the Chelsea strikers have been this season, they have been solid in big matches and have often scored important goals. Eto’o had his opener against Tottenham Hotspur, equalizer against Liverpool, and of course his hat-trick against Manchester United. Fernando Torres had his winner against Manchester City in the dying minutes of the game and of course the opener in the first leg at Istanbul. On the big occasions, the big men for Chelsea have often stepped up for their team.
The main issue facing the strikers is their lack of consistency and their inability to break down more defensive oppositions. When teams are open and come to play against Chelsea then the strikers will usually find the back of the net. Against teams like West Ham, West Brom, or Aston Villa on the weekend, the teams are compact and hard to break down. Most top-class strikers will still find the back of the net against compact teams because they have the flair for the spectacular. Players like Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez create their own opportunities and finish the chances others create for them. Chelsea’s strikers often have to be given space and have someone else do the creating for them, a difficult task against more defensive teams.
Whatever happens this summer with the strikers, it is obvious that Chelsea are in need of major changes at the position. There is no point in second guessing decisions like letting Romelu Lukaku go on loan or not adding a striker in January because what is done is done. The Blues and the fans need to look forward, work with what they have, and hopefully go in to the summer window with another trophy or two in the cabinet.
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