After Saturday’s debacle at Crystal Palace, Chelsea FC manager Jose Mourinho has decided to shake things up a bit and named midfielder Andre Schurrle as the striker in today’s match against PSG. Schurrle is capable of playing as a forward but his more natural position is as a wide midfielder or second forward in a 4-4-2. This move shows that with Samuel Eto’o still injured and not even traveling with the team, Mourinho is not pleased with his other two striking options in Demba Ba and Fernando Torres.
Schurrle was deployed as the lone striker in August of 2013 against Manchester United but that match ended in a goalless draw and the German failed to impress. This may have been because he had not yet adapted to the Premier League or gotten truly comfortable with his teammates because Schurrle has recently been in fine form. His hat trick against Fulham FC was followed by a smartly taken goal against Arsenal when the match was still in doubt. He has shown a striker’s instinct with his runs and could present a different sort of challenge for PSG with his pace.
The notion of Mourinho deploying a false nine has been bandied about with putting Schurrle up top but he is more of a center forward than say Cesc Fabregas when he is deployed there with the Spanish national team. Schurrle played at forward for Bayer Leverkusen and has even lined up there for Germany on occasion. This also gives Mourinho the benefit of playing the pacey Willian out wide while still keeping the in form Schurrle on the pitch. He also has the option of bringing on either Torres or Ba if the Blues are chasing a late goal.
Whatever the outcome of the match, Chelsea fans will be hoping it is nothing like the 3-0 pasting the Blues suffered when Roberto Di Matteo deployed Eden Hazard as his striker against Juventus last year. To his credit, Hazard worked hard but he is clearly more comfortable out wide while Schurrle has the versatility and physicality to be comfortable anywhere in the attacking third.
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