Chelsea Squad Assessment – Attack

Posted: July 29, 2011 by derekorourke in Attack, Chelsea, English Premier League, Pre-season, Strikers, Torres, Transfers, Youth

The fourth and final part of my Chelsea squad assessment will see me look at the state of our attack and then briefly summarise the entire squad. You can see all other assessments here:

Goalkeeper

Defence

Midfield

Didier Drogba:

Still our main man. He suffered with malaria throughout last season and as a result his goal tally was lower than usual. However, he came back strongly towards the end of last season and when the chips were down, not to mention a £50m striker in his position, he proved to everyone he is still number one. No defender wants to play against him; he is strong, powerful, energetic and technically gifted. Drogba started his top flight playing days relatively late at 23 years old and I feel as a result has longer left in him than people think. He is the only player in the squad who can take a set piece, but he’s the one player who we want on the end of them! Can he be cloned?

Rating: 8.5/10

Fernando Torres:

This is difficult to assess. Towards the end of last season I lost faith in him. He was feeling sorry for himself and it looked like his effort was waning. However, he has looked sharper this pre-season, albeit without a goal. The summer rest should do him no harm and we have to remember how good he was. I don’t buy the ‘he got no service’ argument – yesterday’s article would claim the contrary. What I do believe is that he maybe isn’t 100% suited to our current style and is taking time to adjust. Am I confident he will fire them in this season? No, but I am hopeful. I think a marquee signing this summer might take some pressure away from him also. He seems to be making the right runs again but is just let down slightly by a mixture of his touch and luck – which I’m not worried about because both will improve with games. He needs two goals in two games consecutively and he will be a 9/10 again.

Rating: 6/10

Nicolas Anelka:

A genius on the pitch. Nico is as graceful as a swan when he is on the ball. He rarely loses possession and if he is given a chance he is likely to find the net. He gets a hard time for dropping deep and slowing the game down, which I agree he does do. However, let’s remember he is a striker – not a winger, he never will be either. If we stuck Nico up front all season he will score close to 30 goals – put him on the wing and he won’t be entirely natural there and as a result the team concedes it’s shape and an outlet on the right. Many people have been calling for his exit this summer but unless he is going to be replaced with a world class winger I think those calls should fall on deaf ears. He is an experienced and proven goalscorer who is helping the team out by playing out of position. World class centre forward but unfortunately I’m rating him as a stop-gap winger.

Rating: 6.5/10

Salomon Kalou:

And we thought Mikel was an enigma?! Sala, Sala, Sala – what can I say that hasn’t already been said. Yes he’s frustrating, yes he lacks decision making nous, yes he loses the ball a lot… now I’ve finished picking his bad points; let’s see what he has to offer Chelsea. Goals, important goals at that, dribbling ability (about the only squad member with that talent right now), speed, width and the right attitude. While he’ll never be a world beater, he offers our team good depth and cover. He scored 10 league goals from the wing last season – that is unlikely to be beaten by a back-up winger in any league. Another one who people want out, and for the aforementioned reasons, I disagree.

Rating: 6.5/10

Florent Malouda:

All I can say is let’s hope it stays sunny all season because Flo seems to hibernate during the winter months. He was the best player in the Premiership from August to October and again one of the best from April through May. Not sure where he was from November to March, although that can be said of a lot of Chelsea players last season. He was our top scorer last season in the league with 13 goals and with the right shape he will flourish once again. A game changing player on his day – he just needs more days.

Rating: 7.5/10

Daniel Sturridge:

Well hasn’t this boy got a thing or two to prove, and isn’t he doing just that. Along with Yossi he has been our shining light this pre-season so far. He’s young, home grown, fast, a natural goalscorer and most of all he’s hungry. Come on AVB, trust him! He is showing such determination to get into the Chelsea side and I know this is slightly contradicting what I said about Anelka, but play Studge on the right wing. I know he’s a natural centre forward but he shows plenty of ability to play the wing too. Let him build up a year or two’s experience of playing regularly there before he’s ready to take up the central role. He can also play centrally from time to time this season in certain games I’m sure. If given the opportunity, he’s the one to watch this season.

Rating: 7/10

Overall rating of Attacking Positions: 7/10

Again I must stress that this rating is a CURRENT rating. 7/10 may seem harsh but it has potential to be a 9/10 by Christmas if Torres re-finds his form and Sturridge is trusted. It will be interesting to see what happens formation-wise, will it be Drogba or Torres, or even both? AVB has some very difficult decisions to make over the next few weeks but I trust they will be the right ones. Overall, I’m very happy not only with the striking options we have but with the squad overall.

I don’t think we NEED to sign anyone to win the league next season, although if I was pushed it would be a winger who can dribble and cross. Sanchez is gone, Neymar is gone – let’s make a move for Afellay or Mata. If the right players aren’t available then we shouldn’t buy the wrong ones who will hinder the chances of our own young stars.

My first choice Chelsea XI (as of 28/7/2011):

I would involve Benayoun and Torres a lot also. This team is in terms of form and this can obviously change. For those of you panicking, look at what we have in reserve:

Hilario, Bosingwa, Ferriera, Bertrand, Van Aanholt, Mikel, Essien, Benayoun, Kalou, Anelka, Torres (not forgetting the imminent arrival of Romeu and I believe one BIG signing).

I hope that any worriers may be happier having seen the talent at our disposal. We have every position heavily covered and we’re being marshalled by, what I think, is going to be the best tactician on the planet (if he isn’t already). So chins up, buckle in and enjoy the ride this season. In Andre we trust. KTBFFH!

Agree/Disagree? Please comment below or let me know @fattyfoulke

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Article by Derek O’Rourke

Follow me on Twitter: @fattyfoulke

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Comments
  1. @fattyfoulke says:

    Of course I add McEachran to the list of replacements available

  2. CFCSverige says:

    I have to say it seems very stupid not to play Luiz as a defender, partly because a good replacement is needed if a defender becomes injured or suspended. And the most idiotic thing – why is the best midfielder in Premier League not included? Essien that is.

  3. @fattyfoulke says:

    Yes, the reason Essien is not included is two fold:
    1. he is injured for the next 6 months – I don’t see him adding much to our midfield in that time.
    2. can you honestly say he was a top midfielder last season, let alone the best in the Premier League as you say? I would think you’re in the minority CFCSverige

    Whilst he was one of the best on the planet, I clearly state my reasons behind his rating in the article. We’re all entitled to our opinions and I appreciate yours also.

    The reason I have Luiz in DM role is because I think Alex is currently a better defedner and Luiz is too good not to have playing – I think it’s a role he could flourish in.

  4. @Feezabicrown says:

    I think we need a striker.Drogba plays well but he seems to have lost some of his touches,i dont see Torres clicking with the way he is playing,mostly out of position and we need a back up striker,you can’t trust Anelka or Kalou to provide that for you.that leaves only sturridge.

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