If you don’t know by now, Tottenham beat Chelsea 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday night in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg thanks to a somewhat controversial Harry Kane goal. As Chelsea dominated the game, they lacked that cutting edge that has seem to be the major problem this year. Rather than ‘Sarri-Ball’ not working, the lack of striker raised its head once again. Whilst there were good performances from the likes of Eden Hazard and Callum Hudson-Odoi, it was just a frustrating night for the Blues.
Chelsea’s Attacking Problems Continue Against Spurs
Again, Chelsea started with Eden Hazard in the false nine role. First, let’s analyse that. We all know the ability the Belgian has, but he needs to be playing on the left in his rightful position. As a false nine, he can roam around the back four picking up different positions, but he is at his most dangerous when drawing defenders in and creating space and chances. He took it upon himself for the last half an hour to try and create something out of nothing, which must be incredibly frustrating with no help. The lack of a quality striker at Chelsea means he has taken up this role, mostly to good effect but against better defences.
Lack of Players in The Box
Another problem that has surfaced due to the lack of a striker is the frustrating lack of players committed to attacks. Overall, Chelsea worked the wings to good effect and found success out wide. However, as they went to cross the ball, there was usually no one in the box. Despite it being a slow build up attack, no one had made the effort apart from N’Golo Kante, of all people. Having a number nine means that there will always be a focal point in which to cross to. As a Chelsea fan, it must be tough to watch good balls go amiss because they have limited men in the box. Ross Barkley, Hazard and Willian/Pedro should all be at least in the box. It showed as their midfield has struggled for goals this season.
A man whose future is in doubt is the young star, Callum Hudson-Odoi. He started a second consecutive game in a row, much to the fans’ delight, showing Chelsea fans and football fans how fearless he is with countless runs and crosses all night, even though he was up against the experienced Danny Rose. Of course, he recorded two assists against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup at the weekend. However, the false nine system really didn’t suit the young Englishman. His main skills include being able to find half a yard in which to produce good crosses. Against Forest, he had the struggling Alvaro Morata up front, but he delivered two inch-perfect crosses for him on the day.
It was a frustrating night for him and the Blues as it became all so clear once again just why they need a striker; someone who can bring players into play, to aim for in the box and to stretch defences is something they sorely need right now. In addition, it would help all of the attackers and take some of the weight of Eden Hazard to score all the goals.
A Striker is Needed ASAP
A focal point is needed and rumours grow stronger each day of perhaps a temporary solution to the problem. If no striker is brought in it could seriously derail Chelsea’s season as they will be competing for the top four as well as the Europa League and FA Cup. Gonzalo Higuain and Callum Wilson are the most realistic names to join the club in the January window. Either would give Chelsea a whole new look as they are capable of not just scoring goals but improving this team and giving them more of a potent threat that Sarri’s system needs.