From the past 4-5 seasons, Chelsea are sending more than 12 players out on loan to other clubs but very few of them have had successful spells at their clubs. As of now, only Thibaut Courtois from Atletico Madrid made it to the squad.
Romelu Lukaku would have made it to the first team but he was too arrogant to play under Jose and demanded to be the 1st Choice striker. This season, another loanee has shown some spark and his name is Patrick Bamford. Patrick is currently on loan at Championship side Middlesbrough for one season and has certainly impressed playing at the Riverside stadium. He has racked up 14 goals in 31 Championship appearances. But the biggest question that comes to our mind is, will he ever break into Chelsea’s first team? So let us briefly analyze Bamford’s playing style and understand whether or not he has the potential to play for Chelsea.
Strengths, Weaknesses & Style Of Play
First let us understand Patrick’s strengths, weaknesses and other important aspects. Over the past few years, Bamford has played in different positions for different clubs but mostly he backs himself in forward/attacking roles. He has now cemented his place in the Middlesbrough team as a striker.
Talking about his strengths and weaknesses, since Bamford is a textbook striker, his major strengths are his finishing, positioning and agility. Finishing wise he is one of the best forwards in the Championship, but all his goals this season have come from within the 18 yard box. This shows that he is a deadly poacher and an immense threat inside the box. His positioning is top notch, and chemistry with his teammates is also fantastic. He is also a prolific dribbler and a counter-attacking threat.
He has some weaknesses as well, and one of the most irritating glitches in him is he is prone to errors and commits fouls very often. His defensive abilities are also very limited. He only gets involved in aerial battles and rarely attempts to tackle. Even if he attempts a tackle, it invariably leads to a foul. These weaknesses are understandable for a striker to some extent. Also, his hold up play is very weak due to which he is almost ineffective when the team is pushing to get into the opposition’s box.
After all this, it is clearly coherent that Patrick’s impact is felt more in the attacking third and less in the defensive one. And here’s a heat map of Bamford which shows the areas of his effectiveness.
In order to understand Patrick’s playing style, we need to learn briefly about Middlesbrough’s playing style first. Middlesbrough use classic counter-attacking tactics and possession football. Their attacking midfielder and forwards boom ahead with great pace and try to get inside the box. While on the break, they create a lot of chances to score goals and play with a mixed passing pattern due to which they dominate possession. The most important point to be noted here is, most of their goals this season have come from inside the penalty area.
Bamford here plays a very classified role, and he only sprints forward with his fellow attacking midfielders without getting involved in the build-up play. He gets into positions where the midfielders can find him, collects the ball and shoots in an attempt to find the back of the net. Bamford also uses his pace to track back but mostly fails to win the defensive duels. At Middlesbrough, Bamford gets a lot of chances to score goals as they attack from the middle instead of flanks.
Taking it all into the account, Bamford is a very good striker and has the potential to become a great player in the future. But is he the one for Chelsea? The answer is definitely a yes! Bamford has the potential to be a Chelsea player but has a few limitations. As we see, Chelsea attack from everywhere on the pitch and use both counter-attacking and pressing tactics depending on the opposition’s weaknesses.
Bamford will have a great partnership with Fabregas as he likes to play long balls, and Bamford is very effective at that. Also, he will be very suitable for Chelsea’s counter-attacking game especially with Hazard and Willian surging forward, though might be a failure in a pressing game. Considering his young age, Bamford still has time to improve and mould himself to suit any tactics. As a conclusion, Bamford might play for Chelsea in the future but will only be a backup striker, provided Chelsea don’t change their style of play. To end this one a good note, Bamford is an excellent player and will be a success and an important player for whichever team he plays in.
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni