The Curious Case Of The Right-Wing – Do We Really Need A Right Winger?

Not only did Chelsea become the Champions of England this past season, they did it with a lot of swag, scoring the second highest number of goals, conceding the lowest number of goals, winning the most number of matches both home and away.

Chelsea also won a lot of individual awards with Jose Mourinho winning the Premier League Manager of the Season, and Eden Hazard completing a clean sweep of the PFA, FWA and the Barclays Premier League Player of the Year awards.

While such a season may make the team look perfect and breed complacency, football fans know too well that progress can never stagnate if one has to remain at the top. Constant improvement is the perfect mantra and one position which has definitely been looked at with doubt quite a number of times during the past season is the right wing. While Eden Hazard has dazzled on the left flank, the right side of Chelsea’s attack has not been so productive at times. Ever since Robben left, Chelsea have had problems finding, on a long-term basis, a right winger who is un droppable from the side.

This past season, Willian has been the go-to man as far as the right wing is concerned, and he has more than held his own, but any Chelsea fan could tell you that the bulk of the chances have come from the other flank, with Hazard starring in that position. While we cannot have two Hazards on both the wings, options of strengthening have to be thoroughly looked at. Mohammed Salah was loaned out to Fiorentina and Andre Schurrle was sold to Wolfsburg for the very reason that they could not provide the necessary spark.

Juan Cuadrado was bought during the January transfer window to provide more attacking flair to the right, and give Willian some serious competition, but Cuadrado has failed to impress, and is yet to settle properly into Mourinho’s tactical matrix. His failure to settle into the team has even prompted other teams to try and lure him away from the Bridge, most notably Juventus.

Ramires has played on the wings in previous seasons, mostly under Roberto Di Matteo, but he is better at his defensive job in the wings, rather than crossing and putting in through balls. The reality right now is, that Willian is the only good player on the right flank. With his speed and guile, Willian has scored 3 goals and racked up 5 assists. While his tremendous hard-working mentality, when it comes to tracking back, has seen him grow into one of Mourinho’s favourite players. But just one good winger on the right is never enough if a club has to compete on all the four fronts.

Jose Mourinho has been looking at different options for this role for the past two seasons, and so far he has not been satisfied, with both Schurrle and Salah failing to provide competition to Willian, while Cuadrado is yet to gel into Mourinho’s system. Some have suggested that Falcao may be used in that role, but that seems unviable since that role would not be conducive to scoring goals, and heaven knows he has been brought in to find the back of the net.

Chelsea needs a player like Raheem Sterling, or a Gareth Bale, both of whom would require astronomical amounts, but these players are good at creating chances on a regular basis. Looking at more practical options, Remy Cabella, or Kevin Miralas or Walcott seem the right kind of players. However, as of now, Chelsea are not known to be in pursuit of these players.

Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann is a player Mourinho’s has been keeping tabs on. Not only can he play behind the striker, but he is quite good on the wings as well. The 22-year-old French star has scored 22 goals in 37 appearances for Atletico in the Liga, with 5 of them coming from the wings, while 3 goals were scored while playing in midfield. He also has a tendency to shoot when cutting in from the right flank, much like a Robben or a Bale. Griezmann would certainly be a very intelligent signing, especially if Cuadrado were to leave.

Even Robert Kenedy, the 19-year-old Brazilian starlet, who is set to join Chelsea from Fluminense, is a left-footed winger, who has been playing on the right flank for his former club. Work permit issues will force him to play on loan in some other country, which will be crucial for him in gaining first team experience. Though he will not be available to play for Chelsea this season, he is the kind of player Chelsea want.

Right now Chelsea mainly have to make do with the talents of Willian and Cuadrado as far as the right flank is concerned, but a serious talent needs to be brought in if Chelsea are to compete at all four fronts.

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Edited By: Karan Dubey

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