We’ve been smugly looking at Arsenal and Manchester United over the summer, watching them scurrying about to add to their squad, trying to challenge us for the title next season. And even after it has all been more or less done, we’ve dismissed them saying that they do not have a world-class forward to fire them to the title.
It was ironical, therefore, how Chelsea’s strikers struggled against Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday, looking jaded at times and contributing close to nothing throughout the game. Loic Remy played the first half, Radamel Falcao the second. There was hardly much of a difference.
The importance of Diego Costa was well-documented in the game, as the Spaniard’s absence also saw Cesc Fabregas appear clueless when he picked the ball up in midfield. Costa drops back to collect the ball outside the box if necessary, thereby bringing the wingers in Eden Hazard and Willian into the game, as they make runs in behind the opposition. Remy opted to make runs out wide, which did see him get the ball, but didn’t lead to anything fruitful.
Midway through the first half, Hazard played the ball into Remy’s feet into the box and then made the run into the clear. The Frenchman only needed to play it back to the Belgian to put him through, but chose to try and turn his defender, unsuccessfully. If he had any chance of challenging for a regular starting place before the game, he certainly doesn’t now.
Falcao had a chance with a free header in the second half but failed to hit the target. I will reserve my opinion on the Colombian for a while, though, even though his performance against Arsenal was hardly encouraging.
It will, therefore, be extremely interesting to see how we cope with Costa’s injury problems this season. Even with the best physio team in the land, keeping him on the pitch for more than 25 Premier League games looks a big challenge. Remy and Falcao are never too far away from injuries either, and so they need to get into their stride early on to avoid the risk of prolonged goal droughts.
Our attacking midfielders need to step it up as well, and Hazard can’t go about missing chances like the one he passed up on Sunday. The ghosts of the 2013/14 season are still fresh in every Chelsea fan’s memory, and we would do well not to face another similar situation at some point in this season as well. Hopefully, when it does arrive, we’ll manage to keep picking up points.
We aren’t going to get a free ride to the title like last year, with United, City and Arsenal all improving in the summer and looking ready to pounce at every one of our slip-ups. We have three top-quality forwards, but one has a hamstring made of cotton, and the others are struggling for form at the moment. All I can say is, it’s going to be one hell of a ride!
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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