Brazilian stars Oscar (left) and Hulk (center) Photo/au.eurosport.com
Although defense has been the key element to Chelsea’s success in England and internationally over the last decade, the club has been fairly average clicking on offense lately and is a good place in which Di Matteo can start improving.
The Blues’ two biggest perceived goal scorers last season—strikers Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres—were both extremely disappointing in EPL action last season, scoring just five and six goals, respectively.
To put that in perspective, Newcastle United’s Papiss Demba Cisse scored goals in 10 consecutive league matches over one stretch last year.
Having lost the services of Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Salomon Kalou and quite possibly Florent Malouda in the last year, Di Matteo will have to work to find new scorers and ways to score for the FA Cup and European champions.
The goal totals of the team’s two leading scorers in the league last season—Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge (11 each)—would suffice again this campaign but players like Torres, Juan Mata (6 goals), Ramires and Malouda, if he stays, will all need to score more goals than they did for the Blues last season.
It will also be very important for new acquisitions Eden Hazard (21 years old) and Marko Marin (23) to get into the offensive flow quickly, but adjusting to the high quality of EPL play may not be so easy at first for Chelsea’s two big transfer-window signings to date.
Adding a couple more scoring pieces to the puzzle still seems in the cards in the near future and the pursuit of Brazilian sensations Oscar and Hulk and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani have been more speculation than progress for the most part, although reports of the Blues signing Oscar have just surfaced.
According to SkySports News, Chelsea have now reportedly landed the 20-year-old attacking midfielder from Internacional—beating out Tottenham Hotspur—signing him to a £25 million deal in principle late Monday.
But Hulk is still claiming he hasn’t talked with the Blues and Paris Saint-Germain may end up out-muscling and out-paying for the Porto star, according to recent reports while efforts to get Napoli star Cavani are still ongoing.
So landing at least two of these three in Oscar, Hulk and Cavani—who somehow sound better suited for Sesame Street or a designer’s studio with names like theirs—is possibly a stretch, so Di Matteo and management may have to start making the best with what they presently have in finding ways to open up the field.
The club, which exploded with a 103-goal season in the EPL three years back, scored 65 goals in 2011-12 and easily registered their lowest goal differential (+19) in well over a decade.
And to hang with Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premiership this season and in the future, Chelsea needs to score more goals this season than the 72.3 it has averaged over the last six seasons—the Red Devils have averaged 80.6 a season in that span—and will need to have at least four players with double-digit goals in my opinion to achieve that goal.