Breaking Down Samuel Eto'o's Chelsea Debut in Everton Loss

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on September 14, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Samuel Eto'o finally made his debut in the Premier League in England at 32 years of age, but he was unable to prevent Chelsea from falling to defeat against Everton on Saturday.

Put straight into the starting XI after signing before deadline day a couple of weeks ago, Eto'o was the centre-forward with the trio of Andre Schurrle, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard all operating behind him. Fernando Torres, Kevin de Bruyne and Oscar were left on the bench, while Willian and Demba Ba were not in the squad at all.

Despite the riches of attacking talent in the Chelsea squad, they couldn't find the back of the net against Everton, though Eto'o did as much as anybody to try to remedy that.


Eto'o's Role

Though he played as the main striker, Eto'o is anything but an on-the-shoulder poacher these days. He does not possess the pace and acceleration of his Barcelona days, of course, but instead relies on clever movement and utilisation of space to find chances on goal.

The Cameroonian star was often found dropping deep into areas to allow the likes of Hazard and, in particular, Schurrle to run beyond him and work their own opportunities on goal. Ever the opportunist, Eto'o also looked to drift into the channels to link up play with the attacking midfielders, especially to the left side where he would have the chance to cut in and pass or shoot with his right foot if the opportunity arose.

Even so, Eto'o was a big threat for Chelsea when he got into the penalty area and was constantly looking to receive the huge number of crosses that the away side tried to put into the box.


Chances on Goal

The former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Anzhi Makhachkala striker could have opened his account inside four minutes with a headed chance from just a few metres out, but he diverted his effort over the crossbar while on the run.

Not long into the game he had another golden chance, an open goal in fact after a Tim Howard mistake, but a combination of an under-hit pass from Schurrle and a superb sliding tackle from Gareth Barry thwarted him once more.

In total, Eto'o managed six shots during the game—twice as many as anyone else on the pitch and higher than the highest Premier League average for shots per game last season—hitting half of them on target.

Despite his profligacy in front of goal, Eto'o showed plenty of excellent movement to get himself into goalscoring areas and suggested that he will probably remain the first-choice striker for now, ahead of Torres and Ba:

Sharpness not there (yet) and yard of pace not there (yet (?)) but Eto'o has made some tremendous runs today

— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) September 14, 2013

Thought Eto'o looked very sharp today and got in some very good positions. His finishing, though, was below his usual standards.

— Christopher Atkins (@Chris_Elastico) September 14, 2013