Why Chelsea Need A Creative Playmaker

Photo by X Ceccaldi

There’s a beautiful phrase in Brazilian football that was applied to the national side a few years ago. “They have too many Piano carriers and not enough Piano players.” When I first heard it I instantly integrated it into my vocabulary because I liked it so much.

So as I watched Chelsea take on Manchester United this week, that phrase began running through my head. Of the big four, Chelsea managed to secure a fantastic prospect in Fabricio Coloccini lookalike David Luiz. Calm, composed and tough tackling, he is the ideal replacement for the Ricardo Carvalho.

Their other foray into the market saw them break English records for money spent on one player. Unfortunately for Chelsea and that man Fernando Torres, he is still to score for the club and it’s beginning to affect his confidence.

Now the problem is, if you watch Torres at Liverpool, a lot of his goals were based around through balls and chances created. He is not the complete forward like teammate Didier Drogba who can create his own chances, he requires that ‘piano player’ behind him. That’s why I found it perplexing that with Yossi Benayoun still injured Chelsea made no efforts to secure a creative midfielder.

After all when was the last time Frank Lampard or Ramires slid a through ball in for Anelka or Drogba. Even the aforementioned Anelka has looked to drop deep and fashion chances, but he isn’t able to do so. The commodity of creating chances seems underrated in the modern game. It may be because I played midfield as a youngster, but for me a good through-ball is just as important if not more so than a goal.

You just need look at midweek’s opponents Manchester United to see why a playmaker is so important. Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, even Wayne Rooney, have the capacity to create for their teammates.

It would seem that some managers are beginning to realise the importance of this position. With all the speculation regarding Charlie Adam, the likes of Sky Sports cited the Scotsman’s brilliant array of passing as his best attribute.

In the wider context of the game if we look at the ‘best’ team in the world right now, Barcelona, you have a team full of those piano players. When you have so many players able to create a goal, it makes the task even harder. If you were to play Blackpool you would look to nullify Charlie Adam but with Barcelona there are essentially 10 Charlie Adam’s.

The question I would imagine on most Chelsea fans minds is where next? After spending close to £80 million in January, will Abramovich sanction another big money deal? After all they aren’t blessed with many sellable assets with which to offset the price. The likes of Drogba, Anelka, Lampard and Terry are all older than they once were.

If they had been more proactive in the summer and secured Mezut Ozil, who knows how the season could of panned out. Of course, I speak with the blessing of hindsight which allows for perfect clarity.

I’d be interested to see the suggestions of readers on who Chelsea should sign to fill that void. Who knows? Your suggestions and predictions may even come to fruition.

What is for certain though is that without a player holding the key ability to unlock defences, Chelsea will always struggle when playing against top opposition who don’t make the mistakes teams lower down do. This past Wednesday typified that.

16 thoughts on “Why Chelsea Need A Creative Playmaker”

  1. If Chelsea takes Luka Modric away from us, I’m going to start kicking things.

    But he would have to be on the shortlist.

  2. there was no need to spend so much on torres. even a strike-force of sturridge or kalou’s class will bang goals given a strong and creative midfield. i was hoping tht chelsea would sign mesut ozil in the summer bt nw tht th chance is gone, we should get one of either modric or ganso.

  3. chelsea have a playmaker in the person of mcechran. If he is given more playing time next season i believe he will show his worth

  4. If they want inmediate effect i think marek hamsik is young lampard typicall.. He is strong, good passer, nice touch, and good goal instinct..
    Modric were great but it would never happened as we know they both London club..

  5. Like hishighness said we have Mceachran and weve all seen the skill and potential he has but theres also Kakuta, his movement and passing against man u yesterday were superb but he still a little rough around the edges, both of these players are made to play in the hole. I also think the season would have played out differently if Benayoun wouldnt have gotten injured being as he was the only experienced creative player in our squad. Hopefully Ancelotti gets to stay because you can see the kind of team he wants to build he just doesnt have the correct players for it yet in two years time it should come through

  6. I would love to see McEachran and Kakuta get in the starting XI, but if Carlo doesn’t think they are ready yet I wouldn’t mind us signing Sneijder.

    Ivanovic Luiz Terry Cole

  7. I agree with what most everyone previoulsy has mentioned. Kakuta is a gem in the polishing as is McEcheran. There are a number of youth in the academy playing now that are going to eventually be nice add on’s from what I’ve seen of reserve games.

    While Yossi would have been invaluable for the stretch of the season, as long as he stays healthy it is going to give us the shot that we have been missing. Just look at the formation and flow of energy once he entered the game on Saturday, it changes entirely and suddenly balls we being moved at will.

    This season in general has been a transitory one with so many injuries early the need to go conservative and eliminate the bleeding in of young players was a must to stay competitive which is why so many went out this year on loan. I think if we stay the course with Ancelloti and the academy, there will some bumps next year with the experience factor but it will come good in a big way.

    If you were to look for additional power this summer, Hamsik is a nice player as would have Ozil have been, he would have actually been the best fit most likely. Schweinsteiger would be outstanding but that would be virtually impossible to pry him from Bayern. A couple of other outstanding young Germans are Marko Marik and Toni Kroos. Ganso would fit the bill nicely but I’d like to see what Lucas Piazon can do when he gets here as well, from the limited views I’ve seen on him, he’s very sharp. I think Modric is a great talent but to imply that he has the creative spark that we are talking about to pass the ball, I don’t think we need him nor would he fit in. He is in the mold of Malouda and Florent is proving a liability this year rather than the asset he once was, neither are sharing type players, they both think shoot first and then pass 2nd while in the meantime the defense collapses on them.

  8. McEcheran McEcheran McEcheran McEcheran McEcheran – there is your answer. Simple as that – for goodness sake play the kid!
    Same with Sturridge! He should have played every game for CFC this season. His form for Bolton is the ultimate fingers up ‘I told you so’.

  9. well after reading this post finally people see what i have been calling for even since last season it was a void that still needs to be filled……in this case of a number 10 player we have Josh McEcheran waiting in the wings but i see him deeper kinda like a quarter back dictating the play. first on my list has to be pelermos the argentine kaka javier pastore! will prove to be a great signing dont matter how much we pay for this guy hes worth every penny i watched him extensively even tho he plays in italy which is known for slow play and build up when compared to the week in week out hectic pace of the prem which we all love hes really good in transition beautiful to watch on the ball and he feeds the strikers to their filling also grabbing a few goals himself another player in this mole is the tested and proven wesley snieder nothing else needs to be said there.i will add hamsik or ganso pick your poision both world class in quality, young and they have the chelsea fight writen all over them.so thats 2 positions filled a lampard successor in hamsik or ganso and a number ten to slot in behind the fowards pastore or sure fix snieder ..drop in a right back preferably van der meil forward in neymar the brazillian future superstar and one day world player of the year with the imminent returns of my favorites sturridge and kakuta along with youthful arrival of lucas piazon from brazil in january the future is in great and able hands wealth of youth players coming through the academy i love love being a chelsea fan!
    i know a few players will be going out the door this summer and with the key players that remain we build for the future playeres i also like! eden harzard, lukaku,willian,micah richards ,alxis sanchez,sergio kun augero,begovic,fallani,cavani,canales merik marko,marin…..!

  10. “A football team is like a piano. You need eight men to carry it and three who can play the damn thing. ” is a quote from Bill Shankly, not Brazilian football…

  11. Missing Lampard and Yossi for large chunks of the season definitely hurt Chelsea this year. They have a lot of industrious players, but they lack creativity.

    Look at United…Rooney is the playmaker, constantly dropping deep to dictate the attack. Behind him they usually can rely on Scholes, who has been brilliant this year at sitting back and spraying passes about. Then you factor in a player like Nani who can conjure up a moment of brilliance from nothing, and you have a recipe for a damn succesful team. No to mention the spark of Hernandez, and Berbatov firing on all cylinders.

    I think Chelsea will shuffle the deck a bit this summer and go out and get a playmaker. McEchren is great and all, but he’s largely an unproven commodity. Kakuta has looked good for Fulham, but again, he’s rough and unpolished.

    On a side note, I think the Torres signing, though somewhat hasty and surprising, was more of a move towards the future, as well as one meant to spring some life into the squad.

    He just doesn’t seem to fit into their style. And while he may be among their 11 best players, Chelsea isn’t at their best with him in the line up. Drogba should still be their number 1 striker.

    1. the Torres signing…was more of a move towards the future

      True – I think maybe the signing of Torres might be part of a longer-plan move towards changing Chelsea’s style. I think they might possible get rid of Drogba (as counter-intuitive as that would seem in the short-term), and switch to a prettier style spearheaded by Torres, and supported by a craftier midfield.

      My other theory is that the signing of Torres was just Abramovich’s badly thought-out vanity project.

  12. lampard doesnt create assists? last season he created 17 assists, this season admittedly its been far far less but in general lampard was the beating heart of chelsea and some of his passes are quite intricate.

    in terms of barcelona. yes they have “piano” players but they play a system that makes the most of said system. All their players have amazing first touch which is 100% the most important in barcelonas system but the real reason they have so many assist makers is simple, 3 agile speedy forwards and a very very narrow band of players. The defenses pushes way up, the forwards are generally not as far forward or in the box as many other strikers and instead they force the defense to step up forward while pushing the strikers up. Xavi’s passing is great but the real reason he is amazing is his first touch and ability to release the ball in an instant. he can pass the ball right between any defender safe in the knowledge that messi/villa/alves/pedro/iniesta will sprint through and create chances. Make them play against a team that drops very deep and barcelona struggle everytime.

    In terms of how chelsea play if you watch them the big problem is the current 442 has too wide a gap between midfielders and strikers, zero linking up at all. this is partly due to the fact that none of the chelsea strikes really drop deep to link up play, anelka likes to think he does but in reality he rarely has a good killer pass and is too reliant on speed to make stuff happen. if no strikers drops deep the 442 is too easily to stop and since so many epl teams are playing 3 man midfields the midfielders struggle as well. This is why chelsea with luiz is a much better team, he becomes an auxilarry midfielder in attack and lets lampard wonder forward.
    chelsea do need a number 10 though. at its heard ancelotti is trying to create the milan 4312 he had with kaka. lampard is the seedorf role, essien or ramires is gattuso and mikel is pirlo. mikel doesnt have the willingness for killer balls as pirlo so struggles, one of the reasons i think ancelotti is forcing mceachran to play a deeper role and their is no player close to kaka in the chelsea team currently. it will be interesting to see who chelsea goes for but currently its an unknown.

  13. James McCarthy would be a great buy for Chelsea in the summer, but he would need playing time and there isnt a guarantee he would get it at the bridge.

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