Chelsea Will Struggle to Score Goals This Season

After a strange year of turbulent highs and lows, Chelsea will prepare for the future with a squad full of new, exciting additions.

Chelsea was a massive disappointment in England as they finished sixth after the the Andre Villas-Boas experiment failed spectacularly. It was only after Roberto di Matteo brought back the familiar conservative style did Chelsea’s fortunes begin to dramatically improve in the second half of the season. Their triumphs in the Champions League and FA Cup showed that the Blues were still able to win in tournaments by playing simplified but effective football.

As a team, Chelsea collectively scored 65 goals last season in the Premier League which was far less than the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City. Fernando Torres struggled for most of the season to score and in 46 Premier League appearances with Chelsea, he has scored a paltry seven goals. Daniel Sturridge, a promising gifted forward who scored nine goals by January under Villas-Boas, lost his place in the starting eleven under di Matteo in the final months of the season to Torres and Didier Drogba.

Chelsea’s scoring abilities will take a severe hit by the loss of Drogba, who for years performed well up front alone in Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 formation. While age certainly caught up to him and impacted his production (only five goals in the Premier League last season), Chelsea wouldn’t have won anything last season if it wasn’t for his clutch scoring abilities.

Yet, Chelsea fans have plenty to be excited about as their club has been the busiest this summer with the signings of talented youngsters like Eden Hazard, Oscar, and Marko Marin. It will be fascinating to see how di Matteo will perhaps allow the team to transform into a fluid machine capable of controlling matches and creating numerous goal-scoring opportunities.

Unlike last year’s Chelsea team in the second half of the season who defended tirelessly and thrived off the counter, this year’s squad looks capable of moving the ball better and possessing it much more often. Under a 4-2-3-1 formation, Chelsea could put out a lineup that features Ramires and Michael Essien or John Obi Mikel as defensive midfielders, Oscar or Frank Lampard ahead in the middle, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard on the left and right wing respectively, and Torres up front. Chelsea will strike fear into their opponents with a young, attacking core of energetic playmakers that have a bright long-term future. While a title challenge looks unlikely with the Manchester clubs, Chelsea is more than capable of battling with Arsenal or Tottenham for the third spot.

However, what’s difficult to predict about Chelsea right now is how good they’ll be at finishing their chances. While the ball service will be more creative and arguably much better than in previous years, there has to be concerns over who will step up to put the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis.

Whether Chelsea’s three forwards (Torres, Sturridge, and Romelu Lukaku) have enough quality for Chelsea to be a title contender is under doubt considering that Torres has looked like a shadow of his former self and Sturridge/Lukaku are no proven commodities. Plus Lukaku has now moved to West Bromwich Albion on a season-long loan.

Due to Chelsea’s formation, Fernando Torres will have to become a prolific goal scorer again in order for the Blues to have any realistic shot of contending for the title. That seems like a ton to ask for considering Torres’ finishing has been poor and his lack of confidence grows with each personal disappointment. Chelsea’s system worked when Drogba was there as his pace, strength and potent finishing skills made him he was one of the best forwards in the world. However, Chelsea now needs Torres to get out of his shell and truly replace Drogba by scoring 15 or more goals in the Premier League this season.

In regards to Chelsea’s other two forwards, Sturridge at the age of 22 has shown enough technical skill, and shooting ability that is worth getting excited about. Yet, his biggest detriment has always been that he’s too reckless and selfish with the ball at his feet. Sturridge needs to utilize his teammates more often and become more clinical with his opportunities in order to be successful under di Matteo.

Romelu Lukaku, the 19 year old Belgian who easily draws comparisons with Drogba, failed to play often in his first season with Chelsea and now will be sent out on loan to West Bromwich Albion. With Lukaku gone, that exposes the lack of depth Chelsea has in terms of strikers.

Of course, Chelsea won’t solely depend on their forwards for goals as they brought in plenty of fire power with players like Hazard who amassed 20 goals and 15 assists for Lille last season. Even though he’s being compared with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, it seems unreasonable to expect a 21 year-old to score on a similarly prolific basis.

Hazard likely won’t score as often as he did last season because while Ligue 1 is a formidable European football league, the Premier League is known to be one of the most physically demanding leagues in the world. He’ll need time to adjust to the tenacity and quality of the Premier League.

While Hazard may play behind Torres depending on the form of Marin, the French Belgian prodigy looks set to roam on the right wing where he’ll cause plenty of havoc. Yet, he won’t be the go-to-guy like he was at Lille as Torres is expected to rack up the most goals. Hazard’s goal tally may be 7-14 as he could become more accustomed to assisting others rather than going for personal glory. If Lampard is still Chelsea’s automatic penalty kick-taker, it could impact Hazard’s goal production.

In terms of the rest of the team, Lampard may still be able to score 10 or more goals this season even though he’s now 34. Juan Mata had a fantastic debut season for Chelsea on the left wing and may be able to increase his personal number of goals. Marin hasn’t proven to be much of a goal-scorer and Oscar is extremely talented but will likely need time to adapt to playing in England.

Overall, Chelsea is building on a future dynasty with explosive young star players. While they should be expected to equal last year’s total of 65 goals in the Premier League, whether they get much more than that depends on how quickly Chelsea can move on from Drogba. With Lukaku on loan, Chelsea is putting a ton of pressure and expectations on Torres and Sturridge to provide most of the goals. Therefore, it wouldn’t be shocking if Chelsea is currently looking at acquiring another striker like Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski or Atletico Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente.

27 thoughts on “Chelsea Will Struggle to Score Goals This Season”

  1. This is just an opinion. I could write an article and say that I think Chelsea are going to lead the league in goals scored with just as much evidence. People are overselling Drogbas goal totals from last year. Chelsea will be fine without Drogba as their new style of play doesn’t even require a Drogba type player. Chelsea will probably bring in another striker (Cavani, Hulk, etc.) to add depth to Torres and they will be fine.

    1. LOL hulk has a 120 million buyout clause, so probably not him, and cavani, has had a 60 million price put on his head, so unlikely… Torres LOL

    2. The thing is drogba could play any type of game as he is technically skilled enough to do so. But Drogba is old though so i dont get why people still hope he was still there.

  2. I reject who ever said that Chelsea will struggle to score goals this season. because our kingdom will never struggle. because we are the royal priest hold, the choosing people, the people set aside for glory over BPL, UCL and AF-CUP the kingdom of champions of Europe.

  3. The new style of play won’t come overnight as Di Matteo just stated in a new article on Sky Sports where he indicates of course the new style could occur over time but currently they will stick what they know gets the job done. I do agree that Chelsea could bring on added depth with a new signing. Also, I did indicate that Drogba didn’t have as many goals as past years but his influence for Chelsea’s success was undeniable last season.

  4. I dont agree with the writers pessimistic and disrespectful opinion. If mata can make impact in his first season, espect hazard to do same, beside cavani has just finish agreeing personal terms with chelsea after napoli accepted 35mil. Moses is on his way to stamford bridge 4 medicals. Ramires will score more and likewise torres and sturridge. I espect about twice of last seasons total goals.

  5. Nothing about this article was done to be disrespectful. Like I kept saying over and over again, I believe Hazard will make an impact this season but I don’t think he’s going to score as often as Messi or Ronaldo which is who he’s been compared with. The Cavani deal isn’t official either.

  6. Make or break for Torres. His year to show what he has and I’m quite optimistic about his chances this year.

    There is plenty of reason to be highly pessimistic of Chelsea’s chances this year but there is so much quality in the line up that the experienced core of this team will rally around the new players for an improved Chelsea this season.

    Sturridge’s problem with getting proper first team football is himself, his raw ability is why he got off to the start he did last year. His inability to know when to pass and when NOT to shoot were why his role was limited down the stretch. Mata is a concern just in terms in the amount of football he’s played since the end of the season, he’s had no off season.

    This article failed to mention the contributions of Ramires who is on the cusp of being a really special player, iMO of course.

    1. Ramires has never scored more than 5 goals in a season while playing in Europe. I’m not saying that he isn’t talented but he’s more of a defensive midfielder and I don’t see him scoring on a noteworthy basis.

      1. He scored twelve goals last year. He’s a true box to box player not just a defense midfielder.

        Should he improve his shooting, he’s a potential 20 goal scorer from midfield.

  7. For me Chelsea will be one of the most intriguing stories of this coming season in the Prem. Everyone (including myself) has talked for years about how old they are but they have (sorta) quietly restocked the team and are going into the season with some exciting players. This doesn’t mean they will thrive, but I am eager to see them.

    And then there is the business of expectations/perception. With the FA Cup and Champions League last season must be seen as a success but the reality is Chelsea had their worst league season in years, and contrary to the perception of some Di Matteo didn’t do any better than AVB. In fact Chelsea took a higher percentage of points available (46) under AVB than Di Matteo (18).

  8. Paul and Jonathan, I think you are being a bit harsh here the question is will they struggle to score goals this season I think is valid. They have just lost one of the leagues best strikers that in itself is surely enough to ask the question, add to that Torres has been much more miss than hit as well as not the best on the injury front. Lukaku is on loan till next year and the only other striker is Sturridge who I have seen a lot of, he did well for City’s youth and reserves but didn’t look like a goal scorer in the first team he got the chances but failled to put them away. I think the wing is a better option for him as he has the skill without doubt.

    So you basically have one center forward! Yes you have added attacking midfielders and an inside forward in Hazard who did OK in the French league last year, but he has just made a big step up. will all three work out? If two do then you will have to be happy. Ask yourself will they replace Drogba’s goals? If they do they will still be low on goals as the writer informs you. I cannot see the problem with this question.

  9. I have a feeling this will be the season Torres finds his old form. With hazard playing behind him and creating quality chances for him in around the penalty area Torres will shine. If thoses two gel quickly watch out everyone else. I don’t know if it will be enough over a 38 games season but they will have a big say in were the title ends up.

  10. does Di Matteo have to win silverware or will he be one and done? will that open the door for Pep? IMO Torres will never be what he was at LFC to much scar tissue mentally.

  11. Drogba only scored 5 EPL goals in 24 apps in 2011/2012 (also the majority of his Chelsea career goals were scored in a 4-3-3 and not as the author writes 4-2-3-1). Lukaku has been loaned out to WBA – leaving Torres and Sturridge currently as CF options & I would therefore expect to see another striker join before the end of August.

    Poorly researched article, and potentially redundant with the transfer window still open?

    1. First off, I did clearly indicate that Drogba only scored five goals last season the EPL. Secondly, I already talked about Lukaku being loaned out. Third, a 4-2-3-1 is a more specific way of describing a 4-3-3 formation and Chelsea have always operated with one forward. Besides which, Di Matteo prefers playing a 4-2-3-1 which just consists of one midfielder playing higher up while two others stay back. It’s really not that different if you analyze it.

      Nothing wrong with stating the obvious in that Chelsea only have two forwards where one has been profoundly disappointing and the other is reckless and inconsistent. And you don’t need to spend hours of research to figure that one out.

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