Why Chelsea Fans Should Not Worry About Striker Injury Crisis


Diego Costa – Flickr Creative Commons

The Chelsea front line has been rocked by injury crisis as of late. After returning from international duty with Spain, star-man Diego Costa is in no condition to suit up for the Blues. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Loic Remy — Costa’s backup — picked up an injury during Chelsea’s home win vs NK Maribor on Tuesday.

This leaves Didier Drogba to lead the line until the first-choice strikers can return to action. Dominic Solanke is also available for selection if needs be. The youngster scored 20 goals in 25 appearances for Chelsea’s under-18 team last season, and while he lacks experience, he is talented enough to play valuable minutes up front.

Blues’ supporters cannot be blamed for panicking right now. Chelsea’s failure to win the title last season was solely down to the fact that their striking options were not good enough. The club has done well to rectify the problem, but players getting injured is an aspect of the game you cannot predict or effectively plan for. It is clear that the club needs a huge presence up front to challenge for silverware; Costa has been just that, but his unavailability is now a major concern.

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While it would be understandable if they were to do so, Chelsea fans need not worry, and here’s why:

Didier Drogba Is Still Capable

The big Ivorian is clearly past his best, but he can still hold his own up front. Although he lacks quickness, he is still strong enough to hold off defenders, play with his back to goal, and win aerial battles. He looked quite sharp vs Maribor, he impressed with great awareness and neat distribution. Drogba can still rub shoulders with the best, his mental toughness makes him a huge asset to Chelsea and the manager has faith in him. He can be counted on to fill the void left up front; of that he is certainly capable.

The Goals Are Coming From Everywhere

As opposed to last season, Chelsea’s strikers are getting the job done. Costa, Remy and Drogba have scored 12 of Chelsea’s goals so far, but the entire team has gotten in on the act. The Blues have scored 33 goals this season, 12 from strikers, leaving the rest of the team to account for 21 goals. Also, nine of the 12 striker goals have been scored by one man. This clearly shows that Chelsea don’t necessarily rely on their strikers to score, as their midfielders and defenders contribute goals in healthy amounts. The Blues could surely survive without Costa and Remy for a few weeks.

Jose Mourinho Is A Master Tactician

This one clearly goes without saying, but I felt the need to reiterate. In Jose Mourinho, the Blues have a master tactician. Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world, but what impresses me most, is his ability to adapt. The Portuguese has been able to impact games by adapting to anomalies during play; these changes may seem spontaneous, but they aren’t.

The manager drills his players for every possible situation; going down a goal, getting a red card, playing with an extra striker or pushing a defender forward into the midfield. All these are practiced and calculated, Mourinho is ready for anything. A few times last season, with his team needing a goal, the manager made the calculated risk of playing with three defenders and an extra man in the attack. These tactical changes always paid off.

Also, Mourinho tried playing an attacking brand of football at the beginning of the last campaign. After a few games, the manager realized that he did not have the right players up front for such a system, and that the defense was letting in too many goals. He changed his entire plan to suit the players at his disposal, he also tightened things up at the back. The team became extremely hard to break down, and they also scored a few goals in the process, almost winning the Premier League title.

“Tomorrow is our day off and the doctor is forbidden to call me to speak about injuries.” – Jose Mourinho

Supporters should have faith in their manager, he knows just what to do. He always finds a way, and he will surely find a way to deal with this new problem. Judging from what he said after the Maribor game, he doesn’t even seem worried.

Diego Costa Could Play Through Injury If Needed

Costa has been ruled out of almost all the games in which he has played for Chelsea, yet he still has nine goals to his name. The striker has played major minutes, and not once has he shown any hesitance, or sign of discomfort. I am sure that he can play if called upon. He does need rest and shouldn’t be risked, but he wants to play. He even refused a break from his manager after he returned from international duty. I would not be surprised to see him start against Manchester United on Sunday.

Chelsea fans can take heart from these facts. The team plays like a well oiled machine, and they showed that it isn’t a one-man show. They should have no problems playing without Costa and/or Remy.