Why Jose Mourinho should keep hold of Samuel Eto’o at Chelsea
Chelsea’s season has taken a turn for the worst in the last week with the Premier League title practically out of sight and a Champions League sem-final exit to the hands of Spanish league leaders, Atletico Madrid.
Jose Mourinho’s men have built their season on building a resilient rearguard and with the January addition of Nemanja Matic, the middle of the park has looked powerful for the men in blue.
However, one area in particular has been constantly magnified throughout the season - Mourinho’s lack of attacking prowess. While Fernando Torres and Demba Ba seem set for pastures new in the summer, with both front-men impressing too rarely to get a regular piece of the action, it is Mourinho’s late signing in the summer who has helped Chelsea get to where they are – Samuel Eto’o.
In a season where Eden Hazard has at times single-handedly pumped Chelsea’s goal tally, Cameroonian hit-man Eto’o has gone under the radar for the west London side.
The former Barcelona is stuck on nine Premier League goals this season, better than Fernando Torres’ four, despite playing six games fewer, and four more than Demba Ba, albeit playing two games more. Second highest-scorer for Chelsea in the league this season, the goals that have rippled the back of the net have been just as important as the galore of goals Hazard has struck this term. A big game player, Eto’o provides the goods when it matters, with a hat-trick versus Manchester United, and goals versus Liverpool, Arsenal and Spurs all crucial.
Without the strikers goals this season, Chelsea would be seven points worse off, three behind fourth-placed Arsenal. His goalscoring ability is evident and not too many times do we see the former Anzhi striker go wayward with his efforts. An impressive 59% shot accuracy on the domestic front this season highlights his attacking instincts, with both Torres and Ba struggling with 47% and 48% respectively.
Mourinho’s men exited Europe last week, but keeping hold of Eto’o for next season could help the Blues go that on step further in their quest for European glory. The striker struck three goals in nine appearances this season in the Europe’s elite club competition, boasting an impressive shot accuracy of 80%. He has also displayed his creativity around the opposition box, creating ten chances in the competition.
The striker has struggled with injuries this season and that will be taken into account in the summer as Mourinho decides whether to keep hold of him or not but he has proven his clinical touch. Level on Premier League goals with Alvaro Negredo, who was a contender for one of the players of the season earlier in the campaign, and just two behind lethal Dutchman Robin van Persie, Eto’o has clearly showcased his ability this season.
He is also just outside the top ten strikers in the league when it comes to the Squawka Performance Score, boasting an impressive score of 484 this campaign.
Eto’o may not have completely lit up the Premier League since his arrival, but he is a type of striker Mourinho admires. Passionate, strong and a lethal finisher, the Cameroonian has surely done enough to warrant an extension to his deal at the end of this season.