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Will Sarri succeed without a prolific striker?

Modified 20 Dec 2019, 17:17 IST

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Sarri faces task to get his team to score goals

Maurizio Sarri faces the daunting task of bringing success to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea won the FA Cup last season, but failed to finish in the top 4 and accordingly missed out on a place in the Champions League.

Sarri's first task therefore will be to ensure an immediate return to Europe's Premier club competition this season by doing well enough in the league. Should that not be, he must at least triumph in the Europa League to earn Chelsea an automatic Champions League slot. That though, considering Abramovich's almost impossible demands, might as well be considered not good enough.

To do that though, his team will have to score goals. That looks to be a hard task given Chelsea's struggles in front of goal last season. The Blues splashed out a huge fee that would eventually rise to £70m (per Sky Sports) to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid.

That followed a terrible fallout between then manager Antonio Conte and controversial Brazilian-born Spanish striker, Diego Costa. Costa did not leave the club until January this year, but didn't feature in any game for Chelsea after the Italian elected so.

Chelsea v West Ham United - Premier League
Diego Costa fell out with Antonio Conte before being sold in january

In came Morata, with a massive task of filling the boots left by the enigmatic striker, Costa. Indeed the task was massive considering that at 24 years, he was assuming the responsibility of being the main man at a club for the first time in his career. 

He scored a few goals at the start of the season before going on a terrible goal draught that saw him score only 3 goals after Christmas. This forced Antonio Conte to sign another striker in Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman did not prove to be an almighty solution as Chelsea failed to book a place in the Champions League.

In fact by the end of the season, Chelsea had scored a miserly 62 goals in 38 games. When that is compared to City's 106, it shows clearly how ineffective Conte's men were in front of goal.

When Maurizio Sarri was appointed manager of Chelsea, speculation was rife that Gonzalo Higuain would follow him out of the Serie A and into the Premier League. It wasn't to be as the Argentine ended up joining AC Milan instead. This left Chelsea with Alvaro Morata and French World Cup winning striker, Olivier Giroud.


Morata currently looks completely out of his depth while Giroud, despite his Premier League experience with Arsenal, has never scored 20 league goals in a single season in England.

His shortcomings in front of goal were partly responsible for Arsenal's woes in the twilight of Wenger's Arsenal career. Will he be the man to score 20 or more goals for Sarri's Chelsea? Most probably not!

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League
Olivier Giroud

So now, who will it be? Well, Maurizio Sarri unleashed his magic at Napoli that saw Dries Mertens converted from winger into one of the most feared strikers in Serie A. The Belgian made the striker's position his own following Higuain's sale to Juventus.

There's therefore a feeling that the Italian tactician could wield his magic in like manner and convert Eden Hazard into a prolific striker. The Belgium skipper has the ingredients to do just that, but potential is one thing, fulfilling it is another.

Either way, the Chelsea manager must find a way to ensure his team will score goals to catapult the Blues to big things. Without that, the former Napoli boss will find himself in deep, deep trouble any time soon!

Published 18 Aug 2018, 18:14 IST
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