Bridge Banter: Chelsea's problems up front surely mean striker Romelu Lukaku is the future
Jose Mourinho’s problems were laid bare at the County Ground on Tuesday night as Chelsea faced Swindon Town in the League Cup.
He made 10 changes from the team that beat Fulham 2-0 in the Premier League, and achieved another 2-0 victory.
There were one or two minor scares, and Swindon had spells of good possession, but it was relatively straightforward.
So what’s the problem? The Blues manager has simply too much talent to choose from, and it all seems to be concertinaed into midfield.
He began Saturday’s west London derby with Mikel, Ramires, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle in the space between the back four and Samuel Eto’o.
He started Tuesday’s cup match with Michael Essien, Marko van Ginkel, Kevin de Bruyne, Willian and Juan Mata in midfield.
Then, when van Ginkel hobbled off with an ankle twist after six minutes, Ramires came on too. And when John Terry replaced Ramires in the second half, David Luiz was pushed into midfield.
You can’t walk anywhere in SW6 without bumping into a Chelsea midfielder. They’re everywhere.
Yet up front, Eto’o is finding his feet, Demba Ba seems destined to spend more time on the bench than the field, and dear old Fernando Torres – dropped from the squad altogether at the weekend – muffed three times as many chances as he actually converted at Swindon.
To be fair, Torres scored one and created Chelsea’s other for Ramires… but he still looks shy of bite, pace and confidence in one-on-ones with opposition keepers.
Chelsea’s future surely includes out-on-loan Romelu Lukaku, seemingly exiled for his Uefa Super Cup final penalty miss against Bayern Munich.
Jose insists he has no regrets about releasing Lukaku for the season, and assistant coach Steve Holland is also bullish about the lack of game time reigning Chelsea player of the year Mata is getting.
Maybe 11 midfielders will line up against Spurs at the weekend.
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