After Chelsea’s 2-1 win at Watford, we take three things we can learn from the victory.
Chelsea really need a striker in January
Maurizio Sarri seems to have given up on both of his strikers and embraced the false nine system. This is a damning statement on his opinion of Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud. Morata is finished at Chelsea and Giroud is a decent plan B but he is far too slow to be a regular starting striker in Sarri’s system.
Eden Hazard, who is more effective from deeper, is doing a better job than both of them. He may have scored twice, but that does not mean that the team are seeing the best of him up front.
Chelsea’s build up play last night was fantastic but moves often broke down right at the final pass. If there were a man such as Gonzalo Higuain up front who understands how to finish these plays off, the Blues would be a significantly better side.
2. There is still a fragile mentality at the club
Chelsea used to be synonymous with mental toughness. The team forged by Jose Mourinho in 2004 went on to win it all. Players such as John terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba carried the team to greatness through a combination of talent and a dogged determination to get results from any match.
Since those players retired, the Blues have had a soft underbelly. We saw this during seasons such as 2015/16 and last season when players did not have it within themselves to grind out results and stay in matches.
Against Watford, there was an incident which summed all this up. From a Watford corner, an attacker beat David Luiz to a header but it went wide. Luiz turned and started shouting at Callum Hudson-Odoi. He was not taking responsibility for losing his man and turned on a youngster. That sums up the lack of character and leadership in the squad.
3. Emerson outshines Alonso in ten minutes
The Brazilian came on to shore up the left hand side with ten minutes to go. Immediately, he showed how technically good he is when a lovely shift of feet set up an attack. Watching him run, he was far quicker than Alonso, who was turned defensively and never mustered an overlapping run all game.
Sarri is really not helping himself by continuing to select Alonso over Emerson. The evidence is right there in front of us and it shows that Emerson is a far better option.