Bridge Banter: Chelsea's reliance on goals from midfield is not so much bad news for Jose Mourinho
Chelsea’s peculiar reliance on midfielders rather than forwards to score goals seems to be paying dividends as the Blues prepare to face Cardiff City at the Bridge.
Oscar is the club’s leading scorer in all competitions with four, followed by Ramires with three and Frank Lampard with two.
Of the six players with a single goal to their name, only Fernando Torres is a recognised striker (if you use a fairly flexible recognition system).
Yet the Blues sit neatly in third place, two points off joint leaders Arsenal and Liverpool.
The fact that Chelsea are doing well despite the lack of goals from the front men is oddly comforting, but it’s also interesting to note that in unguarded moments Jose Mourinho admits to missing Didier Drogba just as much as Blues fans do.
The man with the goals: Oscar is the main Chelsea threat right now
“I say to [Branislav] Ivanovic not to make an early cross because Drogba is not there,” said the manager in a wistful post-match analysis of tactics after the 3-1 win at Norwich.
Fortunately Jose can still call on the dependable creativity of Frank Lampard, whose performances in the past week have helped England qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals.
On Tuesday night against Poland at Wembley, Lamps, wearing 16, came on in the 71st minute for Michael Carrick, wearing eight; a reverse of the substitution made in the 65th minute of the Montenegro victory a few days earlier when Carrick, wearing 16, replaced Lampard, then wearing his more familiar number eight shirt.
So who will start up front against Malky Mackay’s men at Stamford Bridge?
Demba Ba did enough in the first half at Carrow Road to merit another run, and Jose may try a half-and-half split with Ba in the first 45 minutes and Samuel Eto’o, to mix things up, after the interval.
Torres will miss the game with ligament damage, but could be back in contention for a place when Manchester City visit in a week’s time.
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