Recent weeks have seen many Chelsea Football Club fans consider Romelu Lukaku’s role in the attack. There seems to be this (myth) of retention last season as a fluid, flowing, and fruitful attack, and somehow Lukaku has ruined that. With one more inert member of the attack, the rest has suffered they will maintain.
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Kai Havertz displayed to Chelsea Football fans that it’s a hard role to play for anyone. The Blues proved that Norwich is the canary in the coal mine when it comes to downgrading as they won 7-0. Absent from the score sheet? Kai Havertz who played up top. Not only that, he’ll likely be absent from the highlights as well.
This isn’t even a knock on Havertz. It turns out, playing as a striker for a top club in Premier League Football is hard. Chelsea Football Club fans should know that with Didier Drogba and Diego Costa being the only two to A: be given a constant chance and B: be able to take that chance consistently in the last two decades. Yet, much was still made about Lukaku’s role in recent weeks. The Blues won 7-0 against Norwich, but it is hard to say Havertz played much of a thru role in that scoreline.
Antonio Conte once called strikers a locus point, and in the modern game that is certainly true. Whether strikers press or not, they are the first defender. Whether they score or not, they are often seen as the last and most important attacker as well. Teams put more bodies on strikers than anyone else and it forces the Chelsea Football team with the ball to work around that.
Which, in Havertz’s defense, he did very well. If his role was to pin the center back and free up space for Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount then he did that role fine. But, like Lukaku, he found it difficult to do much else. The goals came through breaks and fast play before the defense could be set up. When Norwich could get into shape, Havertz became a non-factor. To know more about Chelsea Football Tickets click here.
And this would have been the case for Lukaku, Timo Werner, or whoever. Strikers are easy players to lockdown. That’s why so many strikers have learned to move wide and deep to leak. It’s why so many wingers have learned to cut in and fill that space, not only to pin the center backs but to cause them to think of who they should be marking.
It’s also why crossing has made a slow comeback, though the Chelsea Football side has a very bad habit of only crossing when they have strikers that aren’t suited to receive them. Being a striker is hard. It’s a role where the player is always swimming against the current hoping they can find a way through. Lukaku has been anguish from it and now Havertz has as well.
With no familiar striker for a few weeks, whoever does play up top is going to face similar issues against Newcastle, Malmo, and Burnley. The trick is finding a way through regardless and others were able to do that again and again against Norwich.
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