Andre Schurrle is all set to join Chelsea.
It might be hard to believe for even the Chelsea faithful at first that among the top 7 teams of this Premier League season Chelsea won the highest number of points in matches in between them. But still they finished 3rd , 14 points adrift of champions Manchester United.
On immediate scrutiny, Chelsea’s results against teams in the bottom 7 reveal interesting facts. Chelsea dropped 5 points against QPR, 2 against Reading (an offside Fernando Torres winner prevented further 2), 5 points against Southampton and 3 against struggling Newcastle United. This is a total of 15 points. All these teams had one thing in common. They were struggling for majority of the season. They were involved in relegation dogfight. 3 out of these above 4 had managerial changes.
Chelsea lost 15 points against poor teams fighting for survival.
Chelsea lost points against these teams due to late goals (Reading, Southampton), poor performances against crowded defences (QPR) etc. The Newcastle defeat can’t be pinpointed to one factor. Chelsea also lost another 2 points and League cup semifinal against a crowded defence of Swansea City.
So how does this relate to Andre Schurrle.
I will have write one more para so that it makes sense.
Chelsea’s style of play this season was unprecedented in their own history. With the acquisitions of hot-to-handle Hazard, elegant & blissful Oscar to the midfield or the attacking 3rd with the presence of classy Juan Mata, Chelsea now had 3 No. 10s whose preferred position to play will be in the hole behind the striker or as the most attacking mid who creates chances and takes them. Although Eden Hazard plays on the left and Juan Mata has played on the right before, only Hazard has that terrifying pace needed for traditional wingers. This created a problem but also had a mouth-watering possibility of flawless exchange of positions in between the 3. Not going into more details, this style of play overloading midfield, isolating the wings and intricate closeplay to break the defence didn’t work against the park-the-bus defences.
Enter Andre Schurrle.
Schurrle has the gift to score from range, just from outside the box with remarkable power and accuracy. If given space, the results will be dreadful. The Premiere league teams will come to know it the hard way. As a result of denying him space the defence will need to move up on the right side creating space for Torres and Mata. Things will not be simple now and mediocre teams with park-the-bus approach will find their tactics not working anymore.
At first, his transfer seemed redundant as we already have Hazard, Mata and Oscar with Victor Moses. But Schurrle brings something unique to the table. He can play striker in case of injuries. He work-rate and stamina are amazing and well-suited to PL in addition to the talents mentioned above. He will play good part in counter-attacks which are a speciality of the Special One, Jose Mourinho..
Schurrle also addresses the issue of quality depth in the squad, (we will have Moses too). So picking 5 out of 3 with 1 more youngster like Lewis Baker or Loftus-Cheek is apt depth in the squad.
As I discussed above, crowded defences were not the sole reason for dropped points. Late goals are also a factor, midfield is big concern but Schurrle’s move will stabilize Chelsea too. The formation itself 4-2-3-1 doesn’t seem to suit Chelsea but more on that later.
Andre Schurrle is the key for Chelsea to unlock the crowded defences and although he alone is incapable of firing Chelsea to the League title but he is a step in the right direction.