20 Sept 2013

Hansen blasts: Goal-shy €8m attacker is 'not good enough' for the CL. Agree...?

On paper, Chelsea appear to have an embarrassment of striking riches. Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba are all (on their day) quality goalscorers, but according to Liverpool legend Alan Hansen, none of the three are up to the standards required to maintain a Champions League challenge.

Discussing Chelsea's chances of silverware this week, Hansen - who won three European Cups with Liverpool - told The Telegraph:

"Fernando Torres is having a torrid time, Demba Ba is not good enough and Samuel Eto’o has seen better days.

"Romelu Lukaku is Chelsea’s best bet, but he has been loaned out".

Hansen is clearly right about Torres and Eto'o, but his view that Demba Ba is 'not good enough' seems harsh. Or is it? Prior to joining Chelsea, Liverpool were also heavily linked with a move for Ba, but did the Reds ultimately dodge a bullet? The stats seems to suggest so. Since joining Chelsea:

* 6 goals/1 assist in 26 appearances.
* League only: 2 goals/0 assists in 15 appearances.
* League only: Goal every 467 mins (1 every 5 games)

Not pleasant reading, but Ba is definitely capable of scoring regularly in the Premier League, and he proved this at Newcastle. Consider his stats for the Barcodes:

* 29 goals in 54 league games.
* Goal every 151 mins (1 every 1.6 games)

At Chelsea, Ba plays alongside better players, so you'd think that would improve his chances of scoring goals, but that appears not to be the case. Clearly, as with Torres at Liverpool, Newcastle were (prior to the arrival of Papiss Cisse) set-up to serve Ba, and he delivered. At Chelsea, that is not the case, and both Torres and Ba have suffered as a result.

As such, I disagree that Ba is 'not good enough' for Chelsea. He clearly has goalscoring ability, but he's just not being utilised in the right way. Additionally, the Senegalese striker is either subbed or on the bench for practically every game, which will not help his ability to create a successful understanding with his team-mates.

If Ba became available in January for knockdown fee, I wouldn't be too unhappy if Liverpool went in for him.

As for Lukaku - I still can't comprehend why Mourinho would rather sign an over-the-hill striker like Eto'o than have the Premier League-proven Belgian striker in his team.

It makes no sense, and combined with Mourinho's seeming indifference towards creative-machine Juan Mata, it raises serious questions about the Portuguese's ability to steer Chelsea to success this season.

The prevailing view seems to be that Mourinho = guaranteed success for Chelsea, but after only two wins in the last seven games - and two straight defeats** - this doesn't seem to be the reality right now.

** Long may this continue!

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  1. Chelsea have one of the best squads (strikers aside). Eto can still do the business. Chelsea have more than enough creative players to make Eto one of the top scorers this season. Do not count them out but cannot say that I feel sorry for their dip of form.

  2. Chelsea fan in peace! AH could well be right I fear, he spotted Shevchenko's lack of pace very early on some time ago. Some of Mou's decision making is also a bit er......erratic shall we say? I'm keeping the faith, but we shall see. Your boys are doing well atm and congrats, remember though it's a long season, your squad could use being bigger, long way to go.....
    PS can we have Sturridge back please.......:-)

  3. Mourinho blamed their blip on the style, the owner wanted the team to play, but IMO with the talent available to him, I think he is too defensive with his tactics. Of the 3 forwards I think Ba would be my pick also, but only in the absence of Lukaku.

  4. Mata, one of the top 3/4 players in PL for the past two seasons, needs to be trusted by Mourinho and that would make a big difference for the team as well as whatever striker Chelsea deploy...in theory anyway.

  5. Apparently JM is a bit pissed that Sturridge was sold. Now yous are stuck with Torres!

  6. Yeah, what to do with Torres eh?? Me Thinks we've been quite generous giving you Scousers Sturridge and now Moses, positively Christlike considering the grief we've come to at Merseyside in recent years! Think you'll miss Coutinho, he looks quality, but he'll be back and so will Suarez and his gnashers. As for us, if we can sort out a first 11 the rest will fall into place over time, assuming we,meaning Mou, get it of course.. ..

  7. When MOURINHO was announced I thought CHELSEA would win the league.Watching your last two games (backed them on accumulators) I'm not sure.
    JUAN MATA who everybody seems to rate highly isn't a JM type player for whatever reason.You watch him or used to every week.Is he that much of a liability defensively that you can understand MOURINHO's decision to leave him out?
    Looking at your 3 amigos he'd be the last player I'd have sitting on the bench.He's production is on a different level to both HAZARD and OSCAR.
    REAL MADRID has changed JM.They expect to win every game and play the type of stuff that BARCA play.I thought because he's idolised at CHELSEA he'd revert back to a more defensive style.But he's gone for attacking players in a cautious system.
    DEMBA BA should start more games.He scored loads at NEWCASTLE and if given a good run of games he'll look like one of the best strikers in the league again.
    I'm not betting on your lot again this season.That BASEL result was the only screw up on my last accumulator!

  8. I'm glad i'm not the only one thinking Mourhino is getting it all wrong at the moment. To let Lukaku out on loan again baffled me, as i have been hugely impressed with him the last two seasons. He's only going to get better IMO. Demba Ba has never convinced me so cant argue with his omission.
    Torres? Right he's not worth 50m everyone knows that now, but recently when he's played, he has provided assists, and even his goal scoring started to improve. But Eto over him? Madness to me.
    Finally Mata? I have thought about this from every angle and still cant fathom it. If you were given one free pick of a Chrlsea player he would be top of my list every time.
    Long may it continue.
    And Romans first visit to the dressing room before end of september... controversial.

  9. Basle! Tell me about it, all the other 7 up. Think i'm gonna send Roman the docket.
    I dont know about Demba Ba though. He really went off the boil, i know he got shunted out to the wing when Cisse arrived, but there was always something about him that turned me. I'd have Torres ahead of him. But i would have Lukaku ahead of all 3 of em until he gave me a rwason not to.

  10. I dont think there's a football fan outside JMs head that can understand his decision to bench Mata. Crazy.

  11. Cool words from a Chelsea fan. I'm sure JM can turn it around as soon as he settles down at the club, again. Not forgetting he's a one of the best manager around with great track records. Yes, we are good after 4 games but you are right, it's going to be a long season. DS, I'm sorry but we have to keep him, man...and why not give us cut-price deals for Juan Mata and probably, Victor Moses.

  12. never go back ....it seldom works out........if we where playing chelsea the two players i wouldnt want to be starting are luka and mata...and luka has been loaned out

  13. Sidetracked a little as some of us talked about Romelu Lukaku. I cannot imagine the quality that Belgium has in their international squad. They have good players at practically every position and all of them are very young. All that makes their table-topping performances in the World Cup qualifying campaign look 'ordinary'. Now we have their reserve keeper, Simon Mignolet, as our Goalie, who else in the Belgium squad can we bring into LFC?

  14. When CISSE went to NEWCASTLE he was on fire.Everything he hit seemed to go in and BA you're right was pushed wide.
    However PC went off the boil last season so BA stepped up, played in his prefered position and netted a few goals before he left for CHELSEA.He wasn't far off the form he showed prior to CISSE moving to the PL.
    TORRES is a shadow of the player he was.I'd be amazed if he got back his LFC form.CHELSEA will need something close to that if they want to win the league.
    I agree about LAKAKU though.I don't know what shocks me more, loaning him out or starting games without MATA.

  15. Maybe i am dismissing Ba too quickly, never got a run at Chelsea either, and he has scored some incredible goals. But i think thats the feeling i have about him. He'll score ten absolute pearlers in a season, but wont get you the other 15 tap ins. But thats only my opinion on him.
    Torres has lost a lot, but I'd still have him over Eto from what I've seen. How chelsea spent that money on Willian, when they are clearly overloaded, and failed to bring in a top striker is anyones guess.
    Smacks a bit of Mourhinos arrogance, and will cost them up to January i think.

  16. Nice to meet ya xxcell210. Well, even money says Moses may want to stick with LFC providing he gets enough playing time, which I think he will. As for Juan, we'll keep him thanks. After all we gave you Brendan R. Ex Chelsea youth coach remember? Enough gifts from us I think, you're already title contenders now. What more d'you want?? :-)

  17. chelskea fans will be crying out for rafa by the end of the season! Its a no brainer - Mata is one of the best midfielders in world football but mourinho keeps him on the bench. Eto hasnt done anything for a few years yet gets in ahead of torres, lukaku and ba? Id have any of the 4 at liverpool including torres who i think would fire once again if linked up with gerrard.

  18. The so called "special one" need back up with ton of penny ONLY CAN DO his job... Any exp mgr if given same job / same team (at inter or real) can be oso success that what i believe...he just 1 season wonder at PORTO, other than that what he done ????
    While he won BPL title with chelsea, look at his team(mega superstar even at bench or reserved). A success with that kind of squad IS A MUST but what glory he get at euro??? Bare in mind, back then Chelsea is the only team whom spend mega $ constantly.
    I think the best he can do is sabotage team spirits either with BOARD or PLAYER...
    If he really want to prove he a really good mgr, he should take the job at the bottom team and bring success to euro with very limited $$$...I think he would be "sacked" as well...
    My best example would go to Harry Redknapp. Look at what he achieve to Portsmouth...Moyes with very limited $ work with every season but can bring biggest stability to our neighbor !

    To Chelsea fans, if i offended your beloved mgr you may report my comment and let JK to judge......

  19. ba and mata in january

  20. I would have Torres in my team every day. I would have liked him coming back but i can't see it happening, nevermind the reasons. The potential he has in him is unremarkable. Chelsea just ain't the right team for him. I don't get it why he stays there, but maybe i do not know something. I used to be happy it happened to him since he left us the way he did, but now i just feel bad for him.

    PS - Loaning Lukaku is one of the weirdest decision i've seen in a while. It kind of makes JM look stupid since his been aching on giving Sturridge away, while this give-up may sum to be kind of similar

  21. Until Jan i predict Mourinho forgets about his 'I don't mind selling to opponents' philosophy. Looks like a bad one for Chelsea this time.