Chelsea have a fantastic squad, but not a perfect squad, and there’s one player that would made an ideal addition.
When Jose Mourinho looked to his bench on Saturday with his side 2-0 down, what options did he have? Loic Remy and Didier Drogba are fine players, and Drogba pulled one back for the Blues, but only once their strategy had changed to simply lobbing the ball into the box.
Andre Schurrle was there too, but the German is in terrible form. He’s a hard-working, direct winger with a good striker’s instinct, but he’s fairly one-dimensional, and doesn’t contribute much to build-up play.
Ramires occasionally plays wide for Mourinho, but only in games where serious defensive cover is needed. He’s certainly not the man you want to bring on to create a goal.
On the pitch, Willian has done well and is part of Mourinho’s first XI, but the Newcastle game showed his limitations. While a good dribbler and a determined runner up and down the flank, the Brazilian just doesn’t score enough. His shot that hit the post against the Magpies could have changed the game for Chelsea, but the winger’s lack of efficiency came back to haunt the Blues yet again.
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Willian, much like Hazard loves to cut inside. Azpilicueta, playing on the wrong side, does the same thing. This means that Chelsea can become incredibly narrow as they attack. Ivanovic is often the only player in the side offering any width. This is exactly what happened on Saturday, and Newcastle were easily able to contain Chelsea are they all poured into central areas and got in each other’s way.
Juan Cuadrado would be the perfect player to solve this problem. The Fiorentina man is a far more natural winger than Willian and Schurrle and is much more likely to hug the touchline. He has the work-rate and defensive discipline that Mourinho requires. In a game like the one at St James’ Park on Tuesday, when Chelsea need a man to stay wide, stretch the defence and open up the pitch with speed and dribbling, the Colombian would have been ideal.
If José can find a buyer for Schurrle, which should be too hard despite the German’s lack of game time in recent months, he should get rid of the World Cup winner and bring in the 26-year-old Cuadrado. While the winger would be ineligible for Champions League games, those aren’t the matches he’s needed for. Chelsea already excel in those encounters – it’s breaking down the stubborn, compact sides defending deep that Mourinho’s team has had difficulties with in the last two seasons.