Chelsea hit hard by Lampard's absence as the goals dry up
Tuesday 23 November 2010
Chelsea's strikers were held behind for some extra shooting practice yesterday and, given the champions' recent lack of firepower, it was little wonder their manager, Carlo Ancelotti, had put them in detention.
The club that set a Premier League record last season with 103 goals in 38 games are suffering a crisis in front of goal. Chelsea have managed just one goal in their past four league games, in which they have taken three points from a possible 12.
The champions' goal drought has been the most startling aspect of their current loss of form, especially given that the attack is the one area of the team that has not been struck by injuries. The loss of John Terry and Alex has been felt in defence, while Frank Lampard's three-month absence has left the midfield looking under-powered. Up front, however, all the strikers are fit, although Didier Drogba is playing on despite suffering from malaria.
The loss of Lampard's goals from midfield – he scored 27 last season – tells just part of the story. He also created more goals than anyone else, and without him Chelsea are looking toothless. They began the season on fire, with 21 goals from their first five games. But Lampard has been out since late August and the side has suffered as a result.
Ancelotti said: "The problem is on the pitch because, this season, we shot 200 times on the goal. The first 100 shots we had, 21 per cent of chances were converted into goals. The last 100 shots we had just 5 per cent converted. This is the reason we have to stay more focused and have more concentration on shooting, because the players in the team have not changed. We have to work on this."
The strikers should get further shooting practice tonight against Champions League whipping boys MSK Zilina, who lost 7-0 at home to Marseilles in their last match. Chelsea have already qualified for the knockout stages, and Ancelotti will give 17-year-old midfielder Josh McEachran the first start of his career in a young team that will include Jeffrey Bruma (18) and probably Patrick van Aanholt (19) and Gaël Kakuta (19). McEachran is Chelsea's brightest prospect for some time, and made his England Under-21 debut as an 87th-minute substitute in last week's 2-0 defeat to Germany.
The 17-year-old from Oxfordshire played 11 minutes in the 4-1 victory over MSK Zilina in September and also got a run-out as a substitute in Chelsea's 2-0 win at Spartak Moscow last month.
"It is the time for McEachran to play," Ancelotti said. "He's shown a good attitude and personality. It's a good moment for him. It's the time for him to have his chance."
Latest in Sport
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
WrestleMania 31: The Undertaker begins a new streak after tombstoning Bray Wyatt
Louis van Gaal: Manchester United boss reveals that being a 'slow player' made him a better manager on warts and all documentary
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Muhammad Ali is behind Pacquiao 'all the way', reveals his daughter Rashida
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Trevor Noah: Jon Stewart's replacement faces online criticism over 'anti-Semitic' tweets
- 3 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 4 Martha Stewart accuses Snoop Dogg of 'smoking for four hours' during Justin Bieber Roast
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred