Samuel Eto'o proving to be good business for Chelsea after scoring yet another crucial goal for the club
Cameroonian has popped up at important times this season
Wednesday 19 March 2014
When Chelsea brought in Samuel Eto'o in August there were more than a few who questioned the wisdom of the deal.
Despite the Cameroonian striker arriving on a free transfer, there were feelings that at 32, he was past his best and a long way away from the star striker that Jose Mourinho desperately needed at Stamford Bridge.
With the club's very public attempt to sign Wayne Rooney failing, Eto'o's signature seemed something of an anticlimax at best and at worst smacked a little of desperation.
However to the delight of Chelsea fans and perhaps the surprise of some others, the striker has proven to be an astute piece of business from Mourinho, particularly as he appears to have a handy knack of scoring crucial goals for the club.
Chelsea's important post-Christmas meeting with Liverpool could hardly have started any worse for the Blues, who were looking to make up lost ground on league leaders Arsenal.
Martin Skrtel tapped in after three minutes and Mourinho's men were faced with the prospect of going into the new year in fourth place, five points off the pace.
Eden Hazard pulled a goal back and later Eto'o popped up to score what would prove to be the winning goal and ensure Chelsea kept themselves in the title race.
Chelsea had to wait nearly three weeks for another Eto'o goal, but like London buses, they got three all at once.
The four-time African player of the year put David Moyes' struggling Manchester United to the sword with a hat trick, ending their faint hopes of retaining their title and keeping Chelsea only two points away from the league's leaders.
After his hat trick heroics, the goals slightly dried up for Eto'o, who also found himself the subject of some rather undermining, unguarded remarks from Mourinho that were leaked to the press.
However the Cameroonian bounced back and once again chipped in with a crucial goal, breaking the deadlock against Tottenham before winning the game-altering penalty as Chelsea finished 4-0 winners.
Last night Eto'o once again repeated his trick of scoring key goals, this time in Chelsea's knockout game with Galatasaray.
After a first leg that had seen Chelsea squander several good opportunities to all but seal their qualification, the tie was all square at 1-1, with the Turkish side perhaps sensing an opportunity to spring an upset.
However in the fourth minute of the game, Eto'o slipped in behind the Galatasaray defence and showing the unnerving finishing skill that has always been a feature of his play, slotted the ball past the opposition goalkeeper - from that point on, it was a lead that Chelsea never looked like surrendering.
While Eto'o is neither the star striker that Chelsea fans have been crying out for or even the star striker that he once was, if the Cameroonian can keep scoring key goals, then he might prove to be just the striker that they need.
Eto'o's Chelsea Goals
1 v Cardiff, 19 October (Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff)
2 v Schalke, 6 November (Chelsea 3-0 Schalke)
1 v West Brom, 9 Novemeber (Chelsea 2-2 West Brom)
1 v Liverpool, 29 December (Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool)
3 v Man United, 19 January (Chelsea 3-1 Man United)
1 v Tottenham, 8 March (Chelsea 4-0 Tottenham)
1 v Galatasaray, 18 March (Chelsea 2-0 Galatasaray)
Latest in Sport
Manchester United can learn lessons from the transfer template of rivals Manchester City
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea top the list of the Premier League's most expensive squads
Pavement The Forum, London
David De Gea, Peter Odemwingie and the 18 weirdest transfer deadline day stories
Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans plan protest at the Emirates Stadium because of lack of transfer activity...no-one turns up
- 1 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 4 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 5 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up