The curse of the number nine at Chelsea Football Club is hard to ignore, even for those who are not superstitious.
Personally I’ve never thought much about it, but when you strip it down it is clear that Chelsea have had a recent problem with strikers, and Thomas Tuchel has even acknowledged this today in his press conference.
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He says that there is a history of strikers struggling at Chelsea, and he’s spot on. The quote below was in response to a question about Romelu Lukkau’s current form.
Tuchel on attacking problems: “There’s a history of strikers struggling at Chelsea. It is obviously not the easiest place to play. I’m not sure why it is. #CFC is seen as a defensive, physical team with a strong competitive attitude and we ask a lot of our strikers in defending.”
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) February 21, 2022
So why is that?
Well, for me, for a person who is far from superstitious, it is clearly the pressure of playing for a club like Chelsea and panicking when they fail to deliver. The fact that it is such a huge weight on their shoulders, and also that there is even this ‘curse of the Chelsea striker’ hovering over their heads as well, could have an effect on a players mentality and confidence.
Tuchel also picked up on Lukaku’s lack of confidence in the press conference today ironically..
“What can I do? We have to deal with it. He was not involved, it’s sometimes like this with strikers if they struggle with self-confidence. It’s not what we want or what Romelu wants, but it’s not the time to laugh or make jokes about him.”
– Tuchel on Lukaku’s ‘6 touches’
— Simon Phillips (@siphillipssport) February 21, 2022
What can he do? Well, this is the bubbling question that we are still seemingly getting no answers to. What can Chelsea do to get the best out of Lukaku? Or should the question be, what can Lukaku himself do? Or Tuchel? Of the players playing behind him?
The answer to those questions will change depending on who you speak to, with opinions seemingly split. So it is not a simple solution, but it IS a big problem, and something that they all collectively need to work out for the good of the team and performances moving forward.
I fear that it is something that can be worked at all though, and for me Tuchel is being very diplomatic with his answers about Lukaku recently. But it appears there is something deeper lining going on there and I don’t know whether there is any way out anymore.
Whether it’s the system, the striker curse, Tuchel, Lukaku, the players, or a mixture of it all, the fact is that they ALL need to find a solution now because Chelsea are coming up to a hugely important part of the season and they need their talisman to start showing consistently good form and scoring more goals.
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