Chelsea’s biggest problem currently is consistency. But the underlying cause of this problem is the lack of creativity and the inability to break down teams with low defensive blocks. With Ruben Loftus-Cheek returning to training and set to be back on the pitch soon, could he be the solution to Chelsea’s biggest problem?
The Issue at Hand
Ever since the departure of Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea still hasn’t found a replacement to fill his creative void. On top of that, losing Eden Hazard, who has been creating a significant amount of goals for Chelsea, has worsened the problem. Now it is clearly evident that Chelsea is missing a creative presence who will create and score goals.
Despite being able to control games and maintain high possession, Chelsea still lacks creativity in the final third, unable to break down low blocks and as a result unable to score. This ongoing problem has seen Chelsea lose to sides such as West Ham, Bournemouth, and Southampton who all shape up as a low block defensively. These losses have been extremely detrimental to Chelsea’s campaign and aim of reaching top four.
The Chelsea attack simply cannot break down and find open pockets against low blocks causing them to rely on crosses from the flanks. The crosses from the flank are not effective against these teams as they have an overload in the penalty box. In addition, Chelsea’s attack merely passes back and forwards as they cannot find open pockets in the opponent’s back four to exploit. Which gives more time for the opponent’s defense to reshape and trackback.
In attack, Chelsea at the moment doesn’t have a player who can pick out gaps in the opponent’s back four and play through balls. Against teams that shape up as a low block, this is vital. A low block is going to be compact and try to close down every space in the defense, which is why a creative player that is able to find small gaps is important.
To make things worse, Chelsea is not clinical enough upfront which makes it significantly harder against low block teams. This is because, against these types of teams, Chelsea will have limited chances in front of the goal due to the compactness of their defensive shape. Thus being clinical is essential. However, Chelsea is seriously lacking in this department.
What Ruben Brings to the Table
What Chelsea needs is a creative game-changer and a physical force that will break down defensive blocks. Instead of signing a short term fix in the January window, Chelsea should look within their own ranks. That, of course, is Ruben-Loftus Cheek himself.
During his breakout season for Chelsea last season under Sarri, Ruben proved to be an effective attacker that brought a physical presence and driving force to the game. Ruben has what Chelsea needs right now. Ruben is a midfielder who likes to drive, breaks lines and play through balls. This is perfect against low blocks.
Ruben is a physical midfielder who can drive at these low blocks effectively and create space for his teammates at the same time. On top of that, his shooting will add more ruthlessness to Chelsea’s attack.
Not only will his driving runs be effective but also his creative abilities. His through balls and ability to pick players out in tight situations will bring another dimension to Chelsea’s attack. As mentioned earlier, against low blocks, Chelsea will need a player he can find small openings in low blocks and is able to quickly read it.
Ruben’s physical presence will also be another huge benefit to Chelsea’s attack. His physical and fast drives will cause trouble against low blocks which is another area Chelsea are lacking in. Chelsea’s midfielders currently are not the most physical in attack and Ruben will bring this element without a doubt.
Whether Ruben is able to provide a solution to Chelsea’s creative problem or not, his return will definitely provide another dimension to Chelsea’s attack. In the meantime, Chelsea should consider him as the number one solution to this problem.