Steve Bates says Chelsea must strengthen up front
Chelsea need “a Harry Kane or a Sergio Aguero” to avoid over-reliance on Eden Hazard, Steve Bates told the Sunday Supplement.
The Belgian was influential off the bench as Chelsea edged out Arsenal in a topsy-turvy 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, with Alvaro Morata also scoring just his third Premier League goal of 2018.
But Sunday People chief football writer Bates told the panel that an over-reliance on the Belgian could come back to bite the Blues – and a new striker to challenge for the Golden Boot, something Chelsea reportedly tried and failed to recruit this summer, was a must in their pursuit of future Premier League titles.
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He said: “If they keep Eden Hazard, and I suspect they will do, because there would be no value in Chelsea selling him now, although you never know after the comments he made earlier in the summer, they’ve got a really, really strong squad.
Eden Hazard is yet to make a start for Chelsea this season after reaching the World Cup semi-finals with Belgium
“The one thing I would say is that Morata is no Diego Costa. Costa gave that Chelsea team so much, I know Morata scored yesterday and it was a good goal, but somewhere further down the line they are going to suffer in attack because they cannot rely on Hazard every time.
“Okay, they’ve got others, Pedro, Willian, Giroud who will weigh in with goals, but longer-term they are going to need a Sergio Aguero, a Harry Kane, someone who will give them 25-30 goals a season. If they did that, I think Chelsea would be a huge, huge force.”
Fellow panellist Henry Winter agreed Hazard would remain the main man at Stamford Bridge for the mean-time, ahead of new arrival Jorginho, in spite of the reviews the Italian has received from his time at Napoli.
Chelsea 3-2 Arsenal
He said: “Hazard changed the game when he came on, and he’s the brains, the catalyst and creative heartbeat for me and they are a completely different team when he comes on.
“He is special, and it’s encouraging for them; they’ve got the new players settling in quickly, and Mateo Kovacic coming in too, and then you’ve got Hazard who is just a class act.”