Would Graziano Pelle improve Chelsea’s attacking options?

Since the appointment of Antonio Conte, Chelsea have been linked with a number of players and transfer rumours are only further increasing since Italy were knocked out of the European Championship. Graziano Pelle, a surprise package at the tournament, has been linked with a move to the West London club to continue working under Conte, but would he improve Chelsea’s attacking options? Lewis Addley explores…

Graziano Pelle enjoyed a productive Euro 2016, if only for his personal reputation. The first-choice Italian forward netted two goals in his four games and, like the rest of his teammates, was bitterly disappointed to have fallen to Germany in the quarterfinal on penalties.

A widely held view is that Conte exceeded expectations with an Italian squad who were labelled as weaker than previous Italian teams. Pelle has been reported to be a target for Conte from a number of sources.

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Chelsea’s current frontline for the new season boasts Diego Costa, who is ‘100% staying‘ to be part of Conte’s revolution, new signing Michy Batshuayi, Loic Remy and Bertrand Traore.

Diego Costa netted just 12 Premier League goals last season, while Batshuayi’s 17 Ligue 1 goals earned him the £33 million move to the Blues last week. Remy, scoring just once, was used sparingly last season and many have expected him to be on the move ahead of the 2016/17 campaign, while Bertrand Traore’s development continues as he is seen as one for the future.

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So would Graziano Pelle improve Chelsea’s attacking options?

The Southampton striker boasted a strike rate of just better than one in three in the 2015/16 Premier League season, with 11 goals in his 30 appearances. He created 37 chances for his teammates, ten more than Batshuayi’s 27, and substantially beating Costa’s nine and Remy’s four.

Pelle registered six assists, only Batshuayi bettered that with ten, while Costa provided one and Remy none.

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Diego Costa had the best shot accuracy out of the four players with 79%, while Pelle came in at 39% – the lowest percentage of those compared. Batshuayi managed 56% and Remy was the second lowest on 50%.

With these stats in mind it wouldn’t be wrong to suggest Pelle could be a good squad addition, but with Costa looking set to stay put and with Batshuayi eager to develop into one of the world’s most deadly strikers, the Italian would be joining Chelsea with the knowledge he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter.

Is Pelle a good fit for Chelsea? Will they go in for the 30-year-old striker?


Premier League Preview and Prediction: Southampton vs Bournemouth

Competition: Premier League – Southampton vs. Bournemouth

Venue: St. Mary’s Stadium – Sunday, November 1 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET )

Match Odds: Southampton 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Bournemouth 5/1

Match Preview

Southampton host Bournemouth on Sunday in the first South Coast derby of the season in what should be a great game in the Premier League.

The Saints are unbeaten in four so go into the game as overwhelming favourites as they look to continue their fine form.

Ronald Koeman’s men have been able to fully focus on the Premier League in the absence of European football and with only one loss in their last seven in the Premier League, it seems they are capitalising on that.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P10 – W3 – D5 – L2

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A 1-1 draw at Liverpool last week was followed by a 2-1 League Cup win over Aston Villa on Wednesday and they look to be in good shape.

Bournemouth approach the derby in a rut having lost 5-1 in each of their last two league games to Manchester City and Tottenham. They then fell 1-0 to Liverpool in midweek League Cup action.

They have lost their last three against the Saints and have never won at St Mary’s.

Bournemouth’s Premier League record: P10 – W2 – D2 – L6

With one win in their last seven Premier League games, it’s tough to see the Cherries picking up any points here. Injuries to Max Gradel and Callum Wilson have hurt the club’s chances of survival but they mustn’t let their heads drop.

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Team News

Southampton will be without long-term absentees Fraser Forster and Florin Gardos through knee injuries. Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez are expected to also be on the sidelines as they struggle to shake off knocks. Sadio Mane is facing a suspension following last weekend’s red card at Anfield.

Bournemouth are missing Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Callum Wilson through long-term knee injuries as all three are expected to miss the rest of this season. Tommy Elphick is out until December with an ankle injury.

Key Points

Southampton’s last five in the Premier League: L/W/W/D/D

Bournemouth’s last five in the Premier League: W/L/D/L/L

Key Stat: Bournemouth have never won away at Southampton.

Key Player: Graziano Pelle – The powerful Italian has been sensational early on this season and the goals keep on coming. Expect him to get amongst the goals at the weekend against a fragile Bournemouth defence.

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Score Prediction

Southampton 2-1 Bournemouth – The South Coast derby should be quite a spectacle but it should result in a home win for the Saints. Bournemouth are coming off back-to-back 5-1 defeats and the Saints should take advantage.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Liverpool vs Southampton

Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Southampton 

Venue: Anfield – Sunday, October 25 – 16:15 GMT (12:15 ET) 

Match Odds: Liverpool 1/1 – Draw 13/5 – Southampton 13/5

Match Preview

Liverpool host Southampton in a key Premier League fixture on Sunday afternoon with both sides looking to climb the table.

Liverpool have started life under Jurgen Klopp with two draws in a week. A solid 0-0 at Spurs last week was followed by a more disappointing 1-1 with Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday.

Klopp will hope his side don’t suffer from their European commitments here as he will be hoping to see the Reds leapfrog the Saints with a first win in his debut Premier League game at Anfield.

Liverpool’s Premier League record: P9 – W3 – D4 – L2

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Southampton come into the game unbeaten in their last three league games. A 3-1 win at Chelsea in their last away game will have fueled the players with confidence ahead of this one.

They drew 2-2 with Leicester last weekend but will be confident of picking up at least a point after already impressing against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Southampton’s Premier League record: P9 – W3 – D4 – L2

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Liverpool have won the last three meetings between the two sides, scoring at least twice in each match. The most recent clash ended 2-0 to Liverpool in February in a game that will be remembered for Philippe Coutinho’s stunning long-range strike.

Team News

Liverpool will still be without Jordan Henderson, Jordan Rossiter, Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez and Danny Ings. Daniel Sturridge is a doubt along with former Saints defender Dejan Lovren. Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino are back in contention and could start in Klopp’s first home league game.

Southampton have three injury worries coming into the game as Fraser Forster, Florin Gardos and Shane Long remain out. Jordy Clasie made his debut last weekend but may have to settle for a place on the bench here.

Key Points

Liverpool’s last five: L/D/W/D/D

Southampton’s last five: D/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: There hasn’t been a draw between these two sides since January 2002 – a run of 13 games has followed, with Liverpool winning eight of them.

Key Player: Graziano Pelle – The powerful Saints forward has three goals and two assists combined against Chelsea and Manchester United this season. Expect him to threaten another big side on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Liverpool 1-1 Southampton – This is another stiff test for Jurgen Klopp. Southampton are well organised and have impressed against the top sides already this season. Expect a close one with a score draw the most likely result in our books.