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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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.

Embed from Getty Images

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?

Advertisements

Arsenal legend reveals why Chelsea will NOT beat his former side

Arsenal host Chelsea in the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend and if they lose Jose Mourinho’s side will be just three points away from securing the title. But former Arsenal star, Paul Merson, believes Diego Costa’s absence will stop Chelsea beating the Gunners at the Emirates on Sunday.

Chelsea have somewhat struggled offensively without their Spanish goal-machine, who has bagged an impressive 19 Premier League goals in his debut campaign, and he will miss this weekend’s game through injury again.

The West London side have scored just twice since Costa’s latest hamstring problem forced him off in their 2-1 win over Southampton earlier this month.

Embed from Getty Images

Since his omission from the side they have won two out of two, producing strong defensive displays to win 1-0 against both Queens Park Rangers and Manchester United, but looked lacklustre in front of goal in both games.

Mourinho has set his sides out to be very astute defensively but Paul Merson believes Chelsea will not have what it takes to beat Arsenal at the Emirates, according to The Express.

“If Costa’s fit it’s a different game, but if he’s not fit I can’t see any goals,” the former Arsenal man said.

“Last week, Chelsea had 30 per cent of the play at home but Man Utd never looked like scoring.”

Merson expects another defensive display from Chelsea as they look to extend their unbeaten run in the league and take another huge step towards the title.

Embed from Getty Images

“I think Mourinho will go there, make sure they don’t lose, and that will be it.”

Eden Hazard’s strike against United was enough to secure all three points for Chelsea last weekend and he will be the main goal threat once again on Sunday.

Loic Remy remains sidelined and Didier Drogba is facing a late fitness test due to an ankle problem, so Chelsea could actually start without a recognised forward.

Will Chelsea’s lack of attacking options cost them the game against Arsenal on Sunday?

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester United

Competition: Premier League – Chelsea vs. Manchester United 

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Saturday, April 18th – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)

Match Odds: Chelsea 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Manchester United 11/4

Match Preview

Chelsea host Manchester United on Saturday evening in the standout fixture in the Premier League this weekend as they look to take one more step towards their first title since 2010.

The Blues endured a tough game last weekend against Queens Park Rangers, stealing all three points in the final knockings of the game through Cesc Fabregas, and are still seven points clear at the top of the table.

Manchester United will be absolutely buzzing ahead of this one though, and will be full of confidence after their demolition of rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford last Sunday.

Embed from Getty Images

Louis Van Gaal’s team are coming good and things are really kicking into place as they have won six on the bounce as things certainly look to be back on the up for United.

United are probably one of the last teams Chelsea will want to face at this stage of the season and this is a must win for Jose Mourinho ahead of the following week’s game against title rivals, Arsenal, at the Emirates.

The earlier meeting in the season between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw and United haven’t beaten Chelsea at Stamford Bridge since 2012.

Embed from Getty Images

Van Gaal’s side are in fine form though and this is the strongest United side to face Chelsea since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

This could be a pivotal game in the race for the title and Mourinho will not want to give the chasing pack any hope that his side can be caught.

Team News

Chelsea will be without goal-machine, Diego Costa, who also missed out in the reverse fixture, but Loic Remy could return after missing out last weekend too. Those are Chelsea’s only two injury concerns as the squad is in good shape. Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic will need to be on high-alert once again after escaping last weekend without a yellow card. If either of the midfielders picks one up here they will miss the clash with Arsenal the following week.

Embed from Getty Images

Manchester United have just three injury concerns to Michael Carrick, Robin van Persie and Luke Shaw to deal with, but all three players could be set to return to the squad this weekend. Jonny Evans remains banned and we can expect a key performance from former Chelsea man, Juan Mata. The Spaniard has hit fine form and is scoring important goals, and he will have a point to prove against his former employers.

Key Points

Chelsea’s last five: W/D/W/W/W

Manchester United’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 16 home league matches at Stamford Bridge and it will take a lot for United to end that run on Sunday afternoon.

Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Juan Mata – United’s player of the moment is on fire, scoring in their wins over Liverpool and Manchester City as he looks to be back to his very best and Chelsea could be on the receiving end of his supreme talent this weekend.

Score Prediction

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United – Chelsea to just edge over the line once again as they have done so many times this season. Mourinho will want a tidy and tight performance from his side but the United machine is moving at full pace, so they will be very hard to stop.