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Pair of ex-players clash over Chelsea spending following Dortmund defeat

The two had very different ideas of what could work for the Blues

Former Premier League pair Owen Hargreaves and Gianfranco Zola have clashed over Chelsea’s recent spending, and more specifically the striker position, in recent days.

Ex-Chelsea star Zola backed Graham Potter to come good despite his tough start to life in west London, and was quick to point out that even without a recognised striker, it is possible to win titles as the Blues struggle to find the back of the net on a regular basis.

You can play and win things without a No 9. Two years ago they won the Champions League and he (Thomas Tuchel) was playing Kai (Havertz), he was playing also (Timo) Werner, and another No 10, sometimes Mason (Mount), sometimes (Hakim) Ziyech or whatever, and they were very successful,’ Zola said.

‘I think you can be successful playing without strikers. Manchester City teaches us a very good lesson in this sense. You can win in different ways.

‘The point is that you (can) play without strikers, but if you do that then you have to create a system where you get those good players in a dangerous area where their abilities can be really, really dangerous.’

Speaking on BT Sport after the defeat in Dortmund, pundit Owen Hargreaves was quick to point out, however, that lacking a striker was precisely what cost them against Borussia Dortmund, where they largely dominated the tie but couldn’t find the back of the net.

However, he did still concede that Chelsea remain in a strong position in the tie, adding ‘I think the tie is far from over. I think Chelsea can easily go to the Bridge and win the game in the second leg, but again Dortmund are a threat we saw that.’

‘They dominated the game in the first half, they had really good possession, they have really good attacking players and look a bit more solid defensively.’

Of course, while this will come as a massive boost to Chelsea, the stark truth of the matter is that to guarantee progression to the next round they will have to score twice in the return leg, something that they have managed to do just once since November.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having been left out of the squad for the competition, there are serious concerns about where either of those goals will come from despite the impressive football that the Blues played in Germany.


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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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