‘They do not have the firepower’ – Jermaine Jenas tips one team to struggle in top-four battle
Former Premier League footballer Jermaine Jenas believes Chelsea could struggle to mount a challenge for a top-four spot in this coming season because their attack lacks the firepower to replace the void of Eden Hazard and seal a Champions League place.
Making his predictions for the year ahead for BBC Sport upon the closing of the transfer window, Jenas feels that Chelsea and Manchester United enter the campaign as prime candidates to fill the Europa League places come May – though did not discount the threat of those below to stage an assault on the current top six.
He said: “Hazard won games on his own last year. You would think that people like Pedro, Willian and the rest will step up, and Christian Pulisic should do well. Their midfield will dictate a lot of games, but when you look at their strikers – Olivier Giroud, Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi – they do not have the firepower they need.
“United and Chelsea are the weaker of the top six teams. If you look at Everton, Wolves and Leicester, they are all pulling in the right direction, have got good teams, and can play well home and away. I think they will really put a challenge into the top six this year – I am looking forward to seeing them doing that.”
Chelsea may have to find new ways to win without talisman Hazard, but their frontline is not necessarily as impotent as Jenas makes out.
Giroud top-scored in the Europa League last year and was only afforded seven league starts by Maurizio Sarri, while 21-year-old Abraham finished only second to Norwich’s Teemu Pukki in the Championship scoring charts.
So there is plenty of pedigree in the Chelsea attack alone to suggest success can be bred at Stamford Bridge this season – which may make Jenas’ theory look a little misguided.
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