Chelsea blew the chance to open up a nine-point gap over their London rivals Arsenal in the race for Champions League qualification following a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates in their last Premier League outing.
The fourth-placed Blues now sit just three points above Unai Emery’s men, as well as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s rejuvenated Manchester United side, heading into a now very important clash versus Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Wednesday.
Maurizio Sarri, however, has been given a huge boost thanks to the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain, and the Italian will now be hoping the 31-year-old can have the sort of impact Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had when he joined Arsenal around this time last year.
Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud’s struggles in front of goal meant sooner or later, Chelsea would have to act. And they have done just that by taking over AC Milan’s loan of Juventus owned striker, Gonzalo Higuain.
£45m-rated (via Transfermarkt) Higuain did not enjoy the best of times at the San Siro, prompting him into pursuing a quick change in scenery and reunion with Sarri.
The two, of course, worked with each other at Napoli, enjoying a strong relationship that helped Higuain break the record for most goals in a Serie A season (via ESPN) with the Argentine finding the back of the net on an incredible 36 occasions during the 2015/16 campaign.
It remains to be seen whether Higuain can produce anything close to those figures in England, especially considering his recent form. But rarely does a No.9 lose his finishing ability, while working under Sarri again in a system that got the best out of him should help the Argentina international return somewhere close to his best.
TT Grade: A-
Like Higuain, Aubameyang was a big-name striker who arrived in the Premier League during a January transfer window.
The 29-year-old joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund last year and has since justified the club’s decision to bring him to the Emirates for huge money.
He scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League appearances before the 14 in 23 he has managed this season (via Premier League), the sort of figures Sarri will be praying for Higuain to deliver.
Ultimately, Aubameyang has been a superb addition to Arsenal’s squad and has made them so much more dangerous going forward with his pace and runs in behind, on top of his finishing.
Alongside the likes of Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane, the Gabon international is firmly one of the leading No.9s in the country.
TT Grade: A
Aubameyang is the striker Higuain needs to look to and the striker Chelsea need their new man to be.
The ex-Dortmund player’s instant impact in the Premier League is what Sarri requires from his new centre-forward if the Blues are to secure Champions League qualification come May.
With things so tight near the top, their toothless displays in front of goal can simply not go on any longer.
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