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Do Manchester City have the best strikers in the Premier League?

New Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini is excited about the club’s new strike force. He was asked whether he thought other clubs in the league would be envious of these riches and he said ‘Yes, I think so, it’s very strong…we have four very good strikers and that’s what you need if you play in the Premier League and Champions League as a competitive team’. The new boys Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo will join Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko at the club which now once again has four striker to utilise, a key aspect of their charge to the 2011/12 Premier League title. So, is this the best striking group in the league?

Well, it probably is. Of course, one of the reasons for that is that not many teams are going to be playing with more than one striker at a time which means they don’t need to stockpile them in quite the same way. Only Chelsea could really get in to the discussion over the best group of forwards with City at the moment. Lukaku, Torres, Schurrle and Ba are not far off. In fact, in future, it could become just as good if Lukaku develops as expected. The difference between the two units at the moment is Sergio Aguero. Assuming he can re-find the form that fired City to the title rather than his injury plagued season last time out, he is better than any of the other strikers on the table. At full tilt he is as good as any in the league, including Van Persie and Suarez. By and large, the rest are pretty similar. For the youth of Jovetic see Schurrle. For the power of Dzeko see Lukaku and for the intelligence and work of Negredo see Torres. But it’s Aguero that gives City that extra quality.

Stevan Jovetic

The only other club who boast four strikers that they could start are Man United, but at the moment their group isn’t quite at City’s level. Although van Persie is the best striker in the league, and a fit and in form Wayne Rooney is in the top five, the drop off to Hernandez and Welbeck is much greater than City would suffer if Aguero and his partner were injured.

The big question for City to answer is how they are going to be able to find game time for all these players, but as Pellegrini says, they have two major competitions to try and win, and for that, they will need to keep their forwards fresh. Realistically, Dzeko and Negredo are competing for the same spot as the pivot up front with Aguero and Jovetic in the deeper role with roaming license. Both have the capability to play on the left if needed, although this is a catastrophic waste of Aguero’s talents, it does give them another option.

Last season City’s title defence suffered because of a lack of consistent goal output. They’ve spent over £40m in order to correct that. Now, if one or two of them are struggling for form, they have other quality players to turn to to carry the load. Unlike last season they won’t need to play Aguero in to the ground and they can use Dzeko as an impact sub if that is best for the club. Manuel Pellegrini now has the luxury of a deep forward group which, with the headline act of a back to his best Aguero, looks to be the best in the league.

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Chelsea’s striker dilemma: Who should replace Didier Drogba?

Chelsea’s Champions League success in 2011-12 has given the club a real boost, with Roman Abramovich looking to bolster his squad to challenge on all fronts next term. Despite the enterprise and talent of new midfielders Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Marko Marin, with Didier Drogba’s departure a new top-class striker replacement is needed. But who?

Hulk

Initially the frontrunner to be the Ivorian’s successor, a big-money move from Porto looked all-but sewn up a couple of weeks ago. However negotiations appear to have broken down, and the Portuguese champions’ astronomical fee demands seem to have put a dampener on Chelsea’s early enthusiasm. Although the Brazilian is burly and strong, he tends to drop deep or wide to pick up the ball, and as such may not be the targetman/centre forward the Blues need.

Radamel Falcao

The Colombian marksman has shown his calibre in Europe for both Porto and now Atletico Madrid, with back-to-back Europa League successes a testament to his goalscoring ability. With the Vicente Calderon side missing out on Champions League football for next term, one feels a concerted Chelsea effort could bring the South American to Stamford Bridge.

Edinson Cavani

One of the most predatory finishers in world football, Cavani has been the spearhead for a mightily-impressive San Paolo attack over the last two years, terrorising defences across Italy and into Europe. The Serie A side will not want to sell, but with Juventus also circling and strike partner Ezequiel Lavezzi leaving this summer already, Cavani is by no means unattainable.

Stevan Jovetic

Mobile, skilful and with an eye for goal, the Montenegro international has improved markedly over the last two years in a mediocre Fiorentina side. A move to a bigger club looks almost certain, but whether or not Jovetic is ready to make the switch from a big fish in a small pond to Didier Drogba’s replacement is unclear.

Andre Schurrle

Part of a breed of exciting young German attackers, Schurrle is Bayer Leverkusen’s prize asset and involvement in Joachim Low’s Germany squad at Euro 2012 is no mean feat. The Blues are said to have had a bid already rejected for Schurrle, but with additional pressure the BayArena side could be convinced to sell. However, as gifted as he is, Schurrle’s ability to replace Drogba through the middle is questionable, as his style is different to his potential predecessor.

With Abramovich’s multi-millions ready to be spent, any of these five could be acquired if Chelsea really wanted. However, with a new-look talented team in need of an out-an-out centre forward to score chances, Cavani or Falcao look the most relevant targets.

Published – Soccerlens

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