Chelsea's striker conundrum - Gonzalo Higuain is the latest victim

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Physically strong, intimidating forwards have succeeded at Chelsea but Sarri-ball demands a different solution to Chelsea's striker problem...

Chelsea fans are so used to seeing the intimidating figures of Didier Drogba and Diego Costa leading the line and the follow-up acts have simply failed to match their expectations.

The likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Drogba and Costa exuded self-confidence and were feared by opposing centre-backs and it has been that fear factor that the Blues have lacked since the infamous departure of Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid.

Fernando Torres miserably failed to replace Drogba at Chelsea and the story was not too dissimilar when Alvaro Morata attempted to cement the striker's place in the first team, first under Antonio Conte and then Maurizio Sarri.

Morata, who joined Chelsea from Real Madrid seeking first team minutes, scored 16 goals from 47 appearances but it wasn't enough to free himself from the strikers' curse at Chelsea. January recruit Gonzalo Higuain's arrived with the promise of having already thrived under Sarri, playing 'Sarri-ball' at Napoli but the Argentine is the latest victim of the centre-forward conundrum at Chelsea.

Gonzalo Higuain Chelsea 2019

The summer of 2018 saw Sarri appointed as head coach as the club sought a change in the style of play from the defensive, counter-attacking football deployed under previous coaches such as Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte. After Pep Guardiola's title-winning revolution at Manchester City, Sarri's appointment made sense but several issues in the squad remained unsolved.

Higuain has only scored three goals in nine appearances and his overall forward play has been sub-par. He has looked sluggish it will be a huge concern for the coach with the team competing for a spot in the Champions League.

Olivier Giroud has been second-choice all season and has been underutilized by Sarri, who has stubbornly stuck to his football philosophy regardless of the results. Eden Hazard also has had to take up the responsibility of leading the line but the 'false nine' experiment has rarely worked with the Belgian. It is clear that the team needs more time to fully adapt to Sarri's style and that is one thing that the club has not granted to their managers.

Didier Drogba

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Sarri's Chelsea intend to keep the ball and move forward using one or two-touch, intricate passing combinations, right from the goalkeeper to the striker. To efficiently play Sarri-ball, the Blues need a striker who is good with the ball at his feet, can exploit spaces and run in behind the opposition's defence - traits that Higuain has. However, his age and fitness levels are biggest concerns as the Argentine has not been at his best.

Chelsea will be looking to claim a European spot by winning the UEFA Europa League this season and a win against Dynamo Kiev will be a step in the right direction. But as tougher tests await, Gonzalo Higuain needs to step up and regain his lost mojo once again.