Chelsea’s Loic Remy, his performance yesterday, and an adaption of style 0

When Chelsea signed Loic Remy at the end of the Summer window, it seemed like a strange move.  The Frenchman is an extremely talented forward, but he was stylistically different to Diego Costa that he seemed an odd choice as a back-up.

Remy does a lot of things very well. He’s an incredibly instinctive goal-scorer and during his time at Newcastle he showed himself to be very efficient at taking chances and that side was always infinitely more dangerous when he was in it.

What he is not, however, is a focal point-type of forward who continually recycles possession or who combines his goal-scoring attribute with more blue-collar qualities.  He’s not associated with pressing intensively in the opposition’s half and his distribution isn’t as intelligent or economic as Diego Costa’s invariably is.

Yesterday was interesting; in a sense, Jose Mourinho asked Remy to do his best impression of the injured Costa, and the Frenchman did a very passable job.  No, Chelsea weren’t at their best and they lacked some of the fluency they’ve exhibited at times this season, but - amongst other factors - that’s the price for fielding an unfamiliar forward line and playing a typically combative opponent.

Here are Remy’s notable graphics from the game, courtesy of Squawka:

Loic Remy: Touches vs Crystal Palace.

Loic Remy: Touches vs Crystal Palace.

Loic Remy: Distribution vs Crystal Palace (85%).

Loic Remy: Distribution vs Crystal Palace (85%).

Not that statistics are everything or that they show a complete picture of a player’s performance, but it’s worth contrasting those graphics with the equivalent ones from his last Newcastle performance - against Cardiff City at St James’ Park in May.

Loic Remy: Touches vs Cardiff (for Newcastle).

Loic Remy: Touches vs Cardiff (for Newcastle).

Loic Remy: Distribution vs Cardiff City (68%).

Loic Remy: Distribution vs Cardiff City (68%).

Yes, Remy spent a lot of his brief Newcastle career as a wide-forward, but during that game with Cardiff he was used nominally as a centre-forward with Shola Ameobi(!) in the wider role.

There are no big declarations here, nor any definitive conclusions about Loic Remy, but his ability to use the ball more economically and play by instruction yesterday was very notable.  Specifically, he was very reliable with the ball in central, congested areas- and those are the parts of the pitch in which you would assume that a player like that, who is very much a conventional rather than a modern, possession-orientated forward, would struggle.

Good for Loic Remy, good coaching job from Jose Mourinho.

 

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