Soccer NewsSunday 14th January 2018

'Needs to start picking it up' - Pundits single out Chelsea star for criticism as struggles continue

'Needs to start picking it up' - Pundits single out Chelsea star for criticism as struggles continue

It’s fair to say that Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko hasn’t entirely convinced everyone since his summer move from Monaco.

The 23-year-old evidently has the faith of Antonio Conte, as he’s made 30 appearances in all competitions to this point, scoring three goals and providing three assists.

In turn, he has played a pivotal role for the Italian tactician who continues to stick by him, but the criticism from Chelsea supporters has always been there as he hasn’t always been convincing in showing that he’s adapted to the Premier League.

That’s a point launched by Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, while fellow Match of the Day pundit Ian Wright made a similar criticism as he questioned how the French international gets into the starting line-up ahead of other key individuals.

“He’s started 17 of 23 games and there’s a real lack of intensity and drive,” Wright is quoted as saying by The Express. “The fact he’s starting in front of Willian and Pedro is very confusing to me.”

Lampard added: “He’s a bit slow at times – he sticks a leg out. We’re in January now and he needs to start picking it up.

“I think he might be struggling and I think it’s a confidence issue.”

It’s a fair assessment for us of the former Monaco ace, as there are certainly deficiencies in his game that need to be addressed to make him a more formidable and commanding presence in the Chelsea midfield.

With N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas and Danny Drinkwater in direct competition for the same positions, it’s a surprise to see Bakayoko still starting, especially given Chelsea’s recent problems.

The Blues have now been held to three consecutive 0-0 draws, and so something surely has to change from Conte in order to end this barren run and get them back on track.