From Forgotten Man to Campaign Hero, An American Perspective on Loic Remy
Amongst all the transfer dealings that Chelsea conducted this summer, it is easy to forget about the last minute addition of Loic Remy....
Amongst all the transfer dealings that Chelsea conducted this summer, it is easy to forget about the last minute addition of Loic Remy. With Costa leading the league in goals, Fabregas being the man to pull the strings, and Luis making strong contributions at left back, Remy has become somewhat of a forgotten man at Stamford Bridge. Remy was a last minute signing and even Jose had expressed that he wasn’t planning on bringing him in, until Torres decided to exit. Jose said, “Remy was almost in the last day, but that was just a consequence of Fernando leaving, a reaction to an unexpected situation.” However, Jose would go on to back his new striker, saying he was “perfect for Chelsea.” Those are strong words for a manager that doesn’t give out compliments often, especially for players he hasn’t worked with yet. Has Remy lived up to his manager’s praise, and will he continue to justify his price tag?
The answer to this question is simple, yes. Remy has more than justified his signing. The Blues needed to sign a striker, a reliable scorer, a hard worker, and someone who would be content to playing second fiddle to Diego Costa. Remy has proven he can do all of these things. Chelsea has needed to survive without Costa on several occasions this campaign as a result of injury or suspension. Every time that Remy has been called upon, he has not disappointed. He scored big goals for the Blues this season, most notably his goal against Manchester City, which proved to be the only goal of the game for the Blues. Remy has shown that he can lead the line for the Blues in Costa’s absence and not only be a placeholder, but be effective. Remy adds a different dimension to the Blues attack. Where Costa bullies defenders, gets on the last man and looks to score his goals in the box, Remy is different. He tracks back to receive the ball lower on the pitch a lot more often. He often makes decisive runs to the outside, opening up the middle for Hazard and Willian. Remy tends to have more speed than Costa and when he drives past opponents, it is tough to keep up with him. However, Remy also has certain traits that him and Costa have in common. He has been shown to be a strong striker, bullying his way forward at times. For his goal against Tottenham in Chelsea’s 3-0 victory, Remy proved to be stronger than Jan Vertonghen who could not stick with the Frenchman. He has demonstrated that he is more than effective when called on, which will be vital as the campaign winds down.
If you are a Chelsea fan, you know that Jose Mourinho is far from the typical manager. He uses tactics that no one else would pick, strategizes for every different situation, and is always looking to challenge his players. Having a deputy like Remy is essential to Mourinho. While there is no doubt that Costa is Chelsea’s number one striker, there is a case that Remy has much to offer in the latter stages of the Champions League, along with the BPL campaign. With the amount of games that Chelsea will play on the business end of the season, there will come opportunities for “second string” players, just ask Demba Ba. Demba Ba got several chances towards the end of the Blues campaign last season, and like Ba, Remy should take them. However, what Remy brings to the table that Ba didn’t, is his speed for one, and his ability to play on the wing. Over the winter, Chelsea removed two wingers from their squad, and only brought in one. This leaves a backup spot for winger available. Remy is even more valuable for Mourinho because of his ability to play in this position as well. Another thing the Frenchman adds to the team is height. Last season, when Chelsea were desperate to find a goal against PSG, Mourinho threw all three strikers on the pitch, and essentially played long balls hoping to find a headed goal. While Ba scored with his feet, there is no doubt that he was in their because of his size. Remy has height and the ability to win headers. If this situation becomes apparent, Mourinho will be able to call on Remy, especially given the height of his wingers and most of his midfielders in general.
Overall, I can guarantee that Remy will have a part to play towards the end of the season. He is simply too good and provides Chelsea with too much of a different look to not get his chance. I am also confident that when called upon, Remy will take his chances. He has worked his way into Mourinho’s plans, along with the French national team. Remy has fought his way into a stacked Chelsea side, all the way from the likes of QPR and Marseille. As fans we should get behind the idea of Remy playing a big role for us, because as much as we hate to admit it, Costa can be injury prone. It is a long season, filled with uncertainty, controversy and plenty of decisions to be made. We have not seen all of Remy this season, and when it matters most, I am backing the Frenchman to deliver.
For more from Tyler Strauss, follow him on Twitter: @tyler_strauss_