Radamel Falcao was revered as one of the most lethal strikers in world football before he joined Manchester United on loan at the beginning of last season. His shot conversion ratio was 25.5 percent, one of the best in the world whilst he scored a goal every 116 minutes. An impressive statistic.
So his shocking return of just four goals in 26 appearances left everyone bewildered and the decision was taken not to make the deal a permanent one. Chelsea have since taken him up on another loan deal in the hope he can have better fortune in London.
So why did it go so wrong at Manchester United and why will it improve at Chelsea?
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All of Manchester United's strikers failed to produce seasons of note while Falcao was on the books, which seemingly made it more difficult for the Colombian to settle effectively at Old Trafford.
In 27 league appearances last season Robin van Persie managed just ten goals whilst club captain Wayne Rooney scored just 12 goals in 33 league appearances. This placed additional pressure on Falcao to produce the goods, which proved to be to his detriment.
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The midfield provided little for Falcao to work with.
Sloppy through balls, over hit passes and balls played behind him caused endless issues that transpired to be a nightmare for any great goal scorer. Rarely did Falcao get anything to run onto or receive the ball to feet, meaning he was unable to play to his strengths.
Falcao also had to track back in certain areas when others were not performing their duties and lacked any real back up when he was faced with a number of defenders ahead of him. This was partly down to the one striker formation the manager had adopted but also lack of support from Falcao’s colleagues when he was on the attack.
Now Falcao is donning the famous blue jersey, which will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many Manchester United fans, especially if he helps them retain the title. There are some key features which could help him do so.
GOOD SUPPLY AND SUPPORT
This time out, he will be working with Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, a formidable creative duo in support. Add to that the units in the form of Nemanja Matić and Ramires, who will assist Falcao when he has the back four to go up against, and he has adequate cover to create and finish chances.
Diego Costa, love him or hate him, is the man who scores goals like they're going out of fashion. He will be the perfect accompaniment to Radamel Falcao when the going might get tough again.
If goals are not flowing, Costa will be firing, giving Falcao a lift that he can try new things to get his goalscoring touch back. At Manchester United last season, chances were not as forthcoming as they were in previous years ,whereas Chelsea will provide an abundance of opportunities needed to win the game, which will fall to either Falcao or the aforementioned Costa.
The charismatic manager gets the best out of his players and I have no doubt the same will apply to Falcao. Mourinho is quoted by The Mirror as saying to South America TV that if he could help Falcao reach his level again, ‘I will do it.’
Most people would want to see Falcao do well at Chelsea after his turbulent spell at Old Trafford and the pressure is on Mourinho to revive this once great striker.
Will Falcao be a success at Chelsea? Let us know below!