With Chelsea on the rise and showing great fight to equalise late on against Manchester United, the future is looking a lot brighter at Stamford Bridge. One of the club’s biggest statements of intent has proven the surprising but equally appetising capture of Alexandre Pato.
The ex-AC Milan forward has spent the past four years laying low in Brazilian football but has made his long awaited return to Europe this winter. Whilst his ability to perform in the Premier League is yet to be seen, he may prove a very useful asset for the Blues.
Diego Costa remains Guus Hiddink’s number one forward and it will prove extremely difficult for Pato to alter this. However, the Brazilian could in fact be the Dutchman’s super-sub.
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The role of a ‘super-sub’ is very particular in football and usually centres around a forward who has an uncanny knack of scoring when being deployed late on. If a team needs a goal in the dying minutes, this is often the man to whom a manager will turn.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer perhaps proves the most famous case of a striker who mastered the art of making a late impact from the bench. This is exemplified by his late winner in the 1999 Champions League final and when the Norwegian scored four times as a substitute against Nottingham Forest in the same year.
A more modern example lies with Edin Dzeko who showed during his Manchester City tenure that he seemed more accustomed scoring from the bench than when given the nod to start.
This may prove the role of Pato at Chelsea this season and it would certainly suit him well. With deft finishing and unrivalled pace, the Brazilian is the perfect forward to exploit fatigued defenders when he still possesses oodles of energy.
Costa simply cannot be dropped, after all, his form under Hiddink has been imperious. However, his new colleague could prove the man to kill off games when the opposition are flagging.
Furthermore, Pato would prove incredibly useful off the bench in similar scenarios to the Manchester United tie. If Chelsea seek a late goal, the 26-year-old could provide this or at least make a stronger impact than Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao have this campaign.
Pato’s post at Chelsea remains unknown but in a season where the Blues are crying out for goals, they now own a lethal poacher. Costa proves the blunt weapon whereas his new teammate offers the surgical six yard box execution.
Besides, the Blues can’t be fussy with how they bag results at the moment and in Pato they possess a fine finisher who can get the job done when opposition legs are tiring.
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