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|Champions League Special: Gomez & Muller vs Drogba & Mata - Who has the better firepower up front?|
The Champions League final between Chelsea and Bayern Munich has all the makings of an epic, and like every epic plot there are slew of subplots to it. Both these teams boast of world class players on every position, hence the personal battles that these players will have, would decide the fate of this match.
Up front, Chelsea and Bayern will have two of the most physical, and on their day unplayable, forwards. Didier Drogba and Mario Gomez have similar attributes as a player. Both are strong in the air and on the ground, they can hold up play brilliantly and are good finishers as well.
Since both the team line-up in similar formation of 4-2-3-1, the play-maker playing behind the strikers are perhaps the most important component of the team while moving forward. While Juan Mata is a regular starter for Chelsea in that position, Thomas Muller will get his chance to start due to suspensions.
Here is a look at how the duo of Drogba and Mata collate with that of Gomez and Muller.
Didier Drogba v Mario Gomez
As pointed out earlier, there are lot of resemblances between Didier Drogba and Mario Gomez, specially in the physical aspect of the game, but when one compares them statistically some nonuniformity does appear.
Didier Drogba is a far more clinical striker than Gomez. Drogba’s has had an average of 2.9 shots per goal this season compared to 3.6 for Gomez. This also highlights the fact that Bayern have created more opportunities from open pay than there London rivals.
Chelsea has been a very organized defensive unit under Roberto Di Matteo, which was highlighted in the match against Barcelona over two legs. When they don’t have the ball, there defensive line starts from Didier Drogba himself. Defensively Drogba contributes more to the team than Gomez does. Infact Drogba is vital player for Chelsea while defending set pieces. Against Barcelona, there was a time when the Ivory Coast International was playing as a left back. Drogba has made 1.4 clearances per game this season along with a 0.7 interceptions per game, Gomez on the other hand have made only 0.7 clearances per game and an interception average of 0.5. It must be also noted that Bayern are better at retaining possession than Chelsea, hence Gomez is not needed to do much of the defensive work.
Gomez on the other hand is better at retaining possession. The German international has been dispossessed at an average of just 1.4 times per game; Drogba on the other hand has been dispossessed 2.3 timers per game.
We finally arrive to the most important criteria to judge a striker – Goals. Mario Gomez has been in red hot form this season. He has scored 40 goals this season from 48 appearances (in all competition). Drogba on the other hand has suffered from injuries and fatigue throughout the season. The Ivorian has managed 12 goals in 34 appearances this year.
Juan Mata v Thomas Muller
Ever since Di Matteo has arrived at Chelsea, the team has undergone lot of changes tactically. One of those changes is playing Frank Lampard in a deeper role alongside Essien or Mikel, which allows Juan Mata to play in his more favored central position. The Spaniard as been one of the signings of the season, he has made a great impact at the English club.
Thomas Muller on the other hand has had fairly disappointing season by his high standards. Injuries to the squad have forced Jupp Heynckes to play Muller in wide positions, where the German is not naturally suited.
Juan Mata is tactically a far more flexible player than Muller. Though Muller can play in a wide role like Mata, but the Spaniard is far more comfortable doing so. Infact Mata nearly fits in everywhere in the midfield attacking third. Muller on the other hand is most effective centrally.
When one considers all-round ability, Mata is better than Muller. The Spaniard is a better passer of the ball with his pass success rate this season being 86.1%, on the other hand Muller’s stat reads 79.1%.
Where the German excels is his goal scoring ability. Muller is one of the best goal scoring midfielders around; he is clinical. This season though, due to dip in his form and perhaps playing out of his natural position, his goal scoring record is not what is expected of him. He has managed only eight goals this season, compared to Mata’s twelve.
The duo of Drogba and Mata is pretty evenly matched with that of Gomez and Muller, but the Germans have more of a goal scoring threat. Due to the presence of Robben and Ribery on the wings, Mario Gomez is sure to get more quality supply up front than Drogba. Drogba and Mata have to work very hard as Bayern are expected to dominate possession hence they will find limited opportunities to cause damage. Chelsea on the other hand, will have another world class option on the bench in Fernando Torres. The Spaniard will add bring pace and agility if and when required. Overall, Bayern Munich’s forward line looks a far greater threat than Chelsea, while attacking.
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