Should Reece James have been given the opportunity to score a third goal, and who should be taking penalties in future as Tuchel wants his attackers to be scoring more goals?
This is coming after Chelsea won comfortably over Newcastle last weekend.
After a dull first half, Chelsea eventually wore down a somewhat resilient Newcastle team through an outstanding weak-footed finish from Reece James to go 1-0 up. From there, the flood gates opened and a second Reece James goal all but compounded Newcastle’s fate.
Shortly after, Kai Havertz was brought down in the box and a penalty was awarded to Chelsea. At this point, a debate broke out on social media as to who should take this penalty. Considering Reece James was on for a hat-trick, some wanted Jorginho to hand the opportunity over to James who, hopefully, would have secured all three points with all three goals.
This, however, did not happen. Jorginho opted to take the penalty and dispatched with the consistent precision we have all come to expect of him as would have Frank Lampard or Eden Hazard in the past. Nonetheless, the debate raged on, eventually evolving into who should be the regular penalty taker for Chelsea, if and when everyone is back to full fitness.
Based on Chelsea’s victory over Newcastle, I think it is of little importance who took the penalty. Jorginho, as Captain and normal penalty taker, is well within his rights to take the penalty, which he did. On the other hand, I understand why there was a reasonably large demand for Reece James to take it in order to complete his hat-trick.
Without wanting to dodge the bullet entirely, Reece James, in a way, did get a hat-trick. As a defender, even an attacking wing-back who would have spent the majority of his afternoon in the Newcastle half, a clean sheet is always the priority. Coming away from that game with two exceptional goals and a clean sheet is, in a roundabout way, a hat-trick of sorts.
I am of the belief that the striker should typically be taking penalties, especially a striker who cost the fee that Romelu Lukaku did. Lukaku has been the penalty taker for various clubs he has played for as well as for his national team, and the difference between 17 non-penalty goals in a league season, and 21 league goals including penalties is fairly substantial.
Not just numerically, although topping 20 goals in the Premier League would be exactly what Chelsea expected from Lukaku, but psychologically as well. A penalty is one of the highest quality chances you get in football, and scoring one is always going to boost confidence.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of the Newcastle game, Thomas Tuchel explained that:
“Now we have to compensate for the loss from Romelu and Timo.”
“We did score before with different goal scorers. In the end, we hope it will not be Jorgi at the end of the season as our top scorer! Not again! We like him a lot, no offence to him but we hope our main guys and our strikers are the guys who score regularly and we can provide and create chances for them.”
Despite his obvious qualities as a penalty taker, including breaking a Premier League record, becoming the first player to score 10 consecutive penalties in the league, it would seem as though Thomas Tuchel wants his attackers to be scoring at every opportunity.
Jorginho’s role is not to score goals, they are a welcome bonus due to his penalty-taking qualities. The attack, specifically Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku, is in need of some sort of psychological boost, especially as both will be coming back from injuries.
In future, it is, and always has been, my preference that the attackers take penalties, as it provides them with the psychological boost both they and the squad need whilst adding to their goal tally which essentially helps to vindicate their moves and price tags.
Regardless, the debate over Jorginho or Reece James as to who should have taken the penalty against Newcastle was blown out of proportion at the moment but quickly fizzled out. It will be interesting to see if Tuchel sticks to his plan of wanting his attackers to be top scorers or whether he lets Jorginho continue to take penalties, which he does so excellently.