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Tiemoue Bakayoko seems to have split the Chelsea supporters into two sets – one that thinks he should be allowed more time while the other set that believes they could have signed somebody better. Bakayoko has not made the strongest of starts at the Stamford Bridge club. More than anything else, he has been plagued by inconsistency and that did not bode well for some of the Blues fans.
It is a bit unfair if you think about it. Bakayoko arrived from AS Monaco for £40m and life is different in the Ligue 1 when compared to the highly-competitive English Premier League and it is natural for a player to take some time to settle in. The 23-year-old brings a lot of physicality and skill to the side in general. He started off on a strong note in the opening day defeat against Burnley and seemed quite impressive. However, most of his good fortune can be attributed to the support he received from N’golo Kante.
In fact, we all got to see what he is truly capable of when Chelsea beat Stoke City 4-0 in September. Since then though, things have been going downhill for the player. The Blues were in a bit of a sticky situation due to their list of injuries. Kante – arguably Chelsea’s most influential midfielder, was out, while Danny Drinkwater was struggling with a calf problem. Compared to Kante, Cesc Fabregas is somewhat lacking, especially when it comes to defensive contribution and Bakayoko was unable to partner him effectively.
Subsequently, Bakakyoko picked up an injury and that stunted his progress as well. All these factors have contributed to his lack of impact on the field and there seems to be an underlying reason as to why some fans and critics are so frustrated with him. Nemanja Matic’s presence is being missed at Chelsea, even though the Serbian’s lack of pace and limited passing range were criticised at the club. However, now that he has joined Manchester United, Matic has established himself as a key member of Jose Mourinho’s squad and is doing fantastic work for the Red Devils.
Perhaps many people are using that as a benchmark to judge Bakayoko and that is unfair because Matic obviously has more Premier League experience than the former Monaco man.
One must not forget that Bakayoko is quite young and is playing in a foreign league which is touted as the most demanding one in Europe. He may not have taken Chelsea by storm but he has certainly not been all that poor. Moreover, the season is yet to come to an end and maybe judging him based on his performances up until that time would be fair than holding him up to unrealistic expectations.