Michael Owen rips apart Chelsea’s frontline with Premier League title claim

Chelsea: Redknapp slams decision to sack Lampard

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Michael Owen has ripped into Chelsea’s frontline, saying Thomas Tuchel’s side will not be Premier League title contenders until they sign a world-class striker. The former England forward’s comments came as the Blues scraped into the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Championship side Barnsley.

It was three academy talents who combined for Chelsea’s winner against Barnsley on Thursday, with Tammy Abraham scoring a goal created by Billy Gilmour and Reece James.

The Blues spent a fortune on revitalising their attack ahead of this season, signing striker Timo Werner, winger Hakim Ziyech and attacking midfielder Kai Havertz for a combined £160million.

But the trio have combined for just 16 goals in all competitions this season, with Chelsea currently 11 points off the pace in the Premier League and a point outside the Champions League spots.

And Owen says for all the undoubted talent at Tuchel’s disposal, he does not feel the club have had a top-class centre-forward since Didier Drogba left Stamford Bridge in 2015.

MATCH VERDICT: Chelsea trio fail to prove point to Tuchel as academy aces run show

He acknowledged that Abraham and Olivier Giroud are talented strikers, but does not believe they are good enough to turn Chelsea into champions.

“I’ve never felt comfortable with Chelsea’s main centre forwards since Drogba probably,” the former Liverpool and Manchester United striker told Premier League productions.

“I only say that when I’m talking: ‘Are Chelsea going to win the league? Are they real contenders?’ Of course, they’re brilliant players – Giroud’s won the World Cup for goodness sake and is a brilliant player.

“But to win the Premier League you need one of the best strikers in the world and I don’t think Abraham or Giroud are in the top 10 strikers in the world.

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“It’s a department that a lot of managers have tried.

“Even Werner – they keep trying to buy bigger, better strikers. I just don’t think they’ve got it right since and they’ve spent fortunes.

“You mentioned Diego Costa, they bought Fernando Torres at the top of his game, (Alvaro) Morata they spent big money on. They know there’s a problem.

“They get by – it’s not glaringly obvious but if they want to win the league [they must sign a top centre-forward].”

Tuchel’s side will aim to make up ground on the Premier League’s top four when they host Newcastle on Monday night.

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