Chelsea will not finish top of the table if Reece James is still the club’s top goalscorer at the end of the season, according to Paul Merson.
The Sky Sports pundit was effusive in his praise of the 21-year-old, who he believes can become the best right-back in the country, but he says the Blues’ title hopes hinge on other players stepping up to score goals:
“Reece James is becoming a superstar and he is already Chelsea’s top scorer this season. But if he’s top scorer by the end of the season they are not winning the league – because to do that you need a striker banging in the goals.”
James has scored four goals and provided four assists in nine league appearances for Chelsea so far this campaign, which is an extremely impressive return.
However, Merson is adamant that for Thomas Tuchel’s side to finish ahead of the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, it will require Romelu Lukaku to score at least 20 between now and May:
“It’s Romelu Lukaku they need to score the goals. Title-winning teams need a striker scoring 20 goals a season. If Lukaku doesn’t do that he’s been a major flop. But he will get chances when he’s back fit, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t score goals.”
It’s a pretty fair observation from Merson. You can’t be relying on your wingbacks to score all your goals, and Chelsea’s title ambitions do rest with the signing of Lukaku coming good.