Chelsea: The Defensive Conundrum

With Chelsea’s great start to the season and the fantastic attacking displays of the likes of Hazard and Mata, it’s inevitable that some ‘muppet’ such as myself will bore on about the defence.

Chelsea’s three main centre backs consist of John Terry, Gary Cahill and David Luiz. My preference for the centre back partnership would be John Terry and Gary Cahill. However, injuries and off-field incidents will mean that Luiz will partner Cahill in future games.

Personally, I believe that David Luiz would be more effective in a holding midfield role. His positional play is lacking and he has been exposed several times this season. This breeds a sense of nervousness to the rest of the back four and causes problems. Tackling is not the Brazilians strongest quality either. He has been guilty of going off his feet and making rash challenges. I would question his temperament; opposition players have been able to wind him up leading to such mentioned rash tackles in retaliation.

Gary Cahill is good with the ball at his feet, can pass it well out of defence, is great in the air in both boxes and chips in with goals every so often; a more solid, reliable option albeit with less interesting hair than his Brazilian team mate.

John Terry is the leader of this Chelsea team and his presence is missed when he is not playing. He organises his back four and is a great communicator. However, he does lack pace, this is where Cahill’s pace helps the former England skipper out.

Ivanovic is another central defensive option should injuries occur and arguably a more reliable at the back than Luiz. However, Chelsea would miss his dynamic play on the right flank where he has also contributed with a few goals.

The importance of Mikel or Ramires to protect their defence is key. They need to keep hold of possession and nick the ball back off the opposition when they don’t have it. Mikel was guilty of not doing this early on in the season but recently he has been assured on the ball and been more authoritative.

Chelsea’s more attacking philosophy this season will ultimately lead to them leaking a few more goals and the European Champions seem quite limited in terms of defensive options. This is definitely an area that Di Matteo may wish to strengthen in January.

No doubt the new attitude at Stamford Bridge is that ‘attack is the best form of defence’. Despite this Di Matteo will want to find the right balance to maintain a title challenge this season.


Written by Khiam Barry

Follow him on Twitter @KhiThePie

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