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The defensive backbones - Chelsea's 4 CBs

The Frank Lampard revolution is still at a novice stage but the signs of what’s yet to come can easily push one to the edge of their se...



The Frank Lampard revolution is still at a novice stage but the signs of what’s yet to come can easily push one to the edge of their seat. With some exciting attacking football, Chelsea sits 4th in the Premier League Table and is competing for the FA cup and the Champions League trophy. Frank has put unflinching trust in the worthy youth of the squad which is pleasing to watch for every blues fan around the globe. 

Although, the journey so far hasn’t been all that smooth and it is the defensive phase of the game that has drawn most of the flak so far. Frank has been criticized for the way he sets up his team to defend the ball when not in position. Once the formidable first line of high-intensity pressing is broken past, Chelsea’s backline seems to lack the compactness and becomes susceptible to counter-attacks. Other teams in the Premier League that use this system of a high line press usually keep only a calculated space between their defense, midfield and attacking lines. 

Chelsea has failed to keep the goals conceded figure under control this season. A major reason behind this is very technical. Often the defenders are found out of position which creates a delectable opportunity for the opposition to reap the benefit. Maintaining shorter distances between players has been a constant challenge for the defenders which results in creating pockets of spaces for the opposition both vertically and horizontally. Individual errors have also been common where the players have failed to make that important interception or have been beaten in a 1v1 situation. 

The onus of defending the last ball heavily falls down on the shoulders of the center-backs in such a situation and often it has been the brilliance of our four center-backs that have kept us in the game. Let us have a look at how Antonio Rüdiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have faired so far this season.

Antonio Rüdiger
Antonio Rüdiger has been our most reliable defender since the last couple of seasons. Rüdiger is a strong, physical defender who doesn’t shy away from getting his face in the dirt. He is also very athletic and can cover long distances in a very short time. He becomes suitable for Frank Lampard’s system of building the game from the back as he is very comfortable with the ball in his feet. 
Being side-lined due to an injury for the start of the season, Rüdiger has managed to play a total of 1395 minutes this season. The number of goals conceded by Chelsea when he is on the pitch this season is 17 and the goals conceded when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 1.10. The expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch is 12.0 while the expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 0.77. Rüdiger has attempted a total of 998 passes and completed 863 passes out of them at an 86.5% success rate. Average points won by Chelsea when Rüdiger has played is 2.00. He has scored 2 goals but has registered 0 assists to his name. He has won a total of 17 tackles while managing 10 interceptions, getting 3 yellow cards in the process. Players have been able to dribble past him 5 times this season and have tackled 82.9% dribbles against him.

Andreas Christensen
Andreas Christensen has been deemed as the next John Terry of Chelsea. He is seen as the future captain with physical traits very similar to those of Terry. Antonio Conte went on to praise him by saying that he has great maturity given his young age. His composure under pressure is the highlight of his game. He is very good at reading the game and makes clean challenges and timely clearances. 
He is more comfortable playing as the last man in the defensive set up marshaling his defense line. Christensen has played a total of 1702 minutes this season. The number of goals conceded by Chelsea when he is on the pitch this season is 31 and the goals conceded when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 1.64. The expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch is 21.3 while the expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 1.13. Christensen has attempted a total of 932 passes and completed 864 passes out of them at a staggering 92.7% success rate. Average points won by Chelsea when Christensen has played is 1.30. He has scored 0 goals and has registered 0 assists to his name. He has won a total of 21 tackles while managing 27 interceptions, receiving 5 yellow cards in the process. He has been dribbled past 10 times this season and has tackled 80.0% dribbles against him.

Kurt Zouma
Kurt Zouma is a pure no-nonsense player. He is noted to have exceptional power and technique. His strength is his star quality. He is very good in physical situations against strong opponents His aerial prowess has drawn a lot of praise, being very good at winning headers both defensively and in the opposition box. He is deemed as the ultimate traditional defender for his speed, jump, strength, and tackling. Although his occasional lapses in concentration stop him from being the best defender in the world. Often, he finds himself caught out of position or making a wrong pass, giving the opposition a golden opportunity to score a goal. Zouma has played 2806 minutes this season. The number of goals conceded by Chelsea when he is on the pitch this season is 41 and the goals conceded when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 1.31. The expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch is 24.7 while the expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 0.79. Zouma has attempted a total of 1805 passes and completed 1608 passes out of them at an 89.1% success rate. The average points won by Chelsea when Zouma has played is 1.70. He has scored 1 goal and has registered 1 assist this season. He has won a total of 19 tackles while winning 55 interceptions while getting 8 yellow cards. 5 times he has been dribbled past this season and he has tackled 87.8% dribbles against him.

Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori is one of the flag-bearers of the La Masia of Cobham. Chelsea’s youth setup is finally getting its due recognition all thanks to Frank Lampard. Lampard had entrusted Tomori with defensive duties last season also when he was managing Derby County, where he was the Player of the Season for 2018-19. Tomori has been often been deployed in crucial matches, like in the match against AFC Ajax where we drew 4-4 to solidify our position in the group to earn a Champions League qualification to the round of 16. Tomori has managed to play a total of 1868 minutes this season. The number of goals conceded by Chelsea when he is on the pitch this season is 26 and the goals conceded when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 1.25. The expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch is 17.3 while the expected goals allowed when he’s on the pitch per 90 minutes is 0.83. Tomori has attempted a total of 1354 passes and completed 1203 passes out of them at 88.8% success rate. The average points won by Chelsea when Tomori has played are 1.91.  He has scored 2 goals and has registered just 1 assist to his name. He has won a total of 27 tackles while managing 29 interceptions, getting 4 yellow cards in the process. Players have been able to dribble past him 9 times this season and have tackled 83.6% dribbles against him.



Written by: Supratik Das
Twitter: @Supratik_Das

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