Chelsea Squad Assessment – Defence

Posted: July 26, 2011 by derekorourke in Chelsea, Defence, English Premier League, Legends, Youth

Following on from yesterday’s post on Chelsea’s goalkeeper situation, instalment two looks at Chelsea’s defence. Largely considered to be Chelsea’s biggest strength; Chelsea’s defence conceded fewest Premier League goals (along with Man City) last season and consists of some big names. Let’s see how we rate:

John Terry:

Captain, Leader, Legend. JT is the epitome of an old fashioned English centre half mixed with talent on the ball and an incredible ability to read the game. He drives the whole team on when the chips are down and for me, was back to his best last season. He has been receiving plenty of bad press (surprise, surprise – press is full of West Ham, Gooners and Spurs fans) but he is looking fit and sharp after shaking off those niggling injuries that plagued him for a couple of years. He has another three or four years at the top and would get into any team in the world.

Rating: 8.5/10

Branislav Ivanovic:

Branner was the Premier League’s best right back last season. Although he would consider himself a centre back by nature I feel he can be a bit too rash at times for this position. He has a tendency to jump in from behind and at times his decision making let him down in that key area. However, as a full back he is very solid and offers a threat going forward, as seen last season when he chipped in with 6 goals. Most of these goals come from set pieces however and he is relatively limited going up the flank. I think this can be a problem for Chelsea’s shape as it allows teams to focus on Chelsea’s left flank to stop the forward runs of Ashley Cole. This for me is a key reason behind Ashley’s quieter season last year in terms of foraying forward and more importantly Malouda’s indifferent form. All in all he is a fine defender and his versatility is a huge plus.

Rating: 7.5/10

Alex:

A beast of a centre half with one of the most powerful shots I’ve ever seen. Alex for me is a world class centre half, when fit. That’s the problem; he never seems to be able to get through more than two or three months without an injury that keeps him out for the next month. Very solid, unbeatable in the air and positionally sound, Alex is calm and a good footballer also, and we all know about his free kicks.

Rating: 8/10

Ashley Cole:

Quite simply the world’s best left back. Defensively excellent as well as having enough energy and attacking ability to overlap and pop up in the oppositions box. If he was Brazilian he would receive more praise but it is widely accepted that there’s nobody better than him. His off the field antics are a little overhyped if you ask me, he’s a good guy who is completely persecuted by the media. World Class.

Rating: 9/10

David Luiz:

A really good player with potential to be a great player. Luiz has the world at his feet. Us Chelsea fans should try not get too carried away and heap too much pressure on him too soon. He had a great first half season in England, bar one or two moments, but his second season will tell a lot. He is very versatile as he can play anywhere across the back four or even in midfield. It has been much heralded that his best position is midfield – I’m not sure how people can make this judgement when we haven’t yet seen him there. He will be an outstanding centre back within a year or two and has the best in the business to learn from in JT. He will rotate with Alex and Ivanovic between centre back and right back this season. Lord Percy Part 2.

Rating: 7.5/10

Jose Bosingwa:

A good attacking full back, Bosingwa has pace and decent skill. However his crossing is not good enough. More importantly as a defender, his defending is poor. He gets caught on the inside a lot and he is weak in the challenge. He has a tendency to get caught dreaming from time to time and unfortunately is no more than a half decent back up. No doubt his injuries haven’t helped him but he never really lived up to his price tag of almost £17m.

Rating: 5.5/10

Paulo Ferreira:

A great servant to Chelsea and a very steady and reliable right back in his prime. Unfortunately that is behind him now but is a good back up player to have as he can play on either side of the back four. He is not a centre half and shouldn’t be judged on his performances there. He lacks in strength but he is positionally good and experienced.

Rating: 6/10

Patrick van Aanholt:

Not one for the future, he is one for the present. I would like to see him get more game time this season and push on. He has a lot to learn defensively but is very good going forward. I can actually see him in a more advanced left sided role also but again, this hasn’t been proved.

Rating: 6.5/10

Ryan Bertrand:

Just like Van Aanholt, Ryan is ready for Premier League football. It is just a pity that he and Patrick are vying to play behind the master Ashley Cole. Ryan is a very good defender and has great skill going forward. He has a very good cross and is very experienced for someone his age due to the loans he has enjoyed. He is touted to be going on loan again this season but Chelsea fans will be buoyed by the fact he has signed a four year extension on his contract. This guy will be great.

Rating: 6.5/10

Overall rating of Defence Position: 8.5/10

As with yesterday’s piece on goalkeepers, all ratings are current and not taking into account the players potential.

Chelsea have experience, depth, potential and most of all, world class players representing our back line. During a season when there wasn’t much to shout about for a long period last year, they always showed their class. With the likes of Bruma on loan and Chalobah yet to emerge, the current and future state of Chelsea’s defence gets a thumbs up from where I’m sitting.

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Agree/Disagree? Please comment below and or let me know @fattyfoulke.  Also make sure to vote on the poll.

Article by Derek O’Rourke

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Follow me on Twitter: @fattyfoulke

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