The centre-back situation
The Portuguese tactician is currently known as one of the best coaches of this era. Even though he has coached in a time where coaches like Louis Van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelo Lippi, Frank Rijkaard and Sir Alex Ferguson showed their worth to the world, Jose Mourinho still managed to stand out amongst all these names.
Jose Mourinho’s career took a big step forward when he joined the Portuguese side Porto. The Portuguese coach introduced counter attacking strategy while coaching Porto. Mourinho showed how strong defenders and even unattractive football can help a team win trophies.
Even though he was criticised for his over defensive strategy, he still helped Porto win their domestic league. Later, he also helped Porto win the domestic Cup, Taca de Portugal. He also helped the Portuguese Champions qualify for the UEFA Champions League. That season Porto won the Europa League as well.
Porto were the underdogs in the European competition and Jose Mourinho took them to the final round of the competition and won the title to write his name in the history books. Porto first faced Manchester United in the knock out stages and later won against teams like Lyon, and Deportivo La Coruna, to qualify for the final of the UEFA Champions League, which they won.
It was that same defensive strategy that was pivotal in Chelsea’s success under Mourinho, the back-to-back PL titles, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup and the rest would greatly influenced by the defensive stability Mourinho was able to institute.
That defensive stability left with Mourinho and return for a short period of time under Carlo Ancelotti and then left again. We never looked the same defensively since Jose Mourinho left the club. The 09-10 season was similar to Mourinho’s 3 years, but it didn’t last.
Now, Jose is back and hopefully, his defensive stability and strategy is coming back with him. I’ll look into our CBs, specifically as that is the most integral part of the back 4.
Chelsea currently have 4 CBs – Branislav Ivanovic (who might play as RB), Gary Cahill, David Luiz and John Terry. I’ve decided to keep Ake, Chalobah, Kalas, etc. out of the list as I’m not sure if they’ll be loaned or playing with the U21/reserve side.
Branislav Ivanovic – Ivanovic was a regular last season for Chelsea and started off in fantastic form. He was doing his job defensively and scoring goals. What more do you want? Consistency. Ivanovic was good up until December’s Club World Cup and then he lost it. The Capital One Cup defeat to Swansea at Stamford Bridge was mostly his fault. His two mistakes gifted Swansea a win that would take away our chance to win our first trophy of the season. Ivanovic is certainly a good player, hence why he is a professional footballer and I’m not, but his consistency is an obvious concern. He was inconsistent in the preseason and if that’s anything to go by, you think it’ll be the same scenario this season. Hopefully, that’s not the case. Another interesting thing about Brana is his RB ability, he was originally a RB that sort-of evolved into a CB. With Wallace going out on loan, you’d expect Brana to be cover for Azpilicueta at RB and for the two CBs.
Gary Cahill – Much like Ivanovic, Cahill was great last season (and the half season before that). He was crucial in our Champions League final triumph against Bayern Munich and showed up well the following season. He was calm, composed while defending and offered an aerial threat when attacking. Much like Ivanovic, Cahill was inconsistent. He went in and out of form as the season went by and never made his mark as a starting CB. He backs off too much, giving strikers an opportunity to pick their spot by using him as an obstacle dummy to curl it around the goalkeeper. Adebayor’s goal at Stamford Bridge last season and Marcelo’s goal in the ICC this preseason. His inconsistency and tendency to back off are his weaknesses and hopefully, he can fix it.
David Luiz – The Geezer. He is, in my opinion, our best defender. He had matured immensely under Rafa Benitez and he showed his maturity as the season came to a close and into the Confederations Cup. His Confederations Cup performance was absolutely incredible, David Luiz was everywhere when Brazil needed him. His goal-line clearance against Spain was the icing on the cake as Brazil triumphed in their own country to lift the trophy. His performances last season got better and better as the season went on. You could call his last season inconsistent considering his troubles under RDM and the beginning of Benitez’s reign, but once February came around, Luiz had picked it up. He turned into that mature CB that everyone wants on their team. He’s been linked with Barcelona recently and their interest in him hasn’t cooled off, so you know that David Luiz is something special.
John Terry – Captain. Leader. Legend. Terry didn’t feature as often as he wanted to last season, mostly due to injury. His main concern for the past few seasons has been injury-related. Terry’s knees aren’t the strongest in the world, but he looked good in the preseason, often going into challenges and rarely backed out. Without a doubt, Terry will always give it 100% when he’s playing, whether it’s Chelsea or England. We’ve seen him throw his body in the danger area to block a shot and keep Petr Cech untroubled. Terry has that passion and effort that every CB should have when playing. Terry understands the goalkeeper very well and knows that an untroubled goalkeeper is a happy goalkeeper. Mourinho and Terry have always had a good relationship and one thinks that the relationship will come to the surface once again in Mourinho’s return.
This all being said, I believe we need to buy another CB or two. However, Mourinho might stick with these 4 CBs and then institute youngsters next season. If we were to buy another CB, I’d go for the Brazilian Doria, Dortmund’s Subotic, Schalke’s Howedes or Papadopoulos. All 4 of these CBs are relatively young and can fix our defensive situation. If we choose to not buy, I’d say start with Luiz-Terry together and then next season, give Chalobah, Kalas, Ake and Christensen a chance as well.