Chelsea FC: Evaluating the Blues' Defence and Possible Transfer Replacements

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentOctober 31, 2011

Chelsea FC: Evaluating the Blues' Defence and Possible Transfer Replacements

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    Chelsea's inglorious 5-3 defeat to London rivals Arsenal has finally exposed the No. 1 problem for manager André Villas-Boas—defence. 

    There have been 15 goals conceded in 10 games. José Mourinho's 2004-05 team conceded 15 goals in 38 games. 

    Regardless of Villas-Boas' insistence in playing a high line, the fact of the matter is that Chelsea's defence have made schoolboy errors. 

    Why did Alex give the ball away against West Bromwich Albion? Where was the communication between Branislav Ivanović and Hilário? Who was marking Chris Smalling? How come Nani cut through Chelsea like a hot knife through butter?

    This article will examine Petr Čech, José Bosingwa, John Terry, Branislav Ivanović, David Luiz and Ashley Cole. 

    It will also propose necessary transfer replacements or replacements within the club. 

Goalkeeper: Petr Čech

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    Just remember the fact that Petr Čech was inspirational last season and was the player of the year. 

    It was sweet redemption for the Czech, who overcame a career-threatening head injury. 

    I find it amazing that some have even called for Čech to be replaced in January.

    Short-sighted? What did he do against Everton in the Carling Cup? Saved a penalty. 

Petr Čech's Heir Apparent: Thibaut Courtois

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    There is no need to search up possible goalkeeping transfer options because Petr Čech's heir apparent is Thibaut Courtois. The young Belgian was bought by Chelsea this season and loaned out to Atlético Madrid.

    Having monitored his performances this season, he is a world-class goalkeeper in the making. For more information, please read Grading Loanees Thibaut Courtois and Jeffrey Bruma.

    Just to add one point, since my last grading, Courtois has been a bit average for Atlético. 


    Options Within the Club

    Ross Turnbull: At least he is an Englishman, but he is useless. Played nine games and conceded 11, plus the red card against Everton. 

    Hilário: Only making up the numbers. Why not just promote one of the academy goalkeepers into the squad? 

Right Back: José Bosingwa

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    Watching André Santos go past him to score and doing the same with Robin van Persie isn't exactly textbook defending from José Bosingwa.

    Now you're beginning to see why former manager Carlo Ancelotti was hesitant in starting the Portuguese wing back. 

    If Bosingwa can't defend against Swansea City, then surely continuing to play him is like engaging with Russian roulette. 

    You might win when he raids the flanks and puts in an assist but more often than not, he goes missing in action.

    And is he really that good of an attacker?

    To put things into perspective, of his three goals and seven assists in 85 games, none have come against Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal or Tottenham Hotspur for that matter.  

José Bosingwa's Replacements

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    Transfer Options

    Łukasz Piszczek: Borussia Dortmund's 26-year-old Polish international. Has been the Bundesliga's best right back so far. Solid and competent in attack. 

    Francesco PisanoCagliari's 25-year-old Italian. Quick, compact and a strong tackler. Cagliari have a very stingy defence and Pisano has contributed to this. Only issue is he is very injury-prone. 

    Garry Bocaly: Montpellier's 23-year-old Frenchman. About a week ago I watched him receive two yellow cards within seven minutes. Forget about that. Really good crosser, good in attack but I'm not too convinced about his defence. 


    Options Within the Club

    Branislav Ivanović: The easy and cheapest option. Fact is he has become a better right back than centre back.

    Paulo Ferreira: He's the backup left back in the UEFA Champions League. Nowadays, he's contempt with being a professional bench warmer. 

Centre Back: John Terry

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    Chelsea's defence lost its resilience when Ricardo Carvalho chartered a flight to Madrid. 

    Is John Terry the root of Chelsea's defensive problems? No. 

    However he needs to bear some responsibility because not only is he the captain, but the leader of the back four. 

    The main question is who should Terry's partner be? 

Who Chelsea Have as John Terry's Possible Partner

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    Branislav Ivanović: As I said earlier, he has become a better right back than centre back. Not only was there the lack of communication with Hilário, but he was dragged all over the place against Manchester United and was dire against Arsenal. 

    David Luiz: A walking red card. He looks like Sideshow Bob and his defending is like Bob—crazy, el loco, сумасшедший. Considering he is so technically gifted, great vision and an excellent dribbler, why not play him in midfield? 

    Alex: Still dreaming about his move to Juventus. Aside from his thunderous free kicks, the Brazilian is nothing special. There is a reason why he hasn't played for his national team since 2008. 

    Jeffrey Bruma: Currently on loan at Hamburg and been a sorry case. On form, according to Kicker, the young Dutchman is the fifth worse defender in the league. Won't make the grade at Chelsea. 

    For more information please read Grading Loanees Thibaut Courtois and Jeffrey Bruma.

Looking into the Transfer Market for John Terry's Partner

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    Transfer Options

    Mats Hummels: Borussia Dortmund's 22-year-old German international. Poised, technical and the best young centre back in the world by a country mile.

    The only other centre back that comes close is Sebastián Coates, who has become a spectator instead of a footballer at Liverpool.

    Hummels will cost a a lot, I mean maybe upwards of £25 million.

    Then again, many speculated that Nuri Şahin was worth around £20 million or more, only for Borussia Dortmund did shoot themselves in the foot by having some weird clause in Şahin's contract which saw Real Madrid make one of the biggest steals in recent memory. 

    Jan Vertonghen: Ajax's 24-year-old Belgian international. Can play left back and as a defensive midfielder. Technically solid and is good with set pieces. 

    Rolando: Porto's 26-year-old Portuguese international. Led his defence to a record of 16 goals conceded in 30 games, though he's been pretty poor against better opposition in the UEFA Champions League this year. 

    My preference is Hummels. 

Left Back: Ashley Cole

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    For me, Ashley Cole had a bad game against Arsenal but so did the entire defence. 

    I think he still has a few more quality years to give to the club. People have to understand there are hardly any first-rate left backs alone world-class left backs.

    Philipp Lahm is the most consistent. 

    Marcelo is the best attacking left back but his defending leaves a lot to be desired.

    Cole is a mixture of both, solid in attack (but not as efficient as he should be) and a good defender.

    Let's look into the future and see the possible replacements. 

Who Will Replace Ashley Cole?

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    Patrick van Aanholt: Currently on loan at Wigan Athletic. I like the look of him. Played well against Everton, troubled by Kyle Walker against Tottenham Hotspur but put in a few good crosses. I didn't watch van Aanholt against Aston Villa. For whatever reason he hasn't played a game since. 

    Ryan Bertrand: Wasn't even included in the UEFA Champions League squad. I mean, Paulo Ferreira is the reserve left back so that goes to show how much manager André Villas-Boas rates Bertrand.

    I say loan him out to a Premier League club in January because his growth is being stunted. 

    Please read Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal and the 20 Most Entertaining Premier League Games Ever.