After the season Chelsea have had this year a three nil win at home to Bolton, who have been one of the poorest teams this season, does not spare the players, or more significantly, the manager the disparagement he has received from fans and pundits alike. However the win against Bolton may provide one of the first looks into the potential we may see from AVB’s team if he is given time to mould his own Chelsea side.
With the pacey and strong ball carrying & passing ability of Gary Cahill and David Luiz at the heart of Chelsea’s defence they were able to use the extra man breaking into midfield to feed the attacking players benefitting from greater space created by the forward thinking defenders.
The critics of the Chelsea defence, and David Luiz in particular, have no doubts about him going forward, with many suggesting he should be deployed higher up the pitch, however there may be reasons why AVB will continue with David Luiz in this position. Two key differences in this performance, aside from the relative defensive solidity, albeit, in the face of a largely isolated David N’Gog and Marvin Sordell, can help explain this.
The consistency with which the breaking of David Luiz created openings in the forward positions gave Chelsea sense of purpose in the attacking third. Often this season Chelsea’s downfall in the attacking third of games is the inability for them to get their most dangerous players in one on one situations, something Manchester United have successfully achieved in the recent past. Adding ball playing defenders in attacking areas could be a useful tool to AVB’s team in the future as Chelsea attempt to break down stubborn Premier League defences in tight Premier League games. As well as the fact that whilst employing a high pressing game they need to switch from defence to attack quickly, which ball playing centre-backs can assist in.
The second point to add is that if David Luiz is to keep his place he is dependent on learning the game of a central defender more thoroughly. In John Terry he has one of the most gifted defenders in the areas he is lacking: positioning, decision making and robustness and couple that with Terry’s obvious determination to become a coach/manager in the future means writing David Luiz off this early in his career could be foolish.
However, if David Luiz’s Chelsea career does not build on his most assured and well rounded performance at Chelsea this is not to say that AVB’s vision is dead. Defenders such as Thomas Vermaelen and Daniel Agger have shown on more rare but devastating occasions what defenders breaking forward with technical ability can do by scoring spectacular goals. Lucio is another dynamic force driving his team forward with mazing runs from deeper positions.
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