Premier League

Is Ben Chilwell the final piece of the puzzle for Chelsea?

The £50m signing has solved Frank Lampard’s left-back problem, but is he exactly what the Blues need to push on?

 
7:00am on Friday 16th October 2020
By
Cameron Smith

With Marcos Alonso and Emerson at full-back, Chelsea have been repeatedly exposed down their left for years, but the acquisition of Ben Chilwell fills that hole perfectly.

A homegrown talent, Chilwell is exactly what the Blues needed this summer, albeit for slightly more money than many fans would’ve liked.

Alonso’s woeful performance against West Brom in that humiliating first-half, couldn’t have proven further as to why Frank Lampard demanded a new signing in that position.

Whilst attention has been largely focused on the star-studded, flair purchases of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, the additions of Edouard Mendy and Chilwell are arguably more important than their attacking counterparts, and will have a greater impact on the success of Chelsea’s season.

Although on the face of it, the addition of a left-back doesn’t grab the same headlines that a new striker does, Chilwell’s impact on this side could well prove pivotal to Chelsea’s season.

A side that conceded the same number of league goals as 15th placed Brighton last season, Chelsea needed reinforcements, and desperately.

The additions of the aforementioned Mendy, and the experienced Thiago Silva will go a long way to improving that leaky backline, and Ben Chilwell is just as important.

Whilst he was significantly inferior to Ricardo Pereira, Leicester other full-back, in both attacking and defensive regards last season, Chilwell is still a huge upgrade on Chelsea’s existing options.

Marcos Alonso is a huge liability defensively, and despite impressing going forward, with 40 goal contributions in all competitions for the Blues, a defender’s primary job is, unsurprisingly, to defend.

Emerson is the more rounded of the two, but the fact that he’s made only 25 Premier League appearances in his two full seasons at Chelsea shows that he’s never been first choice.

Chiwell fixes the void at left-back comprehensively, and at just 23 years-old, he’s got plenty of years to make a meaningful impact at Stamford Bridge.

Premier League Experience

England’s left-back, when he’s fit, Chilwell had been Leicester’s first choice for three seasons and brings much needed Premier League experience to a side with very little.

Neither Mendy, nor Thiago Silva had played a Premier League game this time three weeks ago, and Reece James, who appears to be first choice on the opposite side to Chilwell, has only amassed a mere 19 starts in England’s top flight.

In fact, only five of Chelsea’s current squad (Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Marcos Alonso, N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud) have made more than Chilwell’s 100 Premier League appearances.

His Premier League Debut for Chelsea

The only non-French speaker in the back five against Crystal Palace, Chilwell seamlessly slotted in at left-back and was potentially Chelsea’s most dangerous attacker as well, grabbing a goal and an assist.

His three key passes was a match-high, and his two shots was double that managed by Timo Werner, who played ahead of him as a left-winger.

Furthermore, his 11 crosses was just one fewer than the entire rest of the Chelsea squad combined.

Ben Chilwell
D (L) - Chelsea - 23 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
9.1
Oct 3, 2020
90Minutes played
1Goals
1Assists
11Crosses
3Interceptions
4Duels won
111Touches
22Final third passes

Far from shirking his defensive responsibilities, Chilwell’s three interceptions was also a match-high, and he won both of his aerial duels.

Whilst many defenders look unsettled when adjusting to the style of play of a new side, cue Thiago Silva’s debut against West Brom, Chilwell looked as though he’d been at Chelsea for years, and it’s this comfortability that sets him up nicely for a successful spell at the Bridge.

A dream debut for the England international, Chilwell may well be exactly what Chelsea needed to regularly challenge for trophies once again.

Do Chelsea really need Declan Rice?Read More

Fitness

In the wake of withdrawing from the most recent England squad, doubts over Chilwell’s fitness, and his recent injury record have arisen, ones he will have to dispel.

Whether or not he’ll be fit for the Southampton game is up for debate right now, but both Lampard and himself will be hoping that he can start to get a run of games under his belt sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

A talent, certainly not the finished product, but a talent; Lampard has got his man, and it’s now up to Chilwell to repay the faith shown in him; can he live up to his price tag?

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