Article published on 2016-11-21 by ChelseaStats in Uncategorised.
A 6 week streak for Luiz! Alonso and Ake join in as well as stopper Courtois who has had to face one shot on target in the last 180 minutes of Premier League football.
Goalkeeper – Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea)
Thibaut Courtois is starting to look as safe as houses again. He only had two real saves to make in the entire match against Middlesbrough and he was equal to the test.
The Belgium international had his difficulties last season and was being asked to play like a sweeper at times in order for his defence to hold a high line, which didn’t suit him at all.
But now he is performing in a new-look back five and looking like a top-class keeper again. And we all know you can’t win the Premier League title without one.
Centre-back – David Luiz (Chelsea)
If you want to know the individual who has made the difference in this new Chelsea back five, you need look no further than David Luiz.
Against Middlesbrough, he never missed a header, a tackle, or an interception. In fact, he was the architect of the move of the match that resulted in Pedro’s strike crashing against the underside of the bar.
Luiz has been immense since his return to Stamford Bridge. The victory over the Boro was as emphatic as it was stylish and takes them to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since May 2015.
Chelsea are the best team in the league at the moment, with steel and flair in equal proportions. The late, great Howard Kendall once said that winning trophies was like sipping champagne; once you’ve had a taste, you keep going back for more.
Antonio Conte has enjoyed a sip or two of success over the years. By the look of his new-look Chelsea team’s recent performances, both he and they are developing a taste for more in the months ahead.
Centre-back – Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)
On-loan Chelsea defender Nathan Ake was superb against Stoke – but how the Potters did not win this game I will never know.
Referee Roger East must hold his hands up. He missed one of the most blatant penalty decisions ever witnessed as he waved play on when Ryan Shawcross scythed down Callum Wilson, yet penalised Simon Francis for what can only be described as clumsiness.
I’ve often argued that defenders can’t afford to be clumsy in the box, but this decision was particularly harsh.
So, it was just as well that Ake provided the finish that gave Bournemouth all three points. East can now rest easy, knowing that following his decision, any other outcome would have been a travesty, regardless of how well Stoke played.
Wing-back – Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
I must be honest; I wasn’t sure about Marcos Alonso as Chelsea’s left-back, but that was probably due to having watched Ashley Cole for a number of seasons.
However, with every clean sheet Chelsea have achieved this season, Alonso has grown.
Against Middlesbrough, he started to look more reassured going forward, always making himself available, and even forcing an impressive save out of Victor Valdes.
Chelsea have struggled to find a naturally left-footed full-back since the departure of former England international Cole. Now they have one, and boy does it make a difference.
Source: BBC Sport