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Ben Chilwell, is he really the left-back we need?

The transfer window will open in August but Chelsea have hit the ground running over the last few months having signed Ziyech and at the cusp of confirming Werner. Attacking replacements are necessary with the likes of Pedro, Willian, and Michy leaving but another problem area in our team is left back. Ever since Ashley Cole left we have had some decent options on the left but no one who stood out. Azpilicueta was our left back under Mourinho but he is primarily a right back while Alonso is always deadly playing as a wing back but falls short as a full back. There was hope that Emerson would be a good option on the left but after having started the season brilliantly he has fallen off. Alonso and Emerson might still make an impact over the next 9 games but either way a left back will be coming in. One of the options being considered has been Leicester’s Ben Chilwell who as many journalists say is favoured by Lampard and co. In this article we will compare Ben to our current full backs if he is really any better. 

Our first comparisons are with our current left backs in Alonso and Emerson. Chilwell’s stats are the base while Alonso and Emerson’s stats are the overlapping ones. From the get go we can see that both Alonso and Emerson have played considerably fewer minutes compared to Chilwell but have barely been out performed. Alonso beats Chilwell both when comes to defensive duties and in terms of attacking output. Chilwell is pretty good going forward but the fact that he barely beats Alonso in progressive distance means that it isn’t something to boast about. Chilwell’s comparison to Emerson is perhaps even worse with Emerson matching Chilwell when it comes to aerial ability along with assists. Emerson is also better at dribbling but he also gets dispossessed more frequently. Chilwell does perform better in defensive metrics in comparison to Emerson. Chilwell is not better than what we have and for those that might say that he was better last season, when those stats are added our full backs beat him in more metrics. 

I next compared Chilwell to our right backs and it did not get better for the Leicester player it actually got worse. Reece James has played far fewer minutes than Chilwell but beats the left back when it comes to overall attacking output being better at providing assists and dribbling while also being on par in progressive play. Defensively Reece James is also better than Chilwell with Aerial ability and pressures being the only areas where the left back performs better. The next comparison to Azpilicueta was probably the most shocking to me because Azpilicueta for all his quality has been in a slow decline over the last few seasons although still brilliant. The veteran spaniard outperformed Chilwell in practically all metrics, insanely better defensively, better in attacking output in terms of progressive play and assists. Chilwell only performed better aerially and in terms of dribbling and that is no shock it would have been a joke if Azpi beat him in those as well. So overall Chilwell is not a clear improvement on any of our full backs. 

Ben-Chilwell-vs-Alphonso Davies

For reference I also compared Chilwell to perhaps the best left back in world football right now in Alphonso Davies and while Chilwell had similar stats in providing assists and progressive play he was nowhere near in terms of defensive play and dribbling.

Chilwell is not the only left back Chelsea are looking at with Ajax defender Tagliafico and Porto defender Telles also on the list but Chilwell is the priority. Overall the two clear qualities that Chilwell has is that he barely get’s dribbled past and that he is aerially dominant. The attacking and defensive output would of course improve with better players around but Leicester are 3rd and have played some eye catching football this season scoring plenty of goals. A player can always improve and Lampard must see something that he is so adamant on getting the Englishman but at 50-60 million would it be a good investment? I’m not sure, the stats are clearly against it. Tagliafico would be around half that price and a better option with Telles also better going forward but defensively lacking. My option is Tagliafico and Chilwell has to go a long way in proving that he is worthy of signing for Chelsea. 

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