The Left-back position has been a nightmare position for Chelsea since the departure of Antonio Conte and the back five system. With both Marco Alonso and Emerson Palmieri failing to impress, Ben Chilwell has been identified as the potential long term solution for the position.
Chilwell is a player that causes divide between the fanbase and today’s game showed exactly why. The 1-1 draw against Watford earlier today showed the best and worst of Ben Chilwell as he he opened the scoring with a cracking goal but was also repeatedly left for dead by Watford forward, Ismaila Sarr. In many people’s opinion, his weakest attribute is his 1 v 1 defending but today showed that there are much more flaws to his game than that. For large parts of the game, he either didn’t have the speed to keep up with wide players and stop a cross, or have the positional awareness needed to be in the right place at the right time. He also showed a tendency of occupying very central areas leaving almost the entire right side of the pitch wide open.
He displayed many defensive weaknesses but he was still able to display the things he’s good at in flashes. His motor was on full display as he showed that he is able to accelerate his way up the field and out of dangerous situations better than any left back in the league. His crossing wasn’t quite up to par today but he still got in very good position in the final third and proved to be a serious goal threat with the goal he scored. His short passing was sharp and incisive and he showed his ability to occasionally play a line breaking pass. His passing down the line was a tad bit worrying as he seemed to be prefer passing into space rather than playing the ball to feet and that contributed to a few of those passes being misplaced.
The concerns over his ability to defend will never disappear as fans would rather have a left back who is good on both sides of the ball. Chilwell has proven to be a very good player going forward but you wouldn’t back him to put in a good defensive shift against the very many elite wingers that the league has to offer. A good reference to that point are his performances against both City and Liverpool in which he was terrorized by Mahrez and Mane respectively. He may not be as bad as Alonso or even Emerson defensively but he really isn’t that much of an upgrade for the price tag being attached to him.
One of the very few ‘positives’ of the potential transfer is the fact that Lampard apparently ‘wants’ Chilwell at the club and sees him fit to fill the void at left back.