One of the biggest question marks for Frank Lampard has been the defensive side of things. This season, his squad have conceded 54 goals in the league, four in the FA Cup, three in EFL Cup, two in the Super Cup, and 16 goals in the Champions League, which totals 79 goals in all competitions. This is a staggering number for the team as Chelsea only conceded 58 last season. The centre-back position was one of the key weaknesses this season, giving Lampard a headache with selections. The departure of David Luiz meant Fikayo Tomori had an opportunity to fill the last centre-back position in the squad. The young English defender took his opportunity well by breaking into the team in September and impressing the gaffer. In his second Premier League match, Tomori scored his first ever official senior goal in terrific fashion by, a powerful one-time shot from well outside the box. Tomori was deployed in a back three in this game and would stay in the lineup until early December, when he was replaced by Andreas Christensen. His early partnership with Kurt Zouma worked wonders for Chelsea as the duo managed to keep five clean sheets in all competitions.
Tomori’s form started to drop in late November. He started to show inconsistencies in his performances, making silly mistakes in key moments. The young Englishman was arguably Chelsea’s best centre-back for a while, displaying the unpredictability of our backline. He only made six more starts after getting dropped in the squad, putting him last in the centre-back pecking order. The season concluded this past July without him getting a single minute after the restart of the league. This begs the question of Tomori’s future and whether a loan move is more plausible and convenient at this early point in his career.
Let’s take a closer look at whether a loan move is the best option for Chelsea defender.
Fikayo Tomori’s 2019/20 season statistics:
Chelsea is currently looking for a centre-back this transfer window, which could mean that Tomori could be pushed back even further down the bench. His stats prove that a loan move could be wise for his career if he wants any chance of staying in the first team. He finished the season with 24 appearances, five yellow cards, two goals, two assists, and three POTM honours in all competitions. Tomori averaged a conceding rate of 1.25 per every 90 minutes, possessing a 27 per cent clean rate ratio, which was 3rd among Chelsea’s four centre-backs. When he was the team’s best in-form defender, Tomori still showed glimpses of his defensive lapses. Those mistakes could be polished up if he goes on loan.
Breaking into the first team also enabled Tomori to get called up by the English national team, where he made his debut on November 17 against Kosovo. Lampard praised Tomori for his workrate and breaking into the lineup, which showed maturity at such a young age. Tomori finished the season with the second-highest ground duel rate out of all of our defenders behind Antonio Rudiger. A possible loan move will more than likely keep him in the lineup and give him a chance to play consistent minutes, something he hasn’t been able to do in quite a while.
Both Rudiger and Zouma finished with higher tackle success rates, with Tomori and Christensen finishing at a 55 per cent tackle rate. He’s not the most efficient at aerial duels, notching a 65 per cent aerial duel rate, which ranked third among the centre-back pack. He was most impressive in the home game against Liverpool where he managed to keep Mohamed Salah in check by matching his pace whenever he tried to attack Chelsea’s defense. Tomori’s athleticism allows him to get tight on attackers and use his speed to track down runners. He often relies on his pace too much, often being caught out of position, which needs improvement if he wants to be an every-week defender.
It’s almost a certainty Chelsea will add a new centre-back this window as Lampard is looking to bolster his backline. But we could also see some exits from the club. There are rumors that suitors are interested in Zouma and Rudiger, which could help Tomori stay in case there is a shortage in defenders. Another positive impact from a possible loan move is the overall growth for Tomori, which could prove beneficial for him if he wants to improve defensively. He certainly possesses the correct attributes to be an excellent defender but his decision making still needs to be better. Only time will tell if Tomori has what it takes to be a starting centre-back for Chelsea Football Club.
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