Ben Chilwell’s rapid acclimatization to Chelsea — and that may be underselling just how quickly he’s gelled with his new teammates — has been great to see, but up to this point, we had mostly taken note of that at the attacking end of the pitch. His link-up with the left-sided midfielders and wingers is coming along nicely, and his crossing is, as expected, top notch already (corners, too!).
Yesterday however, he got to showcase some solid defending (including some wonderful recoveries), alongside the rest of the team. And while that resulted in a bit of a power outage going forward, after the debacles of West Brom and Southampton, conceding three goals to each, it was certainly heartening to see the team keep such a strong side as Sevilla restricted to very little if any actual chances.
Chilwell was happy to see the team respond in such a way. He may be a modern full back, but defending is still part of his game.
“We showed that defensively we’re a very strong outfit. They’re one of the best teams in Europe and to get a clean sheet against a very good attacking side was positive. We didn’t give them a lot of chances. It would have been nice to get a win at home but we’ll take the draw and a clean sheet.
“In general as a team it was, I wouldn’t say comfortable, because there were moments where we were under pressure, but how organised we were, not just the back four and the goalkeeper but the whole team. The wingers and the midfielders were all putting a shift in for the defence. So defensively it was very good.”
As others have said, the next step is to find the proper balance. We’ve shown that we can be unstoppable in attack (at the expense of conceding a ton), and we’ve shown that we can stay organized, solid, and mistake-free at the back (but without offering much threat going forward). There’s a happy medium in there somewhere.
“I think the important thing there was the clean sheet. We knew people would be looking at us after conceding three goals on the weekend and defensively as a team we were solid today, against a very good team.
“We’re a top team and when you’re playing for Chelsea you expect clean sheets and if you’re conceding a lot of goals you’re going to get criticism as a top team. So for us it was important that we keep working hard on the training pitch.”
-Ben Chilwell; source: Chelsea FC
There’s another big match coming up on Saturday, with another important result that needs to be achieved at Old Trafford. Which Chelsea will show up?
This season’s already seen its fair share of outrageous and shocking results. Any team(s) who can put together even just one solid run of results are likely to emerge at or near the top once all is said and done. That sort of run will require both solid defending and productive attacking, so the sooner we figure it out, the better off we will be.