With their 3-0 win over Rennes today in the Champions League, Chelsea now has 5 straight clean sheets in all competitions, for the first time since 2010 by the way.
Trust me, this is not a fluke.
After a year and a half of Premier League fans criticizing Frank Lampard‘s defensive formation, it seems he has finally figured things out on the back. Powered by a rejuvenated backline and a young new goalkeeper, the Blues are gunning hard for Liverpool‘s Premier League crown.
Before I get into the actual defensive changes that have benefited Chelsea, let me first quickly talk about the goalkeeper.
We all know about Kepa’s abysmal play for all of last season. He was statistically one of the goalkeepers in the Premier League last season.
The pressure just continued to grow for the Spanish keeper and eventually, Lampard was forced to move for a new net-minder.
And what a move it turned out to be. GK Edouard Mendy has been fantastic during his brief time in London. Mendy has six clean sheets in his first seven appearances for the Blues. He’s yet to give up a goal in the Premier League. If he continues this fantastic form, there’s no stopping Chelsea.
Chelsea spent almost £250 million during the summer transfer window, a majority of it on their midfield and attack. However, their defensive signings have undoubtedly made the greatest impact thus far in the season.
Chelsea spent £45 million to acquire LB Ben Chilwell from Leicester City and right off the bat he’s been fantastic for the squad. With RB Reece James on the right and Chilwell on the left, Chelsea now have an attacking wingback duo that is one of the best in the league. It’s not like Chilwell can’t defend either. He made some big tackles in Chelsea’s bout against Manchester United in order to keep a 0-0 draw. The prowess on the wings thus allows MF N’golo Kante to slide up into his true box-to-box midfielder role. Kante is able to be more creative on the attack, knowing that should he slip up, there will be reinforcements behind him.
Chelsea’s balance has been a key reason why they were able to stay in top form for most of October and look to continue their fiery play into November as well.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Blues’ most under-the-radar signing: former PSG captain CB Thiago Silva.
Silva, at 36, is still one of the best center backs in the world and is proving it this season. After a slip up against West Brom back in September, Silva has regained his prime, slowly developing into Chelsea’s unshakable wall in the backline.
The race for the title is going to be closer than ever this season considering the extremely competitive start to the Premier League season.
Chelsea has as good a chance as any to take the top of the table away from Liverpool. Manchester United has faltered in the EPL under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester City continues to battle injury.
Chelsea needed to improve their backline dramatically to get back into the thick of things at the top of the table.
They’ve done exactly that.
Featured Image: Chelsea News