Coming off the back of a 3-0 Premier League home win against Aston Villa, Jose Mourinho has been left with a rather difficult and wonderful conundrum.
It is a case of choice. A choice between two wingers: the 26-year-old Brazilian Willian, and the 23-year-old German Andre Schurrle. Both, in recent seasons, have tussled for the starting spot and with both players playing on the top of their game, Mourinho is it finding increasingly difficult to choose between the two, over who starts on the right side of the field.
Eden Hazard has firmly cemented his place in the starting XI, consistently being called up to ply his trade on the left hand side, flanking attacking midfielder Oscar, and the Spanish hit man Diego Costa.
Offer something different
Within the last week Schurrle and Willian have both shown their capabilities with Schurrle being the shining star of an otherwise lacklustre Chelsea performance against the domestically struggling German side Schalke.
Despite Schurrle offering so much mid-week, Willian produced an electric performance in Chelsea's dominant 3-0 win over Aston Villa. He both orchestrated Oscar's seventh minute tap-in and scored a tap-in for himself when Costa's 59th minute shot was parried.
With both players showing so much ability Mourinho has been left scratching his head over who is his favored candidate for the right wing spot.
The answer, thankfully and wonderfully, is that Schurrle and Willian have their unique styles of play. On the one hand is Schurrle with a much more of a goalscoring and finishing approach.
Schurrle wishes to utilise his position to cut inside, and place heavy emphasis on getting into shooting opportunities and putting constant pressure on the full-back. This may seem a standard port of call for a winger in the modern game but Willian takes a subtly different approach.
Willian is a more of a box-to-box winger, thus tempting one to classify him as the more defensive minded of the two. Whilst Willian still enjoys to cut in and get in behind defenses, he instead wishes to use his pace and stamina for a more defensive and counter attacking purpose.
Willian often wishes to aid his right full-back - like Branislav Ivanovic - defensively and then operate more counter attacking. Willian enjoys space, namely space he can run into, and so he is more appropriate for a more back and forth game.
Against Manchester City, Everton and Schalke, Mourinho decided to start Willian as opposed to Schurrle. Mourinho here, applied the logic of these games expectantly being more back and forth and thus meaning there would be more of an emphasis on counter-attacking play.
Whilst Willian would provide useful cover down the right hand side with Ivanovic he would also be able to launch more effective counter-attacks due to the room available and the pace and stamina he possesses.
Against Bolton, Leicester, Burnley and Swansea however, Schurrle started. It is clear then that Mourinho has decided that Schurrle's style would be more appropriate given the nature of these games.
Depends on the opponent
Chelsea in these games would apply deep pressure throughout the game thus meaning the challenge would be to break down a side's defensive shape with the game being more static. This is where Schurrle is more effective as he can provide the ability to get in behind defences and finish, scoring goals.
Upon looking at the nature of the games these two players have started, one can see the how Jose Mourinho has tackled the balancing act of having these two players of such caliber in the same squad.
What this dilemma does is bring out yet another outstanding quality of Mourinho as a coach and manager. His ability to analyse players and their styles means that he can apply them more effectively.
When given two players who wish for the same position, such is the case between Willian and Schurrle, Mourinho has noticed their differing styles and has then utilized them in games where they are more appropriate.