As Jose Mourinho analyses his squad ahead of what promises to be a busy summer transfer window, one wonders what his decision will be regarding Filipe Luis and Branislav Ivanovic.
It is very obvious that Mourinho is set on Cesar Azpilicueta remaining as one of his starting full-backs due to the Spaniard’s work ethic and consistency.
Time again throughout the last two seasons under Mourinho, Azpilicueta has proven himself as one of the top full-backs in the country, and is hailed by many as the best one-on-one defender in the Premier League.
In fact, he was very unlucky to not be awarded a spot in the PFA Team of the Year as his three fellow starters on the back line for the Blues were.
The Spaniard has spent the majority of the last two seasons playing on the left despite the fact he’s naturally right footed but with Ivanovic getting older and showing signs of slowing down, the Portuguese manager may decide that it’s time to move Azpilicueta over to his preferred side.
The idea of benching Ivanovic after the season he had for Chelsea is a questionable one. But Mourinho is a smart manager and if he looks back over the last two seasons he will discover that, despite the moments of great influence going forwward, Ivanovic has become a defensive liability.
When the Serbian knows he’s beaten, he often lunges into tackles resorting in a number of dangerous free-kicks.
For example, when Chelsea met Manchester United at Old Trafford early in the season, the Blues were on their way to a 1-0 win until Ivanovic was sent off for a challenge from behind that he didn’t need to make after the opposing player had beaten him with pace.
United scored from the resulting free-kick and denied Chelsea the victory.
This is one of multiple incidents where the right-back has cost his team goals after giving up free-kicks in dangerous areas due to the fact he was beaten for pace.
So Mourinho must analyse the situation and decide whether or not the attacking aspect that Ivanovic can provide is worth the defensive liability that he comes with. After he does so, it is fair to assume that a manager who puts such an emphasis on defending would rather have a player such as Azpilicueta.
Luis gets his chance
This leaves the Chelsea line-up with an empty left-back spot, which one can only assume due to the lack in depth at either full-back position would be taken up by Filipe Luis.
The Brazilian had a somewhat disappointing first season in London after being praised by many as the best left full-back in Europe after multiple impressive years with Atletico Madrid.
However, this can be put down to the fact the Chelsea back four were almost as impressive last season as they were this season, and Mourinho didn’t want to shake too many things up.
With Ivanovic’s anticipated move to the the bench, Luis should slide right in to the left back position after shining on multiple occasions this season when given the opportunity.
There have been a few rumors flying around that the Brazilian international could be on his way back to Spain to Atletico, with a couple players heading the other way to join the Blues, but Mourinho wanted to sign Luis last summer for a reason and being the stubborn man that he is, he will be determined to justify his decision to splash the cash on the talented full back last summer.
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