Mauricio Pochettino could go against Jamie Carragher; here is why
Two right-footed central defenders play alongside each other all of the time. We see it on a weekly basis in the Premier League. Whether it’s Thiago Silva and Axel Disasi, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate or Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire.
It does indeed happen. Nobody has an issue with it. But the thought of two left-footed centre-backs playing next to each other makes people feel a little bit more uncomfortable.
Are left-footed players more awkward in possession? No. Especially not nowadays. Some of the best ball-playing centre-backs indeed play from their left foot predominantly – and two of them are at Chelsea.
Benoit Badiashile and Levi Colwill are both set to be available for selection on Saturday when the Blues welcome west London rivals Brentford to Stamford Bridge. Badiashile was an unused substitute as Chelsea drew 2-2 with Arsenal at the weekend, while Colwill played in his natural centre-back position despite spending most of the season out on the left-hand side.
But with Marc Cucurella showing great form recently at left-back, the Spaniard is set to continue there against the Bees. Could there be scope to play Badiashile and Colwill – arguably Chelsea’s two most promising centre-backs – alongside each other?
Absolutely there is, despite Jamie Carragher suggesting playing out from the back does not work when talking about the second goal Fulham conceded to Tottenham on Monday night, where Calvin Bassey got himself in a mess at the back. “I always feel like you will always have a problem playing out from the back when you have two left-footed centre-backs,” Carragher said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
There is no data, however, to suggest this is indeed true – especially when you have two left-footers as good on the ball, and defending for that matter, as Badiashile and Colwill. Both defenders can also use their right foot very well when required.
It does mean, though, that whoever is on the right-hand side will probably look to play diagonal balls more often out to the flanks. Whether that’s opening up his body and looking for Cucurella, or looking to spread the ball out to whoever is at right-back, perhaps Reece James if he is fit enough to start.
Also do not forget the fact that Thiago Silva has not been up to his usual, absurd, high standards thus far this season. Some Chelsea fans will not want to hear that because of what a legend he is to football and to the club despite him not being at Stamford Bridge for too long.
But the reality is, he has not been the Silva we know and love in the early stages of the campaign. Badiashile showed such promise after being signed from AS Monaco in the January transfer window that it would be such a shame to halt his development and progression now he is back fit and available.