While Chelsea‘s main problem this season has been putting the ball in the back of the net, their previous defensive solidity has also abandoned them in recent weeks.
Have Chelsea struggled defensively this season?
Although the Blues have conceded the third-fewest goals in the division behind Newcastle United and Manchester City, they have mustered just one clean sheet in their last 10 games in all competitions, which came in a 0-0 stalemate with Liverpool.
Summer signing Marc Cucurella has proven something of a disaster at Stamford Bridge, as he is ranked as the 12th-best performer at Chelsea with a disappointing 6.65 average rating from WhoScored, while the ageing Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta will soon need replacing.
Blues fans will be wishing that they had a player similar to club legend John Terry to steer them through this difficult period, as the powerful centre-back was widely recognised as one of the best in European football during his time at Stamford Bridge, forming a big part of a near-impenetrable defence under Jose Mourinho in the 2004/05 campaign.
He made 717 appearances for Chelsea in total, winning five Premier League titles and one Champions League, with it perhaps no surprise that the west London outfit haven’t achieved the same sort of domestic success since his departure.
However, the academy at Cobham is always sure to produce some top talents, and it seems as though they could soon have another Terry on their hands in 19-year-old talent Alfie Gilchrist.
Who is Chelsea youngster Alfie Gilchrist?
Gilchrist has progressed through Chelsea’s academy and has been a regular for the U21 side in the Premier League 2 so far this campaign, contributing one goal and one assist in 22 appearances.
As a regular captain of the academy sides despite only being 19, the young defender certainly seems to possess the leadership skills to make an impact in the first team in the near future.
Sean Conlon, who works as a scout for Chelsea, was full of praise for the Englishman in an interview with Caught Offside last year.
He said: “Alfie Gilchrist, he’s the Chelsea Under-23s captain. He’s only 18 but he could be the next John Terry, he’s a really good player.
“I’m a huge fan of his. I coached him and spent a lot of time with him. I’m hoping he goes on to do big things. At 18 he’s captain of the Under-23s and I think he’s got great promise.”
Chelsea’s trust in academy players has significantly increased in recent years, with the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James establishing themselves as key players in the first team, and if Gilchrist can live up to his potential, he could become the next big thing at Stamford Bridge, especially if he can emulate a Blues legend such as Terry.