Why Chelsea’s capture of Felipe Luis could be the final piece in Jose’s title-winning puzzle

2. Filipe Luis

It’s been a busy summer already at Chelsea and it’s not over if reports are to believed, with the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane still linked with transfers to Stamford Bridge in this close season.

The Blues have however addressed the key aspects of the squad that required attention already, with a forward in the shape of Diego Costa coming in to to provide a serious threat and Cesc Fabregas arriving to nullify the impact of Frank Lampard moving to America.

However, their best piece of business of the summer could prove to be the acquisition of Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, with that signing essentially leaving Chelsea with the best full-back option in the Premier League currently.

With Ashley Cole having opted to end his association with the club to sign a free transfer to Roma, the left-back position was one that needed attending too by Jose Mourinho, with Cesar Azpilicueta having been playing out of position for the majority of last season.

So the Portuguese tactician has gone out and probably bought the best left-back in Europe, with Filipe Luis having starred for Atletico Madrid last season, winning 107 tackles after emerging successful with 64% of his contested challenges.

Filipe Luis made an impressive 49 interceptions in his 32 appearances for Los Rojiblancos and was successful in 60% of his aerial duels as well, while going forward he proved a useful outlet, creating 28 chances and assisting two league goals as Atletico emerged triumphant in their Liga campaign.

He will now make the move to the Premier League, where he will join last season’s starting duo, with Branislav Ivanovic and Azpilicueta having excelled throughout the duration of last season in the full-back roles for Chelsea.

Ivanovic has been the starting right-back for a number of season at Stamford Bridge and enjoyed another fine season with the Blues over the past year, as he won an incredible 118 headed duels in the more aerial game of the Premier League, with a 69% success rate.

The Serbian international won 55% of his tackles and made 196 clearances to aid the Chelsea cause as well, while he added three goals going forward (one a crucial winner against Manchester City) and created a further 29 chances, always adding the extra threat from set-pieces.

Azpilicueta was also a revelation despite being out of position, with the Spaniard winning 53% of his contested tackles and 57% of his aerial duels and completed 49 interceptions in his 29 appearances in the famous Blue shirt, but again he was perhaps found lacking in the offensive third, as he only created 12 chances without providing an assist.

While their full-back options currently do lack something going forward in comparison to some of their Premier League rivals, Chelsea defensively have far superior options on the flanks of their back-line, with a startling strength in depth to choose from in the form of Filipe, Ivanovic and Azpilicueta.

With Liverpool persisting with Glen Johnson and without a specialist left-back, Manchester United still having Rafael on the right, City having a choice between the unconvincing pair of Gael Clichy and Alexander Kolarov on the left and Arsenal still bemoaning the fragility of Kieran Gibbs, Chelsea have easily the best pairing of full-backs in the Premier League, with a perfectly good alternative to use when rotation is required.

You could easily suggest that Chelsea could now field the most solid back four in the Premier League now and despite the lack of edge going forward they might concede to their title rivals, before the signing of Diego Costa anyway,  the Blues’ resilience and new forward options could put them into the driving seat to claim the title next season.

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Sam Parker
Sam Parker is a graduate in sports journalism and freelancer, looking to break into the sports-writing industry on a full-time basis. He is a life-long fan of Tottenham Hotspur and has a major interest in Spanish football, alongside all other formats of the game.
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