Luiz The Liability: Why Mourinho Needs To Stick With Cahill & Terry

David Luiz and Gary Cahill

John Terry has started all ten of Chelsea’s Premier League games this season, with Gary Cahill partnering him for five games and David Luiz partnering him for the other five. It is clear then that Jose Mourinho does not know who his best centre-back pairing is.

Statistical comparison

Goals conceded per game Tackles success Defensive actions per game Aerial duel success Defensive errors Passes per game Pass accuracy
Luiz 1.2 100% 6 67% 1 58.4 85%
Cahill 0.4 50% 7 78% 0 55.2 87%

The most telling statistic here is that Chelsea¬†concede just 0.4 goals per game when John Terry is partnered by Gary Cahill, but concede 1.2 goals per game when David Luiz partners the Chelsea captain. This is crucial as it suggests that John Terry and Gary Cahill are the best pairing for Chelsea with perhaps the best defensive understanding of Jose Mourinho’s options.

Gary Cahill defensive actions

Whilst Luiz has completed 100% of his tackles it’s worth noting that he’s attempted just three, with Cahill also attempting just two tackles, making this a less important way of monitoring their defensive contributions. In other areas Cahill has an edge, winning a superior number of aerial duels and at a better success rate than Luiz, as well as having a higher pass completion rate and having not made any defensive errors this season.

The statistics suggest Luiz isn’t as good on the ball as you might be lead to believe. Against Newcastle, for example, he completed just 84% of his passes and was very wasteful with regards to the longer passes he attempted to play. Cahill on the other hand is a bit more conservative in possession, but as such he keeps the ball better than his team-mate, whilst also having the ability to move out from the back with the ball.

This brief statistical look at Cahill and Luiz shows that, at the moment, Gary Cahill is the superior partner for John Terry. David Luiz has not had a good season for Chelsea and actually has lowest Squawka Performance Score of the Blues’ first-team regulars with -37. Although statistics alone may not paint the entire picture, the fact remains that Chelsea concede fewer goals with Cahill and Terry at the back and as such it makes sense for the pair to continue to perform together. David Luiz offers so much in the position, but in this moment in time his contribution is probably worth sacrificing for better defensive solidity.

Amit Singh
Amit Singh
Amit Singh is a wannabe freelance writer and the editor of Think Football, the 'thinking person's football website.' He has written for various other sites including columns on Unibet and BettingExpert Blog.
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