Would Gary Cahill Be an Upgrade for Chelsea?

Gary Cahill is one of the most sort-after centre backs in the Premier League right now. Since the opening of the January transfer window, the Bolton Wanderers captain has been in talks regarding a move to Chelsea.

Chelsea, under Andre Villas-Boas this season have had defensive problems amongst their issues in their opening 20 Premier League games. The four-time champions of England have conceded 25 goals already this season; having conceded just 33 throughout the whole of last season, and 32 in their title-winning season the year before.

Petr Cech remains the goalkeeper. Albeit not the reassuring man he was under Jose Mourinho.

David Luiz was brought in 12 months ago at a fee of £21 million from then-reigning Portuguese champions, Benfica. Although a popular choice amongst the fans when he first started, they ignored the mistakes he was making. One of his first notable mistakes was conceding a stoppage time penalty at Fulham on Valentine’s Day last season.

The Brazilian defender has little positional sense and isn’t the greatest in the air for a centre back.

Branislav Ivanovic has had his fair share of games at centre back this season, but the Serbian too is a liability in that position, and a natural right back. Even if he too isn’t the best of defenders in the Premier League, to put it politely.

Alex is expected to leave this month having previously handed in and having his transfer request accepted. This has left the ex-Porto title-winning manager to go in search for a replacement centre back.

Despite playing amongst one of the poorest defences in the Premier League (no team has conceded more goals to date), Gary Cahill has been tipped to play for top 6 side’s for a while. Previously linked to Arsenal, Liverpool and even Manchester United, a move to a big club seems imminent for the former Aston Villa centre back.

Here’s how he compares to Chelsea’s current centre back partnership:

John Terry David Luiz Gary Cahill
Game Started 20 8 19
Substitute Appearances 0 0 0
Minutes Played 1,800 720 1,638
Yellow Cards 7 4 2
Red Cards 0 0 1
Clean Sheets 4 2 2
Goals Conceded 25 9 38
Goals Conceded per Game 1.25 1.13 2
Ground 50-50’s 136 66 163
Ground 50-50’s Win % 68% 55% 56%
Mins per Ground 50-50 13.24 10.91 10.05
Aerial 50-50’s 49 14 103
Aerial 50-50’s Win % 76% 50% 61%
Mins per Aerial 50-50 36.73 51.43 15.90
Tackles 40 12 14
Tackle Success % 67.50% 75.00% 71.43%
Interceptions 42 29 43
Dribbled Past 11 3 6
Defensive Errors 3 1 0
Loss of Possession 7 9 7
Open Play Passes 1,166 420 587
Accurate Open Play Passes 1,068 364 437
Open Play Passes Completion % 92% 87% 74%
Goals 4 0 2
Mins per Goal 450 n/a 819
Shots on Target 6 2 7
Shots off Target 7 1 6
Shooting Accuracy 46% 67% 54%
Chance Conversion 31% 0% 15%

Gary Cahill has made a surprisingly low number of tackles (14) in his first 19 games of the season, compared to the 40 John Terry has made. His large number of interceptions (43) and limited number of yellow cards (2) can only read as positives to Chelsea fans.

Despite Opta Sports claiming Gary Cahill has made 0 defensive errors this season, he does let his man get free in the penalty box. His poor marking would be brought to the media’s attention should he move to Chelsea and make similar errors.