Belfast Telegraph

Statistics suggest Chelsea's defence is set to suffer

Chelsea were forced to play a new-look centre-back partnership in their 2-1 Champions League defeat at Paris St Germain on Tuesday with John Terry and Kurt Zouma out injured.

Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic started at the heart of the defence for the first time this season, but how have the different combinations really fared?

Here, Press Association Sport studies the statistics, including every minute of stoppage time, to determine which partnership comes out on top when it comes to minutes per goal conceded.

John Terry & Kurt Zouma - 101.9 minutes

The bad news for Chelsea fans is that the injured partnership of Terry and Zouma is statistically their best. The pair have spent 1,427 minutes together when Chelsea have played two central defenders and conceded 14 goals in that time. That works out at a goal conceded nearly every 102 minutes. Unfortunately, Zouma's cruciate knee ligament injury means the partnership may never be seen again with skipper Terry set to leave the club at the end of the season.

Gary Cahill & Kurt Zouma - 88.5 minutes

Zouma has proved a better partner for Cahill than Terry, possibly down to the Frenchman's speed across the ground. The pair have only started eight games together and only once since the beginning of December - the comfortable FA Cup victory over Sky Bet League One side Scunthorpe. But their concession rate works out at close to a goal a game, with 10 goals scored against them in total in 885 minutes played.

John Terry & Gary Cahill - 65.8 minutes

The most common partnership this season is also one of the most unreliable. Terry and Cahill have kept the ball out of the Chelsea net just over an hour at a time when they have been together. But it was also the partnership heavily preferred by former boss Jose Mourinho when things were not going so well at Stamford Bridge. They started 10 games together when Mourinho was manager, but only three since the Portuguese's departure.

Gary Cahill & Branislav Ivanovic - 50.7 minutes

This was the combination interim manager Guus Hiddink turned to in Paris with both Terry and Zouma injured. It was only the second time they had been united in the middle this season after Terry was forced off against Newcastle last weekend. Three goals conceded makes it the shakiest of Chelsea's centre-back partnerships, although just over a game and a half is probably not long enough to judge them. Chelsea fans will certainly hope that is the case.


From Belfast Telegraph