Following Chelsea’s away victory against Burnley means the Blues are now unbeaten in seven matches and plaudits are already pouring in for this exciting, young team. The senior and more experienced players like Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and club captain Cesar Azpilicueta have provided the professionalism to the youngsters. Moreover, this young team showed a real maturity from getting a result away to last year’s Champions League semi-finalists and then going away to a tough, well organised Burnley side. Performances from three England youngsters in Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and the now established first-team start Fikayo Tomori.
A story that is developing after every match is the influential partnership of Kurt Zouma and Tomori at centre-half. The other two centre-backs that Frank Lampard has at his disposal, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are still out through injury. Both are more experienced in the Chelsea XI, but in their absence, the two players currently playing in that position have done an exceptional job. Both are young defenders who were out on loan last season where they were able to play regularly at Everton and Derby County. They are two commanding centre-halves where they both possess strength and pace and if they continue to play the way they are playing, it is hard to see them being replaced.
Why this partnership is the strongest moving forward
The key for Lampard was to find his best XI, but most importantly, find his best partnership in the centre of defence. Having a centre-back partnership is the key to a solid defence. The relationship between the two is second to none, they have no weaknesses to their game at this moment in time and they both know when to cover the other as their pace is proving to be a great asset as a pairing.
At the start of the season, Chelsea struggled to keep clean sheets and that is from a lack of communication or even the defence switching off for a moment in the match. However, back to back clean sheets against Newcastle and Ajax before the more recent 4-2 victory against Burnley, shows the tenacity this Chelsea side has. A clean sheet against a stubborn Newcastle team with a physical threat and the away victory in Amsterdam against a more technical threat shows the improvement at the back for Chelsea. The more that Tomori and Zouma play together, the better they will get and at the moment, they are Chelsea’s best options at centre-half.
Going forward, Rudiger will come back into the line-up when he is back from injury, as he provides more to the team with his range of passing and has a leadership role in the team. At the moment, it is hard to see him getting in the team as there is no need to change a winning formula. The question now falls onto Christensen and Rudiger as they have a real job to try and break back into this Chelsea team because Tomori and Zouma are blossoming as a pair.