In part three of this series, we discussed Cristian Romero and ways he could fit into Chelsea’s back line, as well as potential shortcomings he might come with. In this piece, we will be discussing key AS Monaco central defender, Benoit Badiashile.
Badiashile is very much a ball-playing centerback in every sense of the word. He seems to have everything a top club requires in a centerback, except for the fact that he might be error prone. Every aspect of his game is well-suited to fill the role of a sweeper for Chelsea. Badiashile’s defensive statistics, his style of play and his team’s style of play will be discussed in this piece. All these numbers will be compared against two Premier League defenders, Virgil van Dijk, representing the Premier League’s most consistent centerback, and Kurt Zouma, representing Chelsea’s most consistent centerback since the beginning of last season.
Let’s dive into it:
Style of play
Badiashile is very composed on the ball, per the eye test. He’s French, though he has not made an appearance for the France National Team as he is still 19 years old. He often opts to keep play moving and picks out wingers with long balls, switching the play regularly. Badiashile’s a very good passer of the ball and therefore, plays a key role in starting attacks from the back for Monaco. He plays in a two-centerback formation for the Ligue 1 club as a left centerback. He’s left-footed, which is something Chelsea hasn’t had in a long time. At 19, he’s already very familiar playing in a high pressing system. Monaco doesn’t dominate possession as much as the Blues or Liverpool, but it presses just as much.
Badiashile plays in a Monaco team that has averaged 52.3 percent possession since the beginning of last season, compared to Chelsea (58.4) and Liverpool (59.8). Monaco though, has averaged about 31.4 percent of successful pressures in that time, compared to Liverpool’s 32.7 and Chelsea’s 31.3. Liverpool is very much the standard of pressing in the Premier League, as the Reds have ranked first for percentage of successful pressures since the beginning of last season. Monaco currently ranks first for percentage of successful pressures in Ligue 1 this campaign, and at 31.4 percent, that isn’t far from Chelsea’s style. About 30 percent of successful pressure is generally considered effective pressing, and this means that Monaco and Chelsea both do fine in the pressing department. Though not as good as Leipzig or Liverpool, they don’t need to be.
Pressing is very much a team effort, and therefore, every player needs to play his role. Badiashile plays his role in that, averaging 2.53 pressures per game since the beginning of last season, accounting for 37 percent of his total attempts. In that time, Zouma has averaged 1.8 (35 percent) successful pressures and van Dijk has averaged 0.97 (28 percent). The low numbers of the Premier League centerbacks shouldn’t be alarming, as its teams keep a lot more of the ball, and therefore need to make fewer defensive actions per game. The aforementioned numbers show that should the Blues introduce Badiashile into the side, he can be expected to be comfortable. It’s not certain how fast he is, but he’s very tall and he should be comfortable in the Premier League.
Badiashile is often the last man and the less aggressive centerback of the Monaco pair; he has the playing style and attributes of a sweeper. Chelsea now plays a three-centerback formation, and Badiashile will fit into that perfectly. He can play as the left-sided centerback or even in the center of the back three. He has already played as a right-sided centerback and left-sided centerback for Monaco.