Fabrizio Romano’s Robert Sánchez report should scare Chelsea fans

Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Everton FC v Chelsea FC - Premier League / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Enzo Maresca's recent appointment as the new manager of Chelsea FC means that there are immediate questions surrounding which current players he favors. Reports have recently stated that the former Leicester City manager likes goalkeeper Robert Sánchez. According to renowned journalist Fabrizio Romano, “Maresca told the board he really likes Robert Sánchez.” He (Maresca) added that he “believes Robert is ready for the next phase of his career.” 

Sánchez was signed by the Blues last summer from Brighton & Hove Albion for around £20m on a seven-year contract. While Sánchez was signed on August 5th of last year, CFC was not done adding goalkeepers. A few weeks later on August 26th Chelsea announced the signing of New England Revolution goalkeeper Đorđe Petrović to a seven-year contract. 

The season started with the former Brighton keeper being selected to the starting 11 for Chelsea’s first 19 games across all competitions. However against Everton on December 10th he reaggravated a knee injury he suffered against Manchester United four days earlier. From then on it would be Petrović taking over except in two games. 

One on February 28th in the FA Cup against Leeds United and on March 17th in the FA Cup Quarterfinal which was ironically enough against Maresca’s Leicester City. In both games, the Blues won but Sánchez did not play particularly well. While Sánchez’s injury kept him out for a long time, Petrović established himself as the starter in his absence for the rest of the season. 

The debate surrounding who’s better between Sánchez and Petrović is interesting, while the stats will back up Sánchez, the eye test, and the team performances favor Petrović. In 23 games across all competitions, Chelsea’s record with the Serbian in goal was 13-5-5, with the former Brighton man it was 7-4-7. While one could say it’s not fair to judge the two because Petrović played in more games, what’s not up for debate is that Petrović’s 57% winning percentage is better than Sánchez’s at 39%. 

However, when you look at most of the numbers they all favor Sánchez, in save percentage Sánchez is at 67.9% while Petrović’s was 66.4%. In goals against per 90 minutes in Premier League games Sánchez was at 1.57, while Petrović was at 1.72. With distribution, passing accuracy favors Sánchez at 79.6% versus Petrović at 76.4%. The biggest edge in passing was with the long ball accuracy, at 46.2% while Petrović was below him at 35.9%. 

Watching Sánchez play throughout the season was a rollercoaster, and one noticeable difference between him and Petrović is that Sánchez takes more risks and makes more mistakes. One, in particular, was against Arsenal on Oct. 21 when he made a terrible pass to Declan Rice scoring from the spot as Sanchez was out of position. The Blues were up 2-0 77 minutes into the game. That goal gave the Gunners life and allowed them to eke out a 2-2 draw. In the FA Cup against Leicester City, he was out of position and after Axel Disasi couldn’t handle a ball it allowed Patson Daka of the Foxes to score from far out.

Both of them had some massive highs and some embarrassing lows throughout the season. But if Maresca can’t decide who to pick between them the one thing he should fall back on is Petrović won more than Sánchez.