Overall, it had been a solid first season for Frank Lampard at Chelsea prior to the football season being halted. They currently sit fourth in the Premier League and are set to secure a spot in next season’s Champions League – whenever that may be.
One area that the Chelsea boss may be keen to strengthen though is his defence. The Blues have conceded 39 goals this season which is the second highest total inside the league’s top ten.
An important caveat to this is that they actually rank fourth in terms of Expected Goals Against (xGA) with 31.14. This suggests that their defence may not be as bad as it first seems, with poor performances by Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero in goal proving a big contributor in terms of them conceding eight more goals than expected.
Lampard will likely be aware of this, yet he still looks keen to add more quality to his back line when the transfer window reopens.
One player he is reportedly very keen on is Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes. The 22-year-old broke into Lille’s first-team last season and helped them secure a top-two finish. He has built on his promising form from last year this season, solidifying himself as one of the club’s first-choice centre backs, accruing well over 2000 minutes of league action.
The Blues have already been bestowed a first hand glimpse of the left-sided centre back having come up against him twice in the Champions League this season, and he clearly impressed.
Prior to Ligue 1 halting, Lille boasted the fifth-best defensive record in the division and also had the fifth-lowest Expected Goals Against (xGA) total in the league too. Whilst this looks impressive, how much of that can we attribute to the performances of Gabriel?
Gabriel’s percentile graph
(You can view the above in high-definition here)
Initially looking at defensive attributes alone, the Lille man is showing up well. Despite his age, he is…