Chelsea have played sensational football at times during the season and near about every player has been in top form. There aren’t many positions Mourinho has fiddled with since the start of the season. The left-back position has had some rotation with Azpillicueta missing 2 Premiere League games with a red card. Ignoring that, Filipe Luis has just started against Hull City (apart from other competitions).
The right wing is the other position with a little bit of uncertainty. Andre Schurrle started the season as preferred choice of Mourinho. Schurrle was coming from the high of a successful World Cup campaign and started the season well. However, his performances wore off and coupled with his illness over the last 2 months, he has been consigned to the bench in Premier League. Mourinho has even opted to start Ramires against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool. So there is no clear favorite over the course of the season and the selection is on match by match basis at times.
We looked at the stats of Willian and Andre Schurrle for the seasons 2014-15 and 2013-14 respectively. The statistics are calculated per 90 minutes.
As we can see there is no clear winner between the two. Schurrle has accumulated only ~360 minutes giving an unsatisfactory sample space. However its easy to see that Schurrle is more potent attacking threat than Willian.
With the arrival of Cesc Fabregas, the burden of creative responsibility has been lifted from both Hazard and Willian. Willian is creating lesser chances and making lesser key passes this season as compared to the last. However, he has been unable to translate this additional freedom into goals. Overall, he has been under-performing this season in comparison to the last.
Andre Schurrle on the other hand has been better committed to his defensive responsibilities this season. He has been making more tackles while also getting back to make some crucial blocks in the later portion of the game.
So who wins?
The statistics don’t paint a clear picture at this moment in the season. While it can surmised that Schurrle is better offensively, he has been culpable of missing chances earlier in the season. At moments, his decision making can come in question, choosing to shoot rather than feeding the striker. Willian brings a sense of defensive assuredness although Schurrle has been improving in this respect this season. Willian also plays a crucial part in breaking the opposition counter-attacks owing to his pace. However against teams that play with very low blocks (recall Sunderland), Chelsea miss a player like Schurrle who would constantly be making runs in the box.
As Mourinho famously replied to Redknapp last season,”The manager of Chelsea is Jose Mourinho” and his choice is Willian at this moment in the season. We can only hope that Schurrle can provide better competition over the coming weeks which will only improve both the players.