Jose Mourinho has once again overseen some excellent business as Chelsea moved on Andre Schurrle and Mohammed Salah to bring in Juan Cuadrado, and in the process increase competition in his squad. Willian was comfortably first choice at Stamford Bridge, but the arrival of Cuadrado raises doubts over who will start alongside Oscar and Eden Hazard. Willian’s performance against Everton was one of his best for a number of months and a reason for this may have been the increased competition. His winning goal saw Chelsea gain 2 points, which could be crucial come the end of the season.
In his spell in Italy this season, Juan Cuadrado was key for Fiorentina, while his performances at last year’s World Cup were excellent, therefore it has been no surprise to see the Colombian move to a bigger club. He has a lot of quality and at the age of 26, he will be keen to kick on and become one of the best players in the world, with Chelsea giving him a platform to do so.
In terms of goals, Cuadrado managed to score four times in Serie A before his move to Chelsea, while Willian has only managed two goals in the Premier League this season. The Colombian has also been more creative as he has assisted four times, compared to the Brazilian’s two. Cuadrado was brought in for his creativity, which was on show in Italy during the first half of the season. He creates a chance every 40.1 minutes, which is far better than Willian, who only manages to create a chance every 61.3 minutes. Although the Brazilian has been playing in a side which has included Cesc Fabregas, Oscar and Hazard, who are all more creative than him. Meanwhile Cuadrado had been utilised as the most important attacker at Fiorentina, which may explain why his stats are better to Willian’s.
Willian has been more effective in two areas compared to Cuadrado and they are take ons and tackles. Jose Mourinho places high importance on his attackers working hard and contributing defensively. Willian is excellent at this, which is why he has been an automatic pick for Mourinho over the past 18 months. He has won 22 tackles this season, which is better than Cuadrado, who has only managed to win 12 tackles. On average, Willian successfully takes on people 69% of the time, while the Colombian only beats people 55.7% of the time. In the Premier League the ability to beat a defender can be important, especially while playing for Chelsea as a lot of teams will play deep against the leaders and the attackers will be left with only a small amount of space to exploit.
It’s obvious to see why Mourinho chose Cuadrado to target as he has a lot of quality within the final third of the pitch, while his versatility will make him very important to the squad. His experience at full-back should have given him enough experience defensively to contribute going backwards, as well as in the attacking half. However Willian will not give up his place easily, as his performance against Everton highlighted.
Both Willian and Cuadrado have an excellent opportunity to become a crucial part of the Chelsea side, and they may be utilised in different ways by Mourinho, with the former playing the more important games to offer more defensive cover and Cuadrado playing against the smaller sides, as these will be matches which Chelsea dominate. Andre Schurrle was never really liked by Mourinho and the manager didn’t trust him to play in the important matches. However Cuadrado has been his signing, and Mourinho will use him a lot more. Competition is crucial in a side like Chelsea as players can’t afford to rely on their reputation or past performances to get in the team. Willian hasn’t had any real competition for a while, but the introduction of Cuadrado has already seen him up his game and if he continues to do so, he will be a first team regular for the foreseeable future.