Stats: Is John Stones the answer to Chelsea’s early defensive crisis?

Chelsea have started the new Premier League season in abysmal form by their very lofty standards. The reigning champions fell 3-0 at Manchester City on Sunday, following their 2-2 home draw with Swansea and have just one point from a possible six – their worst start to a season since 1998.

It may not be time to press the panic button, but fingers will be leering towards it as last season’s best defence have already conceded five times in two games, with only Sunderland conceding more.

Young Everton centre-back John Stones has been identified as a man to fix their early defensive woes and Chelsea have stepped up their pursuit with a third bid for the player, believed to be in the region of £30 million.

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The Toffees are desperate to keep hold of the 21-year-old, who already has four England caps, with the Express reporting that Chelsea may have to pay nearer to £40 million to land their man in a deal that would make him the most expensive defender in Premier League history.

But is he worth the risk? At 21, Stones still has a lot to learn. He is improving with every game he plays at Everton and is a guaranteed starter in the heart of Roberto Martinez’s defence alongside fellow England international Phil Jagielka.

Table: John Stones' Premier League statistics over past two seasons compared to John Terry and Gary Cahill

Table: John Stones’ Premier League statistics over past two seasons compared to John Terry and Gary Cahill (via Squawka)

A move to Chelsea would see him partner either Gary Cahill or John Terry, though a regular starting role is far from guaranteed if he does move to Stamford Bridge. Terry was substituted at halftime in Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City but is expected to remain a first-team regular, so perhaps it is Cahill who is under more pressure.

As the statistics via Squawka in the table above show, John Stones has outperformed Terry and Cahill in terms of successful passes, tackles won, blocks and interceptions per game in the Premier League since the start of last season.

Terry has scored more goals than Stones or Cahill after grabbing five last term but he is outperformed statistically by both defenders in every other key area.

We’re only through two games this season but Stones has already won more tackles (5) than Terry and Cahill combined (2) and looks to be a defender with a really bright future.

The only question remains: What blue will John Stones be wearing after the transfer window closes – Everton’s or Chelsea’s?

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Will the New York Red Bulls miss Tim Cahill following departure?

Tim Cahill has officially joined Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua after terminating his contract with the New York Red Bulls by mutual agreement on Monday.

The Australian forward, who won the Asian Cup with the Socceroos on Saturday, spent two-and-a-half years in Major League Soccer with the Red Bulls but he is the latest name to head out of the club in what has been an offseason of major transition.

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Mike Petke has been fired and Jesse Marsch is now in charge of the team, while Thierry Henry hung up his boots at the end of the 2014 season and Cahill is one of eleven players to have left New York since the end of the last campaign.

The 35-year-old moved to MLS from Everton as a Designated Player in 2012 and he played a key role in helping the game in America develop and grow.

Cahill scored 16 goals with 11 assists in 72 total appearances for the Red Bulls, a record that means he contributed to a goal every 204 minutes, which is better than his contributions at former clubs Millwall and Everton.

Tim Cahill Minutes per Contribution Stats Table

Tim Cahill minutes-per-contribution statistics by club (Stats via transfermarkt.co.uk)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Australian enjoyed his best season of his career in 2013 with the Red Bulls as he led the team for goals with 11 while also adding four assists in 27 regular season appearances in a campaign that saw him named an MLS All-Star and New York Red Bulls MVP.

However last season was a very different story as Cahill only managed to find the net three times in 27 regular season and playoff games.

It could be a case of age catching up with him, or perhaps his involvement in the World Cup affected his campaign more than it should of in 2014, but he is moving on at the right time for both himself and the club.

His departure frees up another Designated Player slot for the Red Bulls, and they can now plan to bring in two more DP’s should they wish to.

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Cahill left his mark on the New York Red Bulls as an organisation and helped the club to its first ever MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2013, an achievement that Cahill ranks as one of the best in his career.

“I’ve enjoyed every moment of my time at the Red Bulls and leave with great memories,” Cahill said after confirming his departure.

“I joined with the ambition of helping to grow and positively affect soccer in the US, and I feel immensely proud of what we achieved as a team during my time in the MLS. Winning the Supporters’ Shield was, without doubt, one of the best moments I have experienced in my career, and I am now looking forward to my next chapter.”

Will the New York Red Bulls miss Tim Cahill in 2015?

Tim Cahill set to leave New York Red Bulls for UAE switch – report

Tim Cahill could have played his last game for the New York Red Bulls as the MLS club have reached a “tentative agreement” with United Arab Emirates Club Al Wahda for the transfer of the Australian star, according to UAE newspaper The National.

Cahill is currently playing in the Asian Cup with Australia and is in great form, having scored three times at the tournament already, and he will take on the United Arab Emirates in the semi-finals on Tuesday night.

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The 35-year-old forward joined New York Red Bulls from Everton in 2012 and only has one year left on his current contract.

There have been rumours that he will be leaving MLS since the end of the 2014 campaign, and that could very well happen as soon as the Asian Cup ends on January 31.

The report in The National indicates that a deal has been agreed but the formalities of any agreement will need to be sorted out after the Asian Cup.

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“Cahill’s performance at the Asian Cup and the World Cup last year has really caught the eye of the Wahda top management and we can say a tentative deal is in place,” the report says.

“There is nothing formal yet though and we will have to wait until the end of the Asian Cup before a formal deal is signed.”

Cahill has made 72 appearances for the Red Bulls, scoring 16 goals with 11 assists as a Designated Player in New York, but could be the second huge name to leave the club this offseason, after Thierry Henry retired.

Bradley Wright-Phillips is the only other Designated Played on the team now, and if Cahill leaves too the Red Bulls will need to make some moves to strengthen ahead of the 2015 campaign.

Should the New York Red Bulls sell Tim Cahill? Would a move to the UAE be good for Cahill?

Tim Cahill suggests he could leave New York for a return to Premier League

New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill has hinted that he may be set for a return to the Premier League after two-and-a-half seasons in Major League Soccer.

The Australian has been linked with a move away from the Red Bulls for a while now as the club are rebuilding the team heading into 2015, and the 35-year-old thinks he can play for another five years at the top levels of the game.

“The future’s bright,” Cahill told the Australian Associated Press.

“I’ve got another year left on my New York Red Bulls contract. The main feeling for me is every time I’m at a club, I like to be there for a long time.

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“To be totally honest, I could have gone back to the Premier League on loan after the World Cup and I decided to stay with Red Bulls for the remainder of the season and I still have options to go back to the Premier League if it’s the right one for me.”

Cahill spent nine years with Everton in the Premier League and was a fan favourite at Goodison Park so a return could be on the cards.

But the midfielder admits that wherever he plays, he needs to see regular game time to ensure that he remains a key part of the Australian National Team.

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“I’ve gone to the MLS because that allows me to play internationally,” Cahill added.

“The next decision that I make will still allow me to play internationally. I average 30 or 40 games every season since I was 17 years old and nothing’s changed.

“Physically, I feel great. Mentally, I’m always switched on. I’m ready to go.”

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Cahill occupies a designated player slot at the Red Bulls and his departure would mean the club will need to replace him, as well as Thierry Henry in time for the new season in March if he does depart.

He could still remain in New York but with suggestions that a return to the Premier League is on the cards, it will be intriguing to see what the Australian midfield star decides to do.

“When you put everything into one, the decision I make will be a methodical one, like I’ve always made it. It will take a month or so but I think people will be quietly impressed with what I’m trying to do.”

Should Tim Cahill remain in New York with the Red Bulls or would a return to the Premier League be a better move?

How will New York Red Bulls cope with life after Thierry Henry?

Losing a player of Thierry Henry‘s quality and presence is never an ideal situation, but it’s the one that New York Red Bulls are now currently faced with.

Henry scored 10 goals in 2014, but perhaps more importantly, he made 15 assists over the course of the regular season and the MLS playoffs combined.

A large proportion of the credit for the Red Bulls success last season will have been given to Bradley Wright-Phillips for his scintillating goalscoring form, but it will be interesting to see how he manages now that his key creator is no longer around.

Thierry Henry played the role of provider for nine of the goals that Wright-Phillips scored last season which accounts for just under one third of his overall combined total of 31.

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Upon equalling the record for most goals in one MLS regular season, Bradley Wright-Phillips has since been rewarded with a designated player contract.

And with no clarification over Tim Cahill’s future as yet, there may still be two DP slots available should he decide to move on to pastures new.

It will then be down to whether or not the Red Bulls choose to fill the spaces, but it certainly allows them the option to bring in world-class talent in an attempt to replace the legendary Frenchman.

The assumption would be that New York are currently on the hunt for an attacking player to partner BWP in 2015 as Henry has played such a crucial role for the last four years, so that void will certainly need to be filled.

Can New York Red Bulls cope with life after Thierry Henry?