Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly will not spend the rest of the season on the bench under Graham Potter.
What’s the word?
That is according to Dean Jones, who has every faith that the 31-year-old will achieve regular minutes at Stamford Bridge, despite failing to start in Potter’s first two games at the helm.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the journalist said: “Koulibaly is one of the best centre-backs in European football. There are still so many games to play. I’d say there’s almost zero chance that Koulibaly spends the rest of the season on the bench.”
“One of the best” indeed
As per Jones’ admission, Koulibaly can indeed be regarded as one of the best defenders in the European football landscape. He particularly thrives as a tackler and proficient presser of the ball, having averaged 2.61 tackles and 6.04 pressures in the defensive third per 90 at a successful pressure percentage of 39.9%.
Those returns place him in the 94th, 76th and 84th percentiles respectively for those metrics among centre-backs in Europe’s top five leagues over the past 12 months, and he is simply too good to leave out of Chelsea’s starting line-up
Wednesday night’s Champions League performance was true evidence of that, as Chelsea cruised to a well-deserved 3-0 win against a highly-rated AC Milan side who are the current Serie A champions.
It was a case of the third time being a charm for the 31-year-old, with the Senegal international starting for the first time under Potter, who just completed his third game in charge of the Stamford Bridge club.
As the 47-year-old opted to return to a native back-three system, Koulibaly was included once more and ultimately delivered for his team, helping the Blues manager to a first clean sheet since taking over at the club nearly a month ago.
Having completed 46 of his 55 passes, made four clearances, played four accurate long balls and not been dribbled past once (SofaScore), it was a steady performance from the £295k-per-week defender and self-proclaimed “big worker”.
Koulibaly definitely has plenty more to offer at Chelsea and will surely get the chance to demonstrate that on a regular basis, particularly with fellow centre-back Wesley Fofana suffering an injury blow in Wednesday night’s win which has subsequently required him to go for a scan.