Well, we could do what we’ve done in the past, which is play an experienced player out of position – Essien, or Ferreira say – and hope for the best. Which, as those who watched us stutter to defeat on Sunday or crumble at Anfield three years ago, works pretty much as you’d expect it to. That is, not very well at all.
Poor Paulo. He looked like a little kid at times on Sunday, being bossed about by Sunderland’s strikers. It’s not his fault – central defence is a totally different job from full-back, you have a whole different set of instructions to keep in your head about who covers which striker, what to do when the play switches sides or a midfielder comes through, and so on and so on. He was in the wrong place for both of their first two goals. And Ivanovic is not experienced enough to second-guess a partner who is constantly making mistakes.
We might just get away with using a full-back or a midfielder as an emergency centre-back for one game. But not for six weeks. So maybe it’s time to trust in Jeffrey Bruma. We trusted in him enough to promote him to the first-team squad, sell Carvalho and effectively make him the fourth-choice centre-back. We trusted him enough to bring him on as a sub last year and start him in the Carling Cup. Now we have to bite the bullet and trust him in the heat of the Premiership.
It’s true he didn’t have a good game in the Carling Cup. But that doesn’t make him a bad player. It’s probably true that he’ll make some mistakes in the first-team – some of them may even lead to goals. But that’s a risk we have to take if we’re ever to see him flourish as a player. All young players make mistakes – yes, even Josh McEachran. John Terry had a few dodgy games when he first came into the side but thankfully we kept our faith in him.
But the main point is this – if he makes mistakes, he will learn from them (we hope) and become a better player. If we play a makeshift centre-back, he will also make mistakes, but it won’t make him a better player because they won’t help him learn how to play his proper position any better. Bruma is a good player, from what we’ve seen in the youth team and his occasional first-team outings. He has the potential to be a great player. He will make mistakes, probably costly ones, but we need to overlook that to let him develop. He needs to be trusted to fill the hole in our injury-ravaged defence. All we are saying, Carlo, is give youth a chance.
Please note : the views in many of our blogs are written by fans of Chelsea FC and are not necessarily the views of the club