90 minutes in the Premier League are under Baba Rahman’s belt.
It may have taken an injury to Branislav Ivanovic, plus a fixture such as strugglers Aston Villa at home, in order for him to get his chance but he’s finally got the game time we were crying out for.
The next question is; how did he perform? On the face of it, there wasn’t too much to get excited about. But rather than just take it at face value, let’s do a bit of digging.
Here’s a top level look at his stats from the 90 minutes against Villa:
Pass Accuracy: 81.1%
Long Balls: 3
And, for the sake of argument, lets compare those with Chelsea’s other full back on Saturday Cesar Azpilicueta:
Pass Accuracy: 65.9%
Long Balls: 3
The key thing that jumps out here is Baba’s pass accuracy of 81.1% (which places him 3rd of all Chelsea players that played) and is significantly better than Azpilicueta’s despite them both attempting a similar amount of passes.
The other thing that caught my eye is Azpilicueta’s 3 crosses to Baba’s 0. It shows Azpilicueta’s comfort in his role (and the league) to get forward and contribute more to attacking plays. I imagine Baba was far more concerned with a solid defensive performance on his Premier League bow.
But What About Ivanovic?
His stats compare favourably with that of Branislav Ivanovic too.
Let’s take common opinion that Ivanovic has been a shadow of his former self this season so we’ll ignore his stats from this season so far. Let’s take last year, a season which most will agree was one of his best in a Chelsea shirt.
Averaged across his 38 performances last year some notable similarities are evident with Baba’s performance on Saturday:
Passes (Avg per game): 39.5 (Baba 37)
Pass Accuracy: 81.2% (Baba 81.1%)
Tackles (Avg per game): 2.3 (Baba 4)
Of course, it’s wholly unfair to compare one performance against a Premier League winning season’s worth of performances. I merely wanted to highlight that he’s started on the right track.
Ivanovic had an incredible year last year and his consistency is one of the key reasons he’s become a fan favourite over so many years.
Back to Baba Rahman and it remains to be seen whether he’s done enough to earn a starting spot against West Ham next week – a different proposition altogether.
Equally it’ll be interesting to see whether Jose decides to pick him in the Champions League fixture away at Dynamo Kiev this week – a competition we know Mourinho is comfortable playing Baba in.
All will be revealed in due course, but Baba can be content with his first Premier League 90 minutes.