Chelsea’s double pivot becomes the centre of debate after Caicedo shines in new combination

There was a ton of praise online for the performance of midfield duo Conor Gallagher and Moises Caicedo last night, partnered up while Enzo Fernandez was rested.

Caicedo in particular looked totally freed up by the presence of Gallagher alongside him.

The Ecuador star, signed for £115m last summer, has struggled to find his feet since the big money move from Brighton. That’s partly down to him, partly down to the struggles of those around him, and partly down to a team shape that doesn’t help him out.

At times the attack and defence appear totally separated, with poor Caicedo trying to cover spaces that are simply too big even for a player of his considerable physical talents. Gallagher had a brilliant game too, dominating duels in a deeper role than he’s been used to this season.

Most fans watching the game would agree that this pair worked really well together – although Everton did make it very easy for them. We would be very interested to see more of the combination however, especially this weekend against Man City.

Short memories

However we can all remember the extensive complaints earlier this year when Mauricio Pochettino decided to use Enzo almost as a second striker. It’s quite ironic there are now calls for a Gallagher-Caicedo partnership in the middle, when just 6 months ago a Caicedo-Enzo double act was seen as essential.

The three of them should be a perfect combination, in terms of skillset at least. It just needs the right setup to make it work. We wonder if the success last night will convince Pochettino that he should try something new?

A lot will depend on Enzo’s fitness too – his hernia has really been holding him back, although it’s hard to imagine him being left out if he’s fit for the semi final

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  1. Part of it was definitely the weak opponent, but there’s no question Caicedo looked like a different player against Everton. It seems to me there’s a lot to be said for Caicedo playing alongside a partner in Gallagher who is, first and foremost, a workhorse. It’s so important for that midfield partnership (whoever it is) to constantly be switched on and connected (meaning the duo are physically in close enough proximity to cover for one another and to try and win the ball back together as soon as it turns over). For whatever reason, the pairing of Caicedo with Enzo doesn’t seem to have produced this, and, indeed, we see Caicedo (whether in possession or out) too often looking like a man on an island with his midfield partner nowhere to be found.

    A sample size of one (and that being a team near the drop zone), is far too little to go on in terms of pronouncing Gallagher and Caicedo the ideal partnership, but given that it allowed Palmer to become the playmaking #10 (a position for which he’s far better equipped than Gallagher) it might not be a bad lineup to try again against a mid- to low-table opponent.

  2. Pochettino please do not touch this lineup, repeat it this Saturday, we’re looking forward to beating up City!

  3. This is what we are looking for because ezon and caicedo both are defencily midfeed so let them bench one person

  4. Just a perfect midfield combo will leverage our defence from, always, swallowing buckets of goals. I hope we find that combo now.

  5. The problem is that Poch keeps doing the same things hoping he will get a different outcome. There’s lots of talented players at Chelsea but he sidelines them. Also the man is not innovative at all. It’s the same system that our opponents are familiar with, things only change when there’s an injury for him to slot in a different player.

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