A short look at Chelsea's problems at right-back, and whether Jose Bosingwa is the solution.

More than a few eyebrows were raised when Chelsea announced the signing of right-back Jose Bosingwa from Porto for just over £16 million in May.

Chelsea weren’t in desperate need of another right-back and £16 million seemed like an awful lot to pay for one, even by Chelsea’s standards.

They may not have been in desperate need of another right-back, but there is no denying that it has been Chelsea’s problem position in recent years. The likes of Geremi, Diarra, Essien, Ferreira and Beletti have auditioned for the role but failed to make it their own.

The position seems to have a curse hanging over it.

A couple of weeks into the season, Bosingwa has staked his claim for the position, and if you were to grade his efforts so far, an A grade would be given out by the majority of Chelsea fans.

Given license to roam forward, Bosingwa’s marauding runs have become a potent weapon in Chelsea’s armoury.

Able to beat his man and then put a telling cross in, Bosingwa has been key to Chelsea’s early season good form. He has laid on goals for Lampard (v Bordeaux) and Anelka (v Stoke) in recent matches, and got on the score sheet himself on Saturday, albeit via the aid of a deflection.

His contribution was in danger of going unnoticed due to the exploits of his compatriot Deco, but the ex-Barcelona man's injury has shifted the spotlight onto Bosingwa.

Bosingwa seems to be the solution to a long standing problem. The key word in that sentence being “seems”. While his form has been impressive so far, a look back into recent Chelsea past dictates that caution should be exercised, to save Blues fans getting carried away and eventually, disappointed.

There have been many false dawns at Stamford Bridge - players who have looked like the real deal only to spend the rest of their Chelsea careers struggling to replicate their early highs.

Remember Adrian Mutu? Six goals in his first four games had Chelsea fans salivating at the thought of how many more he would go on to score. Sadly, the only thing Mutu was focused on was scoring his next hit of cocaine - he was sacked for failing a drugs test in October 2005.

Lassana Diarra looked mightily impressive in the right back slot towards the end of the 2006/2007 season - I remember waxing lyrical about him to anyone who would listen. He seemed to be the solution to all our right-back related ills.

One thing worth noting with Bosingwa is that his defensive skills haven’t been tested a great deal so far. For most of his time at the club, he has found himself on the front foot, attacking the opposition’s left back or midfielder.

If the roles become reversed, will his abilities stand up to scrutiny?

Only time will tell if Bosingwa is to be consigned to the morgue labelled 'Victims of the Chelsea Right-Back Curse'.


Here's hoping Alan. Not since Chopper Harris and all that. But it won't just be time that will tell. I suspect time, the Champions league and winter games in northern quagmires will sort the Bosingwas from the Belettis.


You're right about Cluj Alan, capital of Transylvania and, culturally, about as far as you can get from West London without leaving Europe. This would be a lot stranger than anything in English football even if the team had not risen through three domestic leagues in as many seasons. Still, all the signs are right.

I thought Chelsea looked pretty Clujless without Drogba and Deco and Cole. Anelka is about as much use as the famous chocolate fireguard and Lampard looked less threatening than rubber fangs.  Oh dear. Bloodless in Transylvania...a bit of a Rocky Horror Show.  

We did look pretty toothless (maybe that should be fangless?!). Drogba was showing signs of his old self and Malouda looked slightly more useful than usual, but we just lacked a cutting edge and never looked like scoring.

Nicolas Anelka is a good striker but I don't think he can fire a side to the title, he seems to need a number of chances to score and doesn't appear to be ruthless enough.

Still, if Trica's shot had gone the other side of the post things could have been a lot worse.

Nice article Alan. Agreed with Tim here and it is the places such as Bolton, Blackburn, Everton, Hull, Liverpool and in Manchester where Bosingwa will need to adjust to the climate and perform to perfection against the beating rain and scything winds. To be honest, I thought Geremi was at his best at right-back and remember going to matches and thinking he could solve our problems, but it just didn't work out. However Bosingwa appears ready to replicate the steady-eddies of Albert "Chapi" Ferrer et al. Good first article mate, keep it up!

Thanks for the comments Tim and Stuart.

By time I was referring to testing games that will come over the course of the season - just in a more roundabout way I guess.

Also, I'd say the game against Cluj tomorrow will be a bit of a test for Bosingwa et al, a bit of a step into the unknown!

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Jose Bosingwa: The Solution to Chelsea's Right Back Problems?