Chelsea’s defence is a “tight unit” – Jamie Redknapp

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Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has claimed that Chelsea’s defence is such a “tight unit” at the moment, that it can be accurately predicted which four will line-up at the back before every game.

The Blues lead the Premier League at Christmas, having only lost once in 17 games, and with the same back four having played virtually every minute – availability permitting.

“You can name Chelsea’s four in defence pretty much every week, which has helped Mourinho,” Redknapp said.

“Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta are a tight unit, extremely strong, and they have Filipe Luis to bring in at left back if they need a more attacking approach.”

Branislav Ivanovic has adapted to a right-back role under Jose Mourinho, bombing forward down the flank and provided a physical presence in defence and attack, as well as acting as a target for Thibaut Courtois’ goal-kicks out wide.

Captain John Terry and Gary Cahill have been solid in the centre and Cesar Azpilicueta has transformed from a superb right-back into a superb left-back, with new boy Filipe Luis also available from the bench.

Luis has found his chances hard to come by since his £16million switch from Atletico Madrid in the summer, due to the form of the other four, but he has proven to be a solid back-up to the first-team.