clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Expectations For 14/15: Gael Clichy

Is Clichy the first choice left back? Will Clichy again share time with Kolarov? Or will one player beat out the other to be the undisputed #1 left back?

Clive Brunskill

Questions

Is Clichy the first choice left back heading into this season?

I'm not sure that either Clichy or Kolarov have done enough to truly cement the left back position as their own. But it sure does feel like Clichy fell a little behind Kolarov at the tail end of last season.

"Feels like" or actually did fall behind Kolarov?

Does this help?

clichy kolarov ToP 13 14

What Is It?

It shows the rolling average for each player and the % of minutes they played. At the 19 game mark both players had played a near identical percentage of the minutes available (50%). Then Kolarov was rewarded with more game time from games 20 to 30 before Clichy clawed some of these minutes back.

What does it all mean?

That Pellegrini liked the both of them and probably used each player in different situations or against different oppositions depending on the tactical requirements.

You have any of these stupid pictures that show this?

No pictures, but I have some numbers.

Clichy played 670 minutes at home. Kolarov played 1078 minutes at home.

Clichy played 990 minutes away. Korarov played 892 minutes away.

So that's weird.

Yeah, Clichy was sparingly used at home where Kolarov got the soft easy minutes. But away from home, Clichy played far more minutes and even topped Kolarov's total minutes played.

Why do you think this happened?

I am starting to think that, rightly or wrongly, that Pellegrini believes that Clichy is the superior defensive player, while Kolarov offers a much more potent attacking threat (and is inferior defensively) and thus is used more heavily at home.

Is this accurate?

I'm not sure. I am no coach, nor a scout. But the usage is interesting. Interesting unless it is all a big coincidence.

Clichy's strengths and weaknesses?

He's a fairly solid fullback, able to join the attack, comfortable in the final third, and solid, if slightly susceptible in the defensive third. Clichy does most things well but not much outstandingly.

Clichy's aging a little bit, no?

He's 29 now and is probably starting to physically decline a little bit but he likely has a couple of years left in him yet. Which is fine, he's contracted until his 32 year old season and by then he will likely be done at the very top level.

What can we expect this season?

Same old. Solid, if unspectacular, contribution at both ends of the field. No real drop off or improvement in performance. Same old Gael Clichy, really.

Can we expect a repeat of those home/away splits?

I'm not sure. Last season could of been a quirk, but I'm leaning toward it being specific usage by a coach who probably likes to match up well against certain opposition and likes to tweak his personnel and formation for away games.

How many games will he play?

Clichy played in 20 league games last year and somewhere around that number would be a decent guess.