Chelsea continued their unbeaten start to the season in all competitions with a 1-0 win over Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday night. Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic was the unlikely hero as his first half goal handed the Blues all three points in a hard-fought win upon Jose Mourinho's return to Portugal.
The win was by far the most important thing, but there was also a transfer-based subtext to the game. Mourinho may have splashed out around £100m on Filipe Luis, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Loic Remy, but as the transfer deadline drew closer, he was consistently linked with a move to sign midfielder William Carvalho.
The 22-year-old Portugal international has established himself as one of the most promising defensive midfielders in world football in recent years, producing a number of superb displays for Sporting Lisbon before impressing for Portugal at this summer's World Cup - despite them crashing out in the group stage.
Arsenal and Manchester United have also been credited with an interest in Carvalho, but Chelsea got the chance to face him on Tuesday night. So, did Carvalho do enough in his audition to convince Chelsea that they should make a move for him in the January transfer window?
|Team||Pos||Tackles||Clearances||Interceptions||Fouls||Touches||Pass Attempts||Accurate Passes||Mins|
If Chelsea move for Carvalho, it's likely that he would be used as cover for Tuesday's matchwinner Matic, with Chelsea lacking possibly looking for another holding midfielder - particularly if John Obi Mikel leaves in January. With that in mind, the stats above show how Carvalho fared in comparison to Matic at the Estadio Joao Alvalade last night.
The stats were fairly similar across the board; though Matic made more tackles and interceptions, Carvalho made more clearances, touched the ball more often, made more pass attempts and enjoyed a high percentage of accurate passes.
Whilst it wasn't Carvalho's best game, he certainly held his own against one of the best teams in Europe. He proved that he can keep possession ticking over, and wasn't afraid to get on the ball to set his attacking players forward. It's not a flashy role, but that's what Claude Makelele did so well for Chelsea under Mourinho - and he may have seen some of the Frenchman in Carvalho's display on Tuesday.