Martin Lewis looks at Chelsea’s recent displays tactically for EPLIndex.com with the use of his own chalkboard type diagrams.
Chelsea are on an ok run of results, inconsistent displays, but looking to get back to winning ways in the league after poor games vs QPR and Swansea. They play with a 4-2-3-1 formation with options to play short or direct. They look to start games with a high, direct and aggressive play, they will then become more patient as the game goes on. Their game is very narrow without Moses (at the African Cup of Nations) as the play with 3 10’s behind the striker and fullbacks attack one at a time for balance, so rely on short passing combinations, rotation of positions and surprise width from the wider players in the three.
This interchanging of players often results in a lot of overloads of players (especially in the middle). With Moses out,they will struggle for direct runs into depth, with Ramires the only one running from deep.
Short build up involves horizontal passes along the defence, with the 2 pivots higher than the fullbacks. When there is space for a centre back to bring the ball out this will trigger the full back on his side will make a quick run up the wing. There are then 3 options: the winger will always come deep for the ball to feet, he will either lay it off for a central midfielder for a diagonal pass to the overlapping fullback or try and play a first time ball to the fullback himself. The third option is the centre back playing an early diagonal ball himself for the fullback. If the ball is lost when it’s played to the winger coming deep, the team is incredibly imbalanced and broken.
Long build up involves a long ball from the goalkeeper to Ba/Torres’ head, with the middle player in the three looking to run in-behind for the flick on. The wider players will tuck in and the two central midfielders will push up to look for a second ball. The two pivot midfields look to hold position during the build up (barrin Luiz dropping to bring ball out of defence), but one will support the attack.
Luiz has an exceptional passing range, capable of all forms of passes. Ramires relies more on energy and is more of a ball winning player, but can cause problems around the box with his runs. Lampard is a more intelligent player and leader. His timing of runs into the box are exceptional and he has the scoring record of a world-class striker. He also has an exceptional passing range and looks to organise the team in attack. Be aware of his long shots too, hit with a lot of precision, power and bounce just in front of goalkeeper.
Front three movements, ability to play quick 1-2s and 1-on-1 ability to beat players (especially Hazard) around the box is exceptional, so don’t dive in, and be aware of the space around you as well as the movements of the three can cause problems. Oscar and Hazard are very good with both feet, but Mata is poor with his left foot and tries to avoid using it in vital moments.
The strikers have different ways of playing. Torres will look to come deep, go wide to get involved in build up play or look to dribble though with the ball. He also tries to use his mobility with quick 1-2s to get in behind defence. Ba will look to keep his position, use his strength and link play with back to goal with quality lay offs. The in-box movement is also different. Torres looks to stay on the edge of the box and wait for the ball to be played to attack it. Ba will look to be behind the fullback or in between fullback and centre back in order to attack the second post, using his ability with his head to dominate the defenders in the box.
[quote]Stat: Eden Hazard has won two penalties this season, joint top in the league with Shane Long. This shows his ability in the box to beat a player. He will often go one way then quickly cut back the other direction in the box, so it’s important not to leave your foot in when he changes direction.[/quote]
Chelsea defend with a high defensive line, using the offside trap and zonal pressure on the ball with different formational behaviours. They can defend in a 4-4-2, with a tight medium block, a 4-2-4, with the wide players in a high block, or Ramires can come forward to make a wide middle three in a 4-3-3 to press the opposition’s central defenders on the ball.
With pressing, the front line will start the match with a full press. There will then be a change of attitude, with the front two players looking to creep towards the centre backs on the ball to get close enough to them to take it if there is a bad touch or if they turn their back to play ball to the ‘keeper. This is where Ramires will join the front line of pressing if any of the midfield players drop deep to bring ball out of defence. When pressing the ‘keeper, they will look to block the short build up first then edge closer to him till he plays it long. If not, they will look to be compact and start pressing on the halfway line. Pressing is far more aggressive in midfield and defensive areas. Luiz is the most aggressive & continues to press, leaving space behind him that can be exposed. The defenders are also very aggressive and look to get tight to nick the ball, especially the fullbacks.
[quote]Stat: Ramires has the best minutes-per-ground-tackle-won figure (14.65), minutes-per-tackle-won (27.6) and minutes-per-challenge-won (8.19) in the Chelsea team this season, showing his ability to use his mobility in midfield to regain possession.[/quote]
Next Page: Behaviours in Pressing