Sunday, 19 April 2015

Chelsea: Defensive thinking vs Man United.

Chelsea came into this game not having played the best but having won their games. The key points from a tactical perspective was how Chelsea would deal with the likes of Mata, Young and Fellaini especially.

Early Stages

Chelsea press sporadically- Chelsea looked to be pressing high up the pitch at times to stop Man United playing out the back. You wondered if an ageing Drogba could keep up with this for the whole 90 minutes. The whole team especially the more advanced players(Drogba, Fabregas and hazard. with the exception of Oscar who was looking to help out Ivanovic on Uniteds strong left side) seemed to be pressing quite high up and at times dropping deep protecting the space. When Chelsea pressed high the pressing shape looked something like a Lopsided 4-3-3 with Oscar staying deeper on the right.

Chelsea organisation in own half- When the ball was worked into Chelsea's half of the pitch. Chelsea dropped off looking to protect the space and get bodies behind the ball.This can be a risky tactic against top sides with quality players as it gives them space to work magic and the early warning signs came when Rooney in space hit a shot that many thought went in.

Zouma vs Fellaini

On paper two physical giants so that means war and great entertainment. Through out the whole game Zouma stuck to Fellaini like glue giving him no space or time(as indicated by the picture below) and not making aerial battles easy for him like in other games this season. I thought Zouma grew into the game well at times his positioning was a little high but due to the fact its not his position and with the added pressure of marking Fellaini he done very well indeed.

How Chelsea stop United's left side

Ivanovic normally gets forward for Chelsea but in this game he stayed back due to Man united's inform talent on the left. Nothing special here just did his job from a defensive perspective i.e giving young no space or time to turn on his right foot to put crosses in which at times frustrated Yong and he started drifting inside to find space as he also had to deal with Zouma and Oscar who were in that area which tightened up the space.

Oscars defensive support at times was good to relieve the pressure off Ivanovic cutting out inside passing options to the midfield which meant United had to keep playing side wards and backwards which has no penetration whatsoever.

Zouma man marking Fellaini definitely a major catalyst as to why United weren't as successful on the right because we saw in previous games how well Fellaini links with young on the left.

The lack of penetrative passes to this area was poor and United missed Carrick but also Rooney's creating of space and upfront presence all contributed.

Fabregas role change in the second half

In the first half Fabregas struggled to know when to press due to Chelsea's defensive transitions changing sometimes they pressed and mostly they dropped deep. However due to the goal they looked set on protecting the lead. 

Fabregas was positioned deeper and was responsible for denying the first pass into the Chelsea half and not pressing ahead of the middle third.This worked a lot better and again forcing United to play backwards and sidewards.

Chelsea's deep defence

Chelsea were very content on denying man united space in behind. Mourinho is very good at setting up from the the defensive point of view. In the offensive transition the defensive block of four (centre backs and 2 holding players) stayed back. 

Strong lines and cover:

Rooney struggles with chelsea's compactness:

Great aerial view of Chelsea's shape:

Passing lanes cut:


Chelsea from defensive point of view were spot on especially in the second half you can see how well drilled they have been . You wouldnt associate their plays with being gritty hard workers but it just shows how good of a manager Jose Mourinho really is. His ability to get a group of players to work as a unit is very admirable imagine if he could combine both defensive structure with excellent attacking organisation and i think we would have a perfect team with a perfect manager but i dont think there is such thing.

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