Connect in the back of the net

Following their first loss of the season at home, Chelsea FC managed to secure three points at Wembley. The national champions already had a decent record against their London rivals at Wembley.

However, with the transfer window challenges still going we can expect them to not stabilize in performances and tactical set up until their boss lands some strong enough signings or when their current injured players, especially Hazard, return.

To get the best of this testing phase, Conte reshuffled the formation again from the long-time 3-4-3 to 5-4-1 and 3-5-2 last weekend. The structure was not fixed though and kept shifting between these two formations as per the game requirements.

 

Kante and Bakayoko doing their thing

Kante was all over the field as always and continued his job of reading opposition’s moves and intercepting accordingly. He was full of zip box to box and enabled flank to flank distribution at different times.

Bakayoko, in his first appearance, doesn’t seem to be ready yet to provide a structured midfield in partnership with Kante but was really good in one-on-one defence.

His strong physical attributes were enough to hold the Spurs’ players back at the right flank as well as to allow him advancing up the field threatening defenders.

The main element of the formation was Luiz joining Kante and Bakayoko to enforce the midfield by tackling, winning, and dribbling the ball up the field to channel it back to the teammates. At the same time he was there to shield the backline too.  

It was the timely press and tackle by the Brazilian, which initiated the movement towards Alonso’s second goal assisted by Pedro.

 

The multiple pressing

With their midfield still vulnerable to be dominated, Conte’s men were pressing all over the field. Even though Spurs were dominating the possession, the well-structured multiple pressing by Chelsea kept them at the back most of the time.

The multiple pressing put Tottenham off their game.

The backline trio – Rudiger, Christensen, and Azpilicueta – was made to provide defensive solidity. This, along with the aggressive pressing, marking at the back and compact defence in their box allowed Chelsea to clear many of the threats.

Chelsea were also better in passing as compared to their game against Burnley – they still lack creation and control to beat more structured defences however. The players distributed themselves across the defenders to facilitate crosses and retain possession.

 

The emergence of Marcos Alonso

But with the compact defence by Spurs in the box Blues strongly felt the absence of Costa, to provide them a clever finish, and Hazard to create and execute chances.

However, their absence underscored another emerging attacking asset in the form of Marcos Alonso, who scored brace to give his team a most wanted win.

The Man of the Match always made himself available in the passing lanes not to mention his active involvement in pressing and off the ball tactics.

Morata, on the other hand, was isolated most of the time and this is not even surprising as there is no consistent attacking trio or duo yet to provide for the Spanish striker.   

 

Spurs’ weaknesses well-exploited by Chelsea

While Spurs were mostly playing the possession game which involved planning attack from the back, Chelsea were mostly relying on quick counter attacking and long passing to escape the midfield challenges and pressing from the opposition.

Even though Spurs got better in crossing, distribution, and creating by the second half and often managed to make their way crossing Chelsea’s left flank, the ongoing counter attacking by Blues made them lose their way by the last quarter.

Spurs got some important chances too, not to mention Kane’s long shot which hit the post, but they were just unlucky. Most of the time though, they were predictable, lacking width and got exploited by Chelsea’s pressing, compact defence, and smart distribution of players in key areas.

 

Written by Farkhanda Jabeen

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