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Tactical mistakes and the Need for Plan B

The game against Liverpool, yet again exposed weaknesses in Chelsea's overall game strategy and I thought, the context of this game would be a good time to take a step back and review some of the tactical mistakes picked up during the game.

How Liverpool nullified Chelsea's attack - Liverpool started the game, with a 3-5-2 formation with their full-backs playing much higher up the pitch and using 3 defenders to defend against the Chelsea centre-forward, Torres, or any breakaway counter attack through the center. This Liverpool game plan forced, the Chelsea attacking trio of Hazard, Oscar and Mata to drop deep to help in the defense and most of whatever chances they were creating from the deeper positions were difficult to execute as the stronger Liverpool wide players Johnson and Enrique would track their runs and win the ball back.

It`s true, once in a while Hazard or Mata through their sheer individual brilliance would beat a couple of defenders but the game was very predictable. The inadequacies of Torres playing as a lone centre-forward for all the hard running and team work that Torres puts into the game, it is certainly clear that he lacks the ability to play as a lone centre-forward and in situations where teams would utilize the same strategy that Liverpool did, would be an useless option.

So here's why:-

1 - Torres likes to get the ball at his feet or to use the space to make runs behind the defenders. If those options are taken away, by the opposing team it has very well nullified Chelsea's attack with no other attacking outlet.

2 - In a defensive setup, that Liverpool had on Sunday; we needed a centre-forward that would make runs into open spaces, dragging the 3 defenders out of their defensive shape so that others could run into the space created from Torres runs.

3 - Poor judgment of where to position himself the few times, we attacked from the wide spaces. Most may say, we lack width but I do feel; that we do not know what to do when we have created wide runs. More than often, it is the movement of the centre-forward that makes or breaks such an attack and this is yet another area that Torres offers no solution. Neither does he pull defenders away or time his runs into areas where the wide players can put the ball in.

One dimensional strategy in the center midfield - Defensively Mikel and Ramires has been excellent in the center of the field. They break down plays, but then do the very obvious, Ramires in his case just attempting to make his forward runs and Mikel wanting to give the ball back to the first player he can find.

This offers predictability to the opposition, knowing the limited options Chelsea have through the center. This needs to be addressed and resolved as soon as possible.

Very predictable team roster, and team shape - Brendan Rogers, knew the type of strategy he was picking for this game, because of the very predictability of knowing the team De Matteo was going to field. More importantly he also knew he could change his strategy during the game, with the strong belief that Chelsea would still continue with Plan A all along. Chelsea seem to rely very heavily on the movement of Oscar, Mata and Hazard without any plan B. This is where the fundamental problem lies, with no Plan B or adequate options of centre-forward players that can be relied upon. This strategy can only get Chelsea so far, and I do feel that they cannot be strong title contenders for the Premiership, if they are going to solely depend on Plan A all the time.

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The Journalist

Writer: r.morais  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 13 2012

Time: 4:38PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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sigh :/
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13/11/2012 17:05:00

Can we just move on...Jeez. How predictable were we?...The 3-5-2 (5-3-2 when they defended) u refer to as genius,was a ***** formation that made the scouser toothless...we carved them open enough times in the first half to seal the game up. The Oscar chance that he blazed over the bar,the Torres shot that rebounded to hazard but he couldn't connect well,the Mata chance at the last min of the half. Those were pretty good chances to seal the game up. The only time the scousers played a bit of football was when they switched back to their 4-3-3,put in mind our team was starting to tire out due to fatigue. The idea Rodgers tried to employ was to place bodies in midfield to crowd our trio so as not to have space to be creative,but once we got past the midfield,they were ours for the taken. Its not genius,they got lucky we didn't take our chances in front of goal. Onwards and upwards Westbrom next.
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13/11/2012 17:30:00

People are funny, Liverpool didn't play anything in the first half, we have enough chances to kill off the game which we didn't take, the only time they were like a football team was after their goal. So please guys let's move on and stop this blind criticism all because we didn't win.
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13/11/2012 19:19:00

pointless article that seems to have made up examples.
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13/11/2012 20:23:00

I understand the 'context' of the article but we did create enough chances that had we a proper #9 we'd have killed them fools
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14/11/2012 06:35:00

RDM has very little tactical ability though because there were countless times in that game where a tactically clued-up Manager would have made the necessary changes and killed the game
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14/11/2012 06:36:00

You raised some nice points, but the guys in here won't consider ur points, so I'll advice u to just take it in good faith,its all for the best, I know we'll come back after the west brom game and still wonder about the "missed chance" as we wondered about it against swansea.considering the fact that most of our first teamers will be highly knackered due to the international fixtures, all we need to do is pray and pray and hope rdm rest the core of our players for juve away, and morais, we are truly in transition, so we shouldn't expect to win winnable games anymore
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14/11/2012 07:05:00

I noticed u did not write anything about what the plan B is, you raised reasonable points, but you didn't highlight what we can do, formation, tactics etc no solution that we can debate on. Just saying
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14/11/2012 07:07:00

how about a 4-1-4-1 variation where we can then play Hazard at LW, Sturridge/Moses at RW but with room to move centrally (2nd striker) where necessary then we can still play Mata and Oscar in the middle. I know it leaves 1 player in the pivot but surely our attacking firepower can keep about 7 of the opponents 'busy' leaving our defenders to focus on that. Hazard & Sturridge/Moses will provide the width upfront negating the need for defenders to run forward and leave us exposed to counter attacks
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14/11/2012 09:01:00

We didn't win because we created about 4 or 5 golden chances and only took one of them. If Man Utd had created the same chances they'd have won at least 3-1.
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14/11/2012 09:24:00

we are way to narrow and this is one of our huge problems. we need to be able tochange to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-2 with genuine width,with it either being moses,marin or hazard we need to get people out hugging the touchlines and whipping balls in and dragging defenders out wide to allow space for the striker and oscar. i cant count the amount of times i have been to the bridge this season just to shout out every 5 minutes WE NEED SOME WIDTH!!!!!as much as i like the 4-2-31 i really think with the players we have and the huge need for width we would be better off switching to the 4-3-3 that served us so well for many years.
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14/11/2012 13:39:00

the first thing comentrators said after suarez scored was that chelsea need a quality sricker who will finish the chances he gets....imo el nnino was defending for fools rather than attacking for us....n he couldnt go past jamie caragher...whome are you kidding that lad is shyt....blame him for the loss and god for JT's injry
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14/11/2012 16:32:00

Are u kidding....RDM who outclassed barca bayern napoli arsenal manU spurs has very little tactical ability...avb has lots of tactical ability do u guys want him back.???? n RDM is more like Pep guardiola than jose mourinho.... so try and support a manager for a change...n RDM is alrdy phasing out the old gaurd developing a free flowing exiting style of play and is bringing up youngsters and giving em chances...IMO we will win 2-3 trophies without a doubt this term...stay calm and back the blues
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14/11/2012 16:42:00

LoL RDM "outclassed" Bayern, Barca, Napoli, Arsenal, ManUre, Spurs?? further questions or comments your honor :)
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15/11/2012 06:33:00

If only the chances created were utilized, we would be saying something different.
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15/11/2012 09:00:00

Thanks Desmondadonis for getting the context and your suggestions. I did not mean to criticize De Matteo, as given the options we have on the team he is doing his best, though we will realize very soon that we cannot depend on Oscar, Mata and Hazard all the time. The club also has done all that they can to give Torres the opportunity to succeed but so far the lad has still not been the best option for the CF role at Chelsea. My Plan B for this game, would be to move Hazard to the CF role and use Moses on the wings. This would have opened the game up more for Chelsea because Moses is good on the wings and Hazard with his pace and intelligent movement upfront would have given the 3 men defense a tougher time. Liverpool had no threat on the Chelsea goal, other than ball possession and suffocating the Chelsea attack by making them defend deeper. The quality a great coach brings to a game, is the element of surprise and this is what we see Mourinho do time and again during his time at Chelsea when the game was heading for a draw or if Chelsea were behind.
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15/11/2012 20:39:00

We are lacking a striker. That is it
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16/11/2012 11:26:00

And we need one. If Roman is tired of waiting for torres, I am also very tired
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17/11/2012 06:53:00


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