Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tactical Analysis: Sunderland 1 - 3 Chelsea

A sigh of relief echoed all around West London as Chelsea notched their first win in the Premier League under Rafael Benitez. Never have I really appreciated the way a team was set up by a manager like that as of the one that was put by Rafa against the Mackems. 

Natural movement for Chelsea can be seen in the following image , highlighting the defensive duties played as well as David Luiz's involvement in midfield along with Victor Moses's involvement in the flanks.

First off, the way Chelsea played yesterday reminded me of Mourinho's approach. Direct and straight to the point, if you're leading by one goal try to keep it and defend well. This was the case till Romeu was there. Oscar's arrival caused a problem as we had two players in the pivot who liked to attack but Oscar's movement upfront was well restricted by Rafa's team talk. Moreover Chelsea were tight in defense other then a few odd mistakes here and there which can easily be corrected. The goal Chelsea conceded was out of the blue, just could not be stopped and we have nothing to worry about facing something like that day in and day out.

David Luiz has been a revelation under Rafa, right from the City game. He has put in really good performances that has been instrumental for Rafa. Defending was not his cup of tea nor was it Di Matteo's forte back in the days of the Champions League  . Rafa's 4-2-3-1 with a rigid defensive structure along with the philosophy of nullifying the midfield has been absolutely brilliant so far and it will take quite some time for opponents to crack it down.

There was this 15 minute period where Sunderland were hounding at Chelsea, trying to force in another goal with the help of the crowd. It really did not work but it well highlighted the fact that Romeu was missed in the pivot. Romeu and Mikel are very similar players and its only the passing factor where Romeu actually edges the Nigerian who has far more experience than the young Spaniard. Ramires has been suspended for our Leeds game after picking up a final yellow card and it'll probably be Lampard and Romeu who will form the pivot for us but another problem Chelsea face is that Romeu could be out with injury. If that does happen then Chelsea will be in hot water.

Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Victor Moses have been given more defensive duties under Rafa and that has gone down really well so far. Moses has recently been chosen more over Oscar for providing Chelsea width. Under Di Matteo, the full-backs pushed forward as Mazacar crowded the middle of the pitch. This gave the opposition a huge chance to exploit that area and this was soon realized by many teams. Mazamo (if that makes sense) defend as a unit. Covering for their players who push forward while Moses provides width on either flanks.

Torres's role has also deeply changed, giving him 4 goals in 2 games. "He has been scoring plenty of goals in training" is what Rafa said before the Nordsjaelland game as all the journalists scoffed at his ironic statement. Isn't pretty funny now but lot more has to be seen whether Torres can keep his splendid form going .

The problem he faced is that injuries along age have hit him hard. At this point of time, people usually change the way they play. Torres no longer has his blistering turn of pace that left defenders dumbfounded when he found space in between them. So he has to adapt. Prime examples include our very own Super Frank Lampard. His role to move in deeper came with age and responsibility as senior player but mostly due to other players coming in. He still makes runs into the penalty box but not as often as before. He knows he has to defend and adapted. Another example is Paul Scholes who transformed himself to solve a part of United's midfield conundrum.  Torres has to do the same and it looks like Rafa might have found the code to crack him and bring his form back.

The Liverpool Torres will never be back, but that does not mean that he can't be good again.

Off to Japan now as we await another trophy and a chance to sing " Champions of the world, we know what we are ! "

Sherry Philips (Deputy Editor)


  1. We are likely to see Lampard + Oscar in d double pivot argainst leeds. I just hope Romeo won't be out for long

  2. God restore Romeo back we need him and also captin JT

  3. Great write up! This victory and CWC win will hopefully bring CFC back on track!

  4. Luiz & Romeu are immense.
    MAZAMO huh? Anyway, I agree Moses done so well on the right flank.
    But for Oscar, I disagree, because the young Brazilian is playing like young Lampard, he will make runs into the penalty box whenever he has the chance & trying to score like the way he scored in the previous UCL games but hurry back to his post to cover Cahill, Luiz & Rami.
    Great display I think & Rafael Benitez got plenty of plans to avoid from defeats.
    I love the way Benitez subs players when we played Nordsjaelland, Rami sub with Oscar, Ferreira replace Mata. Luiz moving into DM, Iva partner with Cahill as CBs, Ferreira back in his natural post, while Oscar move forward as AMF. Oscar did score & still we look solid in the back.
    If this continue, ManU & ManC can losing points too, you will never know what could happen in the 2nd half of the season.

  5. @ Sherry Philips (Deputy Editor)
    How old are you/how long have you been writing in English?