The Invisible Men – Story Of Chelsea’s Defense Against Manchester City

Last night, Chelsea had a drubbing in the hands of current Premier League champions Manchester City. Sarav discusses the defensive mistakes made by Chelsea that led to six goals. Yes. SIX.

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So last night at Etihad stadium, Manchester City thumped Chelsea 6-0 and it is officially the worst defeat Chelsea ever had since I started watching football as a 8-year-old kid. As much as I wanted to turn the TV off, I had a duty as a writer of Chelsea Echo. It was much more painful when I watched it again in order to fully understand the defensive mistakes Chelsea made that led to 6 goals.

While I wanted to analyze the entire match, for the lack of time, I decided to write about just the goals that were conceded by Chelsea. In attack, I thought Hazard and Higuain were decent. There was, of course, a lot of mistakes with the attack but I am not going to talk about them here. Following below is the analysis of each goal we conceded last night.

Formations:

Manchester City were in their usual 4-3-3 formation.

Courtesy: Sky Sports

As expected, Chelsea were in a 4-3-3 formation as well.

Courtesy: Sky Sports

Goal 1:

In attack, Pep’s Man City always try to be as wide as possible while their midfielders and striker (Aguero) find themselves in the half spaces. The wingers (Sterling and Bernardo Silva) would be on the widest parts of the pitch.

In the pic above, it can be seen that Sterling and B. Silva were on the opposite ends without any marker which gave them a lot of time and space. Aguero is in the half-space (area between Luiz and Rudiger). Before DeBruyne kicked the ball, Alonso warned Hazard about Bernardo Silva on the right which for some reason Hazard didn’t listen to. To be honest, Hazard didn’t have much time to get to Silva. Issue here is that both Azpi and Rudiger were trying to mark Gundogan while both Luiz and Alonso were trying to contain Aguero. This means there was a lot of space and time for both wingers of Man City.

Seeing the space on the right, DeBruyne passed the ball to Silva who crossed the ball across the box. The ball deflected off Luiz and found Sterling. With a chance like that, City were never gonna miss.

A lot of goals from City are always with the help of their wingers who are very good with crosses and cutbacks. When you are that good in that aspect, there’s always a chance to score an easy tap-in. For some reason, a lot of teams in the Premier League don’t understand this.

And by the way, the freekick was awarded courtesy of a foul from Jorginho. He was a little high up the pitch when City had the ball and missed to mark DeBruyne. Seeing as he won only 57.1% of his 7 duels, I am not too surprised.

Mistakes made by: Alonso, Azpilicueta, Jorginho.

Goal 2:

For the second goal, once again it was a bit hasty from Jorginho. It doesn’t matter what your position or role is, every player in a team has defensive duties at some time. While we should not expect Jorginho to intercept or tackle like Kante used to do, he should have been able to do something.

Seeing Zinchenko beating Azpi easily in a 1v1 situation, Jorginho stepped in to recover the ball from the City leftback. This gave Aguero some space to shoot which he, of course, did. I am not taking away anything from Aguero as it was one hell of a shot from outside the box. I think if Jorginho didn’t step forward to get the ball from Zinchenko, Aguero wouldn’t have had the chance to shoot. All these years, he hasn’t scored a lot of goals like this.

Also, if you look at Kante in the above pic, he is nowhere close to Aguero. While I like this advanced role of N’golo, I would love to see him help out Jorginho when needed.

Now, the ball didn’t go straightly into the net. It touched Kepa’s hand while on its way to the back of the net. As much as I love the young Spaniard, I think he needs to get better and stronger.

Mistakes made by: Jorginho, Kepa.

Goal 3:

The third goal epitomized the state of Chelsea’s defense completely. It was a result of three half-assed clearances by Chelsea players which then was converted into a goal by Aguero.

It was a goal created and finished by Aguero. Initially, it was Aguero who was fouled by Luiz which resulted in the freekick that led to goal. One interesting thing about the freekick was Aguero was in a clear offside position when DeBruyne took the freekick. While everyone was running towards the goal, Aguero was running away finding himself in a bit of a space.

The plan was the ball from the freekick would be headed by one of City’s taller players towards Aguero with space. However, Higuain was in front of Aguero and kicked the ball away, although half-heartedly. The ball reached Zinchenko who was once again excellent and sent the ball to Aguero then was covered by the tall guy Luiz. The Brazilian headed the ball outside the box, once again an half-assed attempt by a Chelsea player.

The ball then reached Barkley. And this is where it got worse. Barkley, with no idea what he was doing, headed the ball inside the box. Finally, Aguero and the ball, they found each other. Third time’s the charm.

While every Chelsea fan was quick to blame Barkley for the goal, most of them failed to notice the half-assed attempts by Higuain and Luiz to clear the ball away.

Mistakes made by: Higuain, Luiz, and Barkley.

Goal 4:

Once again Alonso didn’t even care about where Bernardo Silva was. Even though, that didn’t lead to the goal, I felt Alonso never learns from his mistakes.

While Gundogan definitely had space and time to pick his shot, it wasn’t a great attempt. The shot wasn’t well timed and being the costliest goalkeeper in the world, you’d expect Kepa to save something like this. Poor.

Mistake made by: Kepa.

Goal 5:

Yes, it was a shitty night for Azpi. He had a horrible time defending against the likes of Sterling and Zinchenko and the penalty didn’t make anything better.

The spot kick was won after Sterling cut inside Cesar Azpilicueta and the Spaniard made a late lunge of a tackle
Courtesy: AP

Defending Sterling was always gonna be an uphill task and sadly, Azpi wasn’t up for it today. He is, after all, 29 years old now. Is it time to #RecallReece from Wigan and groom him for the future?

Mistake made by: Azpi.

Goal 6:

The last goal was the result of brilliant combined effort by David Silva and Zinchenko. Upon seeing Silva with the ball, Zinchenko moved away from RLC and found himself with huge space behind the Chelsea midfielder. With the inch-perfect pass from Silva and a fantastic cross from Zinchenko, Sterling had another goal to his name.

Zinchenko’s positional awareness and crosses were nothing but excellent in this game. Definitely has a great future ahead.

For Chelsea, it was the width of Guardiola’s team that came back to haunt them.

Conclusion

Chelsea’s defense was narrow, disorganized and completely awful. Players like Alonso, Jorginho etc., need to step up their defensive game before the top-4 finish gets out of sight.

Fans have the right to be disappointed, but I still think we need to stick with Sarri. But yes, he needs to change his starting eleven and review his in-game management tactics.

Please let me know your comments below and on Twitter. You can follow me here.

Written by Sarav

2 thoughts on “The Invisible Men – Story Of Chelsea’s Defense Against Manchester City

  1. Joginho,Alonso,Luiz,Rudiger and Azpi must step up their game.Set piece and corners this season has been a threat to the team of which years back classified as one of the best club in term of defence

    Liked by 1 person

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