Saturday, March 25, 2023

Mojo Added: How Conte Has Turned Around Chelsea’s Frail Defensive Performances

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Prasoon Sur
Prasoon is a law student who lives in the North East of India. Wildly innovative, football is more than a passion for him.

Post the humiliation at the Emirates Stadium, Chelsea were in the dire need to make a much needed tactical change to meet their urge of finding themselves battling for domestic silverware yet again. A visit from a high calibre club was indeed the fixture Chelsea needed to test their newly adopted 3-5-2 formation which is so dear to their gaffer.

Satisfactorily for Antonio Conte, when his bunch of Lions roared at the Stamford Bridge, the mourning Foxes had no choice but to surrender and walk away ashamedly. The 2-0 win over Hull City was the foundation for Conte to yield substantial results from the formation he advocates. With the trio of César Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill sitting at the back, it is the wingbacks in the shape of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso that hold paramount importance in the altered scenario.

The home side started to click against Leicester City on the Saturday afternoon fixture once the three men at the back started to play the ball comfortably from the back. Defensively sound, disciplined in the middle and lethal up front, Chelsea dictated the game with ease. What Alonso and Moses did was they drew the Foxes’ fullbacks down the flanks as a result of which the Chelsea attackers easily surged into Leicester City’s box. The midfielders also troubled Claudio Ranieri’s defence as they kept plucking Leicester’s men with ease, with Diego Costa making an impact inside the box as well as in the vicinity of it.

Moreover, the three at the back were having the license to play higher up the pitch owing to the fact that the wingbacks were thoroughly ethical in their assignment of running up the pitch and also tracking back when necessary. Nemanja Matić, Pedro and Moses on the right formed a trio of three to ensure the ball moved in Chelsea’s favour in an effortless manner. On the other side, Alonso’s vicious deliveries into the box gelled well with the creativity and pace of Eden Hazard and tenacity of Matić to provide an impeccable setup for the Blues. The Spaniard has already created quite a lot of chances.

Chelsea scored three without a reply from an offensive oriented side like Leicester City and despite some moments of offensive forays from Ranieri’s troops, Chelsea’s defence looked too disciplined to concede a goal. The 3-5-2 system forked wonders at Juventus and although a couple of splendid games shall not be enough to decipher what good can it do to Chelsea in the long run, the signs coming from the 3-5-2 formation look pretty decent.

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