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Our new system without the ball


Spiller86

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Interesting feature from zonalmarking this week, on our new pressing style for those who'd like a look:

http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/10/26/chelsea-villas-boas-pressing/?

One thing I did find interesting was the connection he made between the new system, and the amount of fouls and cards we'd received. It's the sort of thing you don't think about. Perhaps we should tell Didier and 'Nando to chase but stay on your feet.

How has everyone felt it has gone so far? We clearly don't look as solid defensively, but then again that might be down to playing Luiz and Bosingwa instead of the far more solid Alex and Ivanovic.

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Seem to be pressing the ball reasonably well, but I have my doubts about the high line we play, especially when against better opposition. Man Utd exploited it and we were lucky not to concede more against them. When we play the likes of Man City, Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc... they will score for fun as well if we play that high, because one good through ball, one reasonably fast striker, and they're in on goal.

I would also hope that we address the problems we've been having defending high balls. We've seen ourselves struggle with corners and freekicks coming into the box recently, and against QPR they won nearly every header against Luiz, instantly putting us under more pressure.

The introduction of Ivanovic instead of Bosingwa would certainly help to sure things up a bit, or perhaps Ivan for Luiz and leave Bosingwa out at RB for his pace.

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Seem to be pressing the ball reasonably well, but I have my doubts about the high line we play, especially when against better opposition. Man Utd exploited it and we were lucky not to concede more against them.

Lucky? I thought they were lucky to get 3 goals and we were unlucky not to put in 15. We created far more chances and far better chances than any team we've faced so far, except maybe Valencia.

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Thanks for putting this up - I feel that our transition to the higher line has, despite some fallout in various games & the increase in cards, been progressing pretty well given that, as the article points out, we're conceding fewer shots than anyone else. On the other hand it's early days yet and still of concern given what happened on Sunday against a lesser spare-parts side.

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Good post Spiller. That is a very interesting article and it is clear this pressing game we now play has had a very adverse affect to our fouls and cards record.

Good point too about the upcoming Arsenal match. We should be way too strong for them and it should be a case of give Van Persie an early kick and it's job done. But knowing how they break at speed (maybe not so much now there is no Nasri, Fabregas & Wilshere), and remembering how sides like West Brom and Norwich caused us problems on the break, if we are not careful, we could end up losing our second London derby in the space of a week and I don't think this particular forum will be able to cope with that scenario!!

Edited by Nibs
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Lucky? I thought they were lucky to get 3 goals and we were unlucky not to put in 15. We created far more chances and far better chances than any team we've faced so far, except maybe Valencia.

Yes.

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A very good article IMO. Right now we need the forwards to chase down and not allow the oppositions midfield time to pick out passes that can exploit our lack of pace at CB with Terry, Alex, and Ivanovic. Torres is more than capable aside from his errant challenge but I feel like Sturridge & Mata still are a little hesitant. I don't think Mata will ever excel at it because of his size but Sturridge will need to play his part.

As we get more comfortable with AVB's tactics I feel like the CBs will fare better.

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I find this interesting:

And, more than that, they’re conceding fewer shots than any other side in the league. They may not have a particularly good record at keeping clean sheets, but if Manchester United’s tendency to concede a lot of shots hinted at a heavy defeat, Chelsea’s tendency to concede few hints at an upcoming decent run defensively.

But…

This doesn’t take account of the type of shots Chelsea are conceding, and their record of conceding the least number of shots can also be attributed to having the highest average percentage of possession so far.

I'd add to that the problems we've had with free kicks. QPR's penalty aside, from Man U on we conceded three very similar looking goals. Solve this little problem, and continue or even improve on our record for the number of free kicks conceded, and those clean sheets, at first glance mysteriously absent this season, will surely come in leaps and bounds.

A lot of the apparent deficiencies (defending of free kicks included) can I think,. be put down to the team taking time to adapt to the new system, and so we can very realistically expect continual improvements over the rest of the season.

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I find this interesting:

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I'd add to that the problems we've had with free kicks. QPR's penalty aside, from Man U on we conceded three very similar looking goals. Solve this little problem, and continue or even improve on our record for the number of free kicks conceded, and those clean sheets, at first glance mysteriously absent this season, will surely come in leaps and bounds.

A lot of the apparent deficiencies (defending of free kicks included) can I think,. be put down to the team taking time to adapt to the new system, and so we can very realistically expect continual improvements over the rest of the season.

We struggled a few years back defending set pieces despite being very good in the air. I think concentration lapses are mostly to blame.

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We struggled a few years back defending set pieces despite being very good in the air. I think concentration lapses are mostly to blame.

I don't entirely disagree with you there. However, it could also be argued that lapses in concentration are more likely as a team struggles to adapt and come to terms with a new system.

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I definitely like the way we have been playing and we have to persevere with it even if we do lose a few matches.

We should be able to give Arsenal a lot more problems than they give us.

Although we have looked vulnerable on the break most of the goals we have conceded have been from set pieces and poor defending not counter attacks.

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I read this and it is a very good read. The stat that shows we have allowed the least amount of shots on goal in the Prem League so far flys in the face of the idea we are much more open defensively and shows you can play open attacking football without being wide open for attack. The most impressive thing about this whole thing though is surely how quickly the changes have been implemented. I dont know if that is entirely down to AVB being brilliant, the players being intelligent and good enough to pick it up or a combination of the 2. But the changes have happened in a very short space of time, and long it may it continue.

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one thing i cant ever remember seeing chelsea do before is operate an actual back line which moves up to play offside in unison.. not saying we did it every game but it certainly stood out when i did see it..

what they say about pressing and fouling is certainly true - we are aggressive now when not in possession which is pretty un chelsea-like. We dont really have a midfield capable of tackling well enough to keep the foul rate down which is a worry.. Mikel is a liability. Im not sure yet how good Meireles is but Ramieres isnt that hot tackling either..As we saw against QPR, keep Didi away from tackles. Nando and Anelka rarely tackle.

Players like JT and Ivanovich do well and Lamps can press well a lot of the time..

I like pressing as its a more exciting match for fans to see, though it takes a lot of energy and Chelsea were known to play till the final whistle, but i doubt well be able to keep that tag with this pressing game..we will see our players get tired in long battles.

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I think the problem that we're seeing Re: discipline, is that the nature of our pressing system is very high risk. We saw against Manchester United that if a team gets out of the press, we're very vulnerable on the counter when quality players are given time on the ball. Hence players are instructed to foul if an opponent looks like getting past rather than let him go. That naturally leads us to giving away plenty of fouls and also yellow cards given that at least some of those fouls are professional in nature. I think it's the reason we've seen Frank for example go to ground much more often than in previous seasons, because you really can't afford to let a player past.

The other point he makes Hutch about the chances we're conceding is that while we're conceding very few, the ones we are conceding are very good chances.

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Good article, Spiller. Zonal Marking and The Swiss Ramble are my two thinking-man's blogs.

A couple of niggles. As Hutch said, although Chelsea have looked very vulnerable against breakaways, if you subtract the goals conceded on set pieces, the overall defensive stats look a lot better. The breakaways are costing Chelsea yellow and red cards, but not too many goals (so far.)

The other, less important niggle is the closing line, which wonders if AVB will stay with the press against Arsenal. I don't think that's really open to question. The press is now Chelsea's defensive system and integrates with the attack. I'd be surprised if we ever see AVB defend deep.

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I don't know if it was apparent (probably not!) but there's a little typo in my first post in this thread. Solve this little problem, and continue or even improve on our record for the number of free kicks conceded, and those clean sheets, at first glance mysteriously absent this season, will surely come in leaps and bounds." should have read:

Solve this little problem [of conceding goals from free kicks], and continue or even improve on our record for the number of shots conceded, and those clean sheets, at first glance mysteriously absent this season, will surely come in leaps and bounds.

And Spiller, you're right

This doesn’t take account of the type of shots Chelsea are conceding, and their record of conceding the least number of shots can also be attributed to having the highest average percentage of possession so far.

A deep defence is likely to concede lots of shots but a high proportion of them will be long-range efforts, whilst a higher defence is more prone to one-on-ones, which are naturally very good goalscoring opportunities. As mentioned earlier, this is a particular problem for Chelsea at the moment.

Having a defence that is "more prone to one-on-ones" also leads us to expect a higher than average number of free kicks conceded (including penalties); as well as the risk of last man/direct goalscoring related opportunity related sending offs.

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It's something we're going to have to deal with. I personally think AVB faces his next big test against Arsenal. We lost the first of these, if we want to be considered with the favourites we have to be beating Arsenal at home.

It'll be interesting to see how our high line plays out, and it'll also be interesting given that our style is a bit closer to Arsenal's than in previous days. Walcott, RVP and Gervinho all have pace and can expose us if we're not absolutely spot on, similar to how United did.

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I watched the Madrid game last night and they played a very high intensity pressing game very high up the pitch against Villareal. It seems that even Jose has seen how effective this is for Barca and is looking to implement it.

AVB is a big fan of Guardiola and you can see his influence in the new style we are looking to adopt.

It may bring a bit of pain in the short term but I think it has to be the right way to go.

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I too liked the overhead shot of barcelona pressing - have always been impressed with how quickly they win the ball back - not just with their incessant passing. Ruud Gullitt commented on one of our home games against Barcelona that we were giving away free kicks because we were panic tackling whereas they were just pressing - not really tackling - if you tackle they can dive, break your rhythm, yellow card, frustration, red card.

I thought we were at our best for pressing a few years back with Lampard, Essien and Makelele - it was like watching a pack of dogs - a bit of miss control by the opposition and they spotted the weakness and hunted them into another mistake and eventually break - Jose's great philosophy was the speed to convert defence into attack. I'm tired now - three posts in one night - nice wine.

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I watched the Madrid game last night and they played a very high intensity pressing game very high up the pitch against Villareal. It seems that even Jose has seen how effective this is for Barca and is looking to implement it.

AVB is a big fan of Guardiola and you can see his influence in the new style we are looking to adopt.

It may bring a bit of pain in the short term but I think it has to be the right way to go.

I noticed this last season in Madrid's second match against Barca. In the first match Jose did his usual defense and Madrid were embarrassed. Second match, and for every match thereafter against Barcelona, Madrid has pressed high and tried to disrupt Barca from the beginning, trying to get the quick turnover. That kind of style needs pacy players, one reason why Jose went without a center-forward and put Ronaldo upfront for one of the matches. He wanted as much pace on the pitch as possible.

The problem Madrid ran into every time they did the high pressing is that they got tired. It would work for a half or so and then they just wore out. Partly that's because their own style doesn't emphasize keeping the ball, so they were never able to rest. Barca would get the ball back fairly quickly and then Madrid were back to chasing and pressing again.

I'll be very interested to see what Mourinho tries this season against Barca.

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It's something we're going to have to deal with. I personally think AVB faces his next big test against Arsenal. We lost the first of these, if we want to be considered with the favourites we have to be beating Arsenal at home.

It'll be interesting to see how our high line plays out, and it'll also be interesting given that our style is a bit closer to Arsenal's than in previous days. Walcott, RVP and Gervinho all have pace and can expose us if we're not absolutely spot on, similar to how United did.

Well that didn't work out so well for us did it?

Question becomes do we prefer to lose 5-3 than win 1-0. We were too open and our high line was exposed when put to the test. AVB needs to learn the value of flexibility. There are times to play the uptempo, high pressing, high line, and there are times when not to do that.

Essentially what happened yesterday was Arsenal did to us what we normally do to them. At 3-3, it's nice to see the manager try and go to win it, and it was after all a slip from Terry, but noone remembers it was a slip at the end of the season. What people will remember is that we lost 5-3 because we played too high, and too open.

It was the best looking game I've watched us play since 4-4 against Liverpool no doubt. A fantastic advertisement for the Premier League. But when you're playing with the big boys you don't take the lead twice and then lose. You can say we played the right way, but that is the same gambit we've been slamming Arsenal fans for saying, for the past five years.

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