The arrival of Thomas Tuchel has definitely had a big impact on Chelsea. In addition to shoring up their defense, Chelsea look like a team with a plan whenever they foray forward. There is a distinct change in the role of players under Thomas Tuchel and the system in itself is going through an overhaul of sorts.
In the latest edition of Chelsea Tactical Analysis, Pradhyum Reddy discusses Chelsea's effectiveness in wider areas in recent weeks by analyzing how the wing-backs and wide forwards are making Chelsea much more of a threat in the final third.
Thomas Tuchel loves to deploy attacking wing-backs and though there were apprehensions about how an out-and-out winger like Callum Hudson-Odoi would take to that role, the youngster has impressed in his new role.
The German coach has another formidable option in Reece James and the Englishman has been excellent in his more advanced position on the pitch. Tuchel uses this depth to enable the team to have more flexibility in attack.
Instead of using Timo Werner as the lone striker with two inside forwards on either side, at times he deploys Callum Hudson Odoi and the German striker as wide forwards with Mason Mount playing as the number 10. As such, there is a lot of focus on Chelsea keeping the ball in wider areas.
Chelsea's wing-backs have thrived under Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel encourages his right-sided and left-sided centre-backs to push wider, which creates an opportunity for the wing-backs to push further forward and create an overload in attacking areas. Marcos Alonso's resurgence has a lot to do with Tuchel preferring wing-backs to full-backs.
With wing-backs hugging the touchlines and providing width to the team, the wide forwards will keep the opposition full-backs occupied. And as the wing-backs progress higher up the pitch, the opposition full-backs will be forced to let go of the forwards and deal with the likes of Reece James and Marcos Alonso.
This in turn enables the wide forwards, the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Timo Werner, to find space in and around the final third. As a result, opposition teams often decide to drop deep in order to contain Chelsea.
The system works to Chelsea's advantage when they are defending as well. With most teams preferring to play out from the back these days, the forwards will press the centre-backs while the attacking midfielder, say Mason Mount, will stick close to the defensive midfielder, thereby forcing the defenders to pass the ball to the flanks.
When they do that, Chelsea's wing-backs will hound them and by doing that they isolate the opposition's attackers. While one wing-back goes ahead to press, the one on the other side will slot into defense to convert a three-man defense into a four-man defence.
So Chelsea keep a solid shape at all times and this helps prevent the opposition from building from the back and also nullifies their counter-attacking threat.