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Chelsea Tactical Analysis: Champions League Review

Leeds United v Chelsea - Premier League
Leeds United v Chelsea - Premier League
Chelsea FC
Modified 27 Mar 2021

Chelsea have undergone an intriguing transformation over the past two months under Thomas Tuchel. The German manager has drawn from his vast experience and knowledge of the game to give the Blues a tactical upper hand against some of the best teams in Europe.

Chelsea’s defense has shown tremendous improvement this year with the Blues keeping 11 clean sheets in their last 13 games. Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 formation has brought the best out of the Chelsea squad and has made the Blues a formidable force in the Premier League.

Chelsea have been considered underdogs in the UEFA Champions League but managed to pull off a thoroughly convincing performance against Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in the round of 16. Simeone is known for his ability to pull off upsets against European giants in the Champions League and adopted a conservative approach to the first leg.

On paper, Atletico Madrid adopted a 4-2-3-1 setup but transitioned to a 6-3-1 formation when Chelsea had the ball. The Spanish giants were intent on nullifying Chelsea’s charismatic wing-backs and managed to keep the Blues at bay with six defenders involved in a man-marking system.

Thomas Tuchel’s tactical acumen came to the fore, however, and his tweaks gave Chelsea a discernible upper hand. Chelsea’s three-man defense allowed Jorginho to form a double pivot with Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic found space between the lines. With Atletico Madrid’s defense persisting with their deep block, Chelsea were able to dominate the first leg and came away from the Wanda Metropolitano with a crucial away goal.

The second leg saw Atletico Madrid take a more proactive approach to the game with Joao Felix and Luis Suarez spearheading a 4-4-2 formation. Diego Simeone switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation off the ball but found the going difficult with Chelsea’s double pivot and midfield domination.

Mateo Kovacic and N’golo Kante were crucial to Chelsea’s success in the second leg and their ability to dribble past Atletico Madrid’s midfield press gave the Blues the upper hand in the final third. With Hakim Ziyech in full flow and Mason Mount pulling the strings for Chelsea, Atletico Madrid were unable to seize the initiative.

Diego Simeone’s side did create a few chances on the counter but with Marcos Llorente and Angel Correa putting in defensive shifts, Atletico Madrid failed to push numbers forward to present a conceivable threat. Chelsea’s tactical superiority and Thomas Tuchel’s machinations created a discernible advantage for the Premier League giants and handed a 3-0 aggregate victory.

Published 27 Mar 2021, 17:07 IST
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