Chelsea have played in the famous Italian 3-4-3 system since they were last beaten 3-0 by an impressive Arsenal side way back in September, they’ve since only lost to West ham (2-1) and Tottenham (2-0) in 22 matches. They’ve racked up 13 clean sheets along the way, a testament to their defensive prowess and the success of the back three of Cesar Azipilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill. It’s as clear as day that to beat the blues, you have to get past the three defensive giants aforementioned. This article is going to show you how to expose their weakness and get on over them.
- PLAYING TWO STRIKERS UPFRONT.
With Antonio Conte deploying three center backs, opposing teams’ lone strikers are often left outnumbered, overpowered and isolated up front. Three at the back also allows Chelsea to outnumber opponents in the midfield area since the wingbacks support the midfield creating six midfield players for Chelsea when Chelsea have the ball.
Playing two strong forwards upfront like Burnley did with Arshley Barnes and Andre Gray certainly occupies the three center backs committing them to marking the two forwards .If the two forwards boast of pace and power, the better, playing long and direct balls to the two forwards will help bring midfield runners into the game to feed on the knock downs from the two forwards or even from the Chelsea Center Backs.
Tony Cascarino, A former Chelsea player seems to agree with this method, after the match that saw Chelsea held by Burnley to a 1-1 draw, he said “ Burnley were rewarded for being brave yesterday and playing two strikers(Arshley Barnes and Andre Gray) to test Chelsea’s back three.
- EXPLOIT ALONSO’S DEFENSIVE FRAILTIES.
Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso are being used as wingbacks both on the right and left respectively. The right-wing is comparatively stronger since Moses has the pace and engine to run up and down the right wing and is also supported a great deal defensively by the hardworking Pedro, however the left side is weaker since Alonso commits too much in attack and isn’t supported defensively by Eden Hazard who loves cutting in to the midfield.
The left side has to be targeted with quick balls in behind Alonso, this pulls out one of the three center backs to try to cover for Alonso and in consequently creating a 2v2 situation between the two remaining center backs and the two front men. The quick ball in behind Alonso can be crossed to the two front men or the winger dribbles past the on rushing cover and created a delicious 3 attackers vs. 2 defenders scenario. This strategy can also pull David Luiz and Cahill out wide, out of their comfort zones and easy to beat.
Not many teams in the team can beat Chelsea when it comes to player vs player quality; however tactical brilliance and incredible team work almost always triumphs over individual brilliance. Chelsea confirmed as much to us during their Champions league winning season when they dealt with superior opponents in Barcelona and Bayern but went ahead to win, ultimately clinching the coveted big-eared continental trophy.