Newcastle starting the game pressing high up the pitch, trying to cut Chelsea’s passing lanes into Jorginho and Kovacic while putting pressure onto the CB’s. From goal-kicks Newcastle were setting traps for the opposite CB and the midfielders while cutting the passing lane into the outside CB.
Below we see Saint-Maximan cutting the passing lane to Azpilicueta with Willock ready to press Kovacic and Almiron ready to press Rudiger.
Shelvey would drift wide to push Lewis up and create a diamond with Almiron which they would use to bypass the Chelsea press.
This would force Christensen wider and made the distance between him and Rudiger longer which left space for the ball to be played in behind.
Chelsea were occupying all 5 attacking lanes which meant that one of the wide men would be free due to Newcastle being in a back 4.
In the above photo you can see Alonso and Hudson-Odoi (free man) in the wide areas, Tammy Abraham central and Timo Werner with Mason Mount in the half spaces.
As Chelsea were struggling to play through the Newcastle press, Kovacic would drift wide left to create a box which gave them numerical superiority in the wide area and allowed them to play down the wings to progress up the pitch.
Kovacic and Jorginho would sometimes come really narrow (3-2-5) to push the wide CB into the wide areas which would drag the Newcastle wingers wider. This opened up space in central areas for Kovacic and Jorginho to operate in.
When Jorginho would drop into a CB position Kovacic would go in a vertical line to him which would move the Newcastle CM and open up a passing lane into Werner.
Below you can see Christensen making the pass through to Werner which takes 3 Newcastle players out of the game.
Newcastle pushed Willock up and were now pressing in a 4-2-4 and were very narrow to try and close the gaps into the midfielders and forwards. This led to Jorginho and Kovacic needing to drop very deep to receive the ball.
Chelsea had to look to go long to combat this and Abraham would make diagonal runs in behind the RCB who was occupied by Timo Werner with the German staying in the half space.
Newcastle were looking to exploit Hudson-Odois lack of defensive awareness by pulling Azpilicueta centrally with Saint-Maximin drifting inside to open up space for Lewis to overlap into.
Chelsea used rotations between the front 3 to move the Newcastle defenders out of their shape to open up space for runners.
Above we see Giroud dropping deep with Mount about to run in behind.
Mount going wider drags the CB out with him which leaves the Newcastle RB in a 2v1 situation with Timo Werner and Marcos Alonso. Above you see Werner make the run into the box to drag the RB central and open up space for Marcos Alonso.
The ball now gets switched to Alonso, the RB now has to come and close down Alonso leaving Werner unmarked in the box.
Werner is now unmarked in the box but was unable to convert his chance.
A very brief tactical look at some of the challenges Chelsea faced in a defensive and a build up point of view. Also a few points on how Chelsea broke down Newcastle by occupying the 5 attacking lanes whilst using rotations and good runs off the ball.
Image Credits: hdmatches.net