Chelsea Tactical Analysis vs Atletico Madrid 17/03/2021

In Possession:

Chelsea continued to build in their 3-2-5 shape and were taking advantage of Atleticos narrow press by keeping Azpilicueta and Rudiger wide, so they have space to progress the ball.

Havertz would often come wide left to drag one of Koke or Saul wide to open up space in the central areas.

This would then allow Werner to drop deep to drag Savic out of shape and Alonso would occupy the space he vacated centrally. This would then lead to Havertz being unmarked out wide with the opportunity and time to pick out a cross.

Below is an example of Azpilicueta in space out wide due to the narrow press from Atleti.

When Reece James and Marcos Alonso were being pushed back when building up, Hakim Ziyech or Kai Havertz would go out wide and exploit the space left by the Atleti full backs, who had pressed high, to offer an outlet to bypass the press.

In the 2nd half Atleti switched to a 5-4-1 formation to try and cover more ground horizontally when pressing. They also pressed higher up the pitch which made it difficult for Chelsea to build up through Rudiger and Azplicueta. Chelsea were now looking to exploit the gap between the Atleti wing backs and the outside CB and trying to get Werner in behind.

With Carrasco coming off, Atleti switched Saul out wide on the left and Chelsea looked to exploit this with most of the play coming down the right hand side through Reece James.

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Out of Possession:

Chelsea started off pressing aggressively and high up the pitch, trying to box Atleti in out wide and cut off the other side of the pitch. Kovacic would often stay back to create an overload to combat the long balls.

When Atleti were on the counter attack they would look to make runs between Zouma and the outside centre backs. Chelsea did well to control these counter attacks with Zouma being the one who engages with the ball carrier (most often was Felix) and Azpilicueta and Rudiger facing inside. This allows them to engage with Felix if they need to, allows them to block a shot as well as allows them to keep momentum if the ball is played in behind.

Below you see another example of Atleti looking to play through the gaps between Zouma and the outside centre backs. This time Azpilicueta being dragged out of position and opening space for Carrasco to make the run in behind.

Atleti now had numerical superiority when building up due to the switch to 3 at the back.

As Azpilicueta was not stepping up to press Felix this meant Kante was being overloaded and this allowed Atleti to have a free man in the middle which made it easier for them to progress the ball. This continued throughout the game as Felix was given more of a free role and he constantley dropped deep to create overloads.

Atleti were pushing Hermoso up the pitch to try and advance the ball but were unable to create any real chances due to poor crosses and Sauls lacks of attacking threat down the left. This did push Chelsea deeper as Hermoso would often be unmarked.

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