Mizgan Ahmed on 11th December, 2015
A 14th place Chelsea visit league leaders Leicester City on Monday in Match-day 16 of the topsy-turvy Barclays Premier League. Everybody expected this to be a 14th vs 1st clash, but in vice-versa manner.
It has been very evident this season that teams playing against Chelsea have a certain plan and the defending Champions seem to have succumbed under those plans. Mourinho’s men have struggled defending against pacy forward line players and teams who plays wide against them. The Portuguese is yet to get the best out of his fullbacks and his favored center-back pair of Terry and Cahill too have struggled against fast pressing teams.
Leicester City are going through their dreams at the moment, top of the Barclays Premier League after 15 games. Their strength certainly lies Chelsea’s weaknesses, Ranieri opts for a 4-4-2 with Mahrez and Albrighton in wide positions, Vardy and Ulloa/Okazaki upfront who can run channels and cause all sorts of problems to the Chelsea back-line.
The general play of Leicester City and how they can trouble Chelsea with their wide plays and pacy central counters.
A standard 4-4-2 with Vardy and Mahrez on right hand side of attack, Albrighton and Ulloa/Okazaki on left hand side. Simpson and Fuchs also like to go on overlaps whenever possible, they try and create to make 2 v 1 situation on that wide areas. Hazard and Willian have not been great when it comes to tracking back and helping their fullbacks, this will further encourage likes of Fuchs and Simpson to go forward and give Ivanovic or Azpilicueta loads of problems. Drinkwater and Kante prefer to stay compact when it comes to defending and look to go wide when moving forward.
The other problem of Chelsea is the gap between center-back and fullback, Terry and Cahill stay compact and wide plays from oppositions forces Ivanovic and Azpilicueta to stay wide, this creates a huge gap in between the back-line.
There’s that gap that we are talking about, Fabregas and Matic struggles to trackback exactly in that position so channel runs of Vardy and Ulloa can cause lots of problems, Mahrez and Albrighton also like to cut inside when fullbacks are on the run and exploit that gap whenever possible, so Chelsea’s defensive midfielders need to track back and ensure that they block that path.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that Leicester are favorites for this game and Chelsea have to play like Chelsea of last season if they have to salvage something out of this tough trip. The already aggravated problem of Chelsea can be compounded by Foxes’ pacy forward line players. Ranieri is experienced enough to mark the weaknesses in the Chelsea team and Mourinho need to get the best out of his players to counter that.
It is a clash of two teams of contrasting fortunes and unfortunately for Chelsea, they are the ones who are in the wrong side of that fortune. Mourinho have to get his tactics spot on where as Ranieri will be looking to continue the good work with the team.