Chelsea kept their top spot intact with an impressive come from behind 2-1 win against bitter London rivals Tottenham at Stamford Bridge, goals from Pedro and Moses either side of half-time sealing the victory after Eriksen had put the visitors ahead very early in the game.
Conte named an unchanged lineup for the sixth consecutive game with back three of Luiz, Cahill and Azpilicueta; wing-backs Alonso and inform Moses; flexible pair of Pedro and Hazard in behind Costa. The two central midfielders were Kante and Matic.
Let’s switch our attention towards the tactics board and analyse half by half how the game panned out and what did Conte change tactically to out-fox Spurs in the second half and eventually won the game:-
We can see the first half player map in the image above, the white arrows representing high press which was implemented by Spurs, to combat that wing-backs Alonso and Moses were deeper than they usually want to be, Walker out ran Alonso on that right hand side. Spurs became three at back while pressing, Wimmer from left back never joined the high press, Son and Alli got themselves there, Austrian staying back meant that Pedro’s forward run is marked and Moses is also deeper than he’d love to be.
Chelsea were very keen to play out from back which caused problems for them, they in literal terms played into the press of Spurs. This allowed away side to squeeze on and no space was left in between the lines, Costa and Hazard weren’t getting involved much as a result. Due to the pressing, if a single pass in midfield was slow or not accurate, likes of Alli, Eriksen and Son along with Dembele were into it pressing and not allowing time or space to the player.
The second half player map shows a different spectacle, Conte made one smart and incisive tactical change by bringing Hazard and Pedro more centrally than they were in the first half and pushed the wing-backs further forward.
As we can see in the circled area, the tuck in of Hazard and Pedro forced Dembele and Wanyama to be more defensive in their roles, resulting in Chelsea wing-backs all of a sudden getting more space, the home side stopped playing out from back on more occasions in the second half.
As a result of this, Chelsea got more control on the ball both in central and wide areas. The interchange play was quick and suddenly they had more options on the ball. Spurs press was breached very easily as there was space created in between the midfield, defence and forward line.
The second Chelsea goal was conceded as a result of some poor defending by Dier at first place and then Wimmer. Firstly, Dier didn’t match Costa’s run till the touchline, then Wimmer got too central as a result and forgot Moses in there far side free as a bird. Son also failed to track the run from the wing-back but I suppose it was more back-line mistake rather than tracker.
The game was turned and with a slight tactical switch, Chelsea had the upper hand in the game and looked likelier to score the third and finish off the game after that.
All in all a satisfactory win for the Blues and they stay top of the Premier League. It was a test for Conte’s men here but the way they responded in the second half was admirable, probably goal late in the first half turned things in their favour. A slight switch in playing style made Tottenham looked they were all over the place and disjointed.
By Mizgan, on 26th November, 2016
Twitter – @mizgans