Chelsea were defeated 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford this past weekend. However, instead of feeling disappointed by the performance, Blues fans seem to have been encouraged by their team’s display. This is somewhat understandable as there were a number of positives to take from the game.
High tempo and quality in possession
AVB has made it clear this is what he is striving for, and the team is slowly but surely catching up to his tactics. Last season, Ancelotti got the team to display good ball movement and quality in possession, however our build up was always too slow. Four games into the season, Chelsea showed quickness and sharpness when in possession, and created numerous chances. This side of our game was extremely encouraging and I hope to see more of it. AVB has talked about playing more vertically, and we are obviously doing that now. The team is reducing the amount of time required to get to the opposition’s half by pushing the center backs and full backs high up the field, to play the ball out to the midfielders, or directly to the forwards.
Better movement upfront, and better play in-between the lines
Mata has already shown that he will turn out to be an outstanding signing for Chelsea. He brings versatility to the team, as well as the ability to play in-between the lines. This is something Ancelotti asked Anelka to do last year, and though he was more than capable technically, the French man had the tendency to slow the play down. Juan Mata drops off to collect the ball, and has the ability to take on defenders, or play magnificent through balls to catch the opposition off guard. Though he is a good dribbler, it’s easy to see he favors playing quickly and simply. He is Spanish after all, and he believes in quick succession of short passes, one-twos, and through balls. He seems very much suited to help get the best out of Torres.
Players judged based upon performance
It’s refreshing to see that a youngster like Sturridge was given a start in such an important game as the United encounter. AVB has rewarded Sturridge’s performances by picking him ahead of Anelka, Malouda and Kalou. This is a sign that performance rather than seniority will get players into the squad. This idea was further backed up by AVB taking Lampard out at half-time. Frank has hardly been left out by any Chelsea coach in recent years, even when his performances have not been convincing. AVB had the courage to take him out at half-time on Sunday, and I thought that was positive. At this point, I feel Ramires is the only midfielder who has done enough to guarantee his spot on the team, for now…
Nobody should be untouchable!
Torres looked eager and confident, up until that terrible miss
Torres looked a bit like his old self. He was taking on defenders, sending in good passes, and finished outstandingly right after the start of the second half. This game was definitely going to boost his confidence, up until that moment …
Well now I just hope that he is able to look past the miss and build on all the positives in order to regain his form. He looked sharp yet again, seemed to have regained some quickness and power as well. This was a great performance to follow up his double assist Champions League act. One can only hope that “Nando” is slowly turning the corner. He, more than anybody else, will benefit from AVB’s new tactics and the arrival of players such as Mata and Mereiles to feed him upfront.
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