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1chelsea liked a post in a topic by Vesper in The English Football Thread
The Fiver is acutely aware that we’ve been yammering on a bit too much recently about Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Frank O’Farrell and Herbert Bamlett’s 12 defeats in a row in 1930 and all that. Sorry. But just look! What can you do? Ten players in the attacking third, your £80m central defender at the far post waiting for a ball from a £50m right-back who can’t cross, your left-back on the right-hand corner of Istanbul Basaksehir’s six-yard box, and your last man, who at the best of times moves around the pitch with the speed, power and athletic grace of Withnail, loitering 20 yards inside the opponents’ half. Just look!
'You don't see those goals at this level': Solskjær reflects on defensive disaster
Hats off to Ole, though, because nobody ever thought it possible to make Kevin Keegan look like the freak result of an overly ambitious genetic experiment utilising the genes of Karl Rappan, Helenio Herrera and Otto Rehhagel. But he’s managed it. Nobody thought Demba Ba would ever score a funnier, more gut-clenching and trouser-bothering goal than the one involving $tevie Mbe, either, but here we are in the laundrette again. It’s one hell of an achievement. “It is my responsibility,” Ole says, perhaps unwisely drawing attention to himself during a week which has seen Mauricio Pochettino popping up on telly.
Former captain Rio Ferdinand was also on the box, telling the tens who regularly tune in to BT Sport that such was the absurdity of the lapse, it should lead to fisticuffs in the dressing room, preferably instigated by the manager. We paraphrase, but only slightly, we’re really not using much artistic licence here. Asked whether United’s abysmal form might cost him the gig, Solskjær declined to comment. “You have to stay strong. I’m employed to do a job by the club and I do it to the best of my ability.” Again, given the circumstances, not the smartest choice of words, and unless his team showcase a coherent strategy against Everton this Saturday, finally, at the 102nd time of asking, he could be out the door. Should the worst happen, he’d become the first United manager to leave without any silverware whatsoever since the aforementioned O’Farrell. The oft-referenced Bamlett didn’t win anything either. Apologies yet again, but what can you do?
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Politics & Stuff
Our commodities desk in London went heavily leveraged short on Bonny at 65 usd pb
closed out all positions at 20 usd pb
and are getting insane year end bonuses
other than that, I do not have much to add
I myself do very little business with Nigeria
the security risk is off the charts atm
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by Atomiswave in Super Frank Thread
I have no negative thing to say, we were sublime from first min to last, how it should be. The team about to take shape and if injuries dont bottle-neck us we will be just fine moving ahead becoming a proper squad where everyone knows their part.
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by Blue Armour in Super Frank Thread
Our pressing game was superb, and made all the difference today!
4-3-3 with Mount and Havertz to harass opponents and Kante to sweep up behind...that's the way to go.
And we have two bombing full-backs to compliment the attack...ngl, this reminds me of our play from ten years ago. Exciting stuff.
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by Vesper in Super Frank Thread
The pressers, the creators and the target men: Who is in Chelsea’s best attack?
After watching back-to-back goalless draws, Chelsea fans were treated to a glimpse of what their new-look team might be capable of in attack against Krasnodar on Wednesday.
Despite labouring for long spells against a team missing eight players due to a combination of COVID-19 and injury, Frank Lampard’s team eased clear in the final 15 minutes with an emphatic Timo Werner penalty before Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic registered their first goals of the season.
All of Chelsea’s attacking options have now shown flashes of form in the early weeks of this season and, with eight players to pick from to fill three or possibly four starting spots, Lampard’s selection decisions will only get trickier. Who gets into his first-choice attack? The answer to that question will depend partly on form and fitness, but also partly on which qualities are required against different types of opponents.
Digging into the advanced numbers, The Athletic takes a look at some of the possible combinations Lampard will be considering over the course of this season…
The best pressing line-up?
Pressing is the separator in elite football. A smothering press can turn a talented team into a dominant one, as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, in particular, have consistently demonstrated over the past decade. Both men have proven their brilliance in devising bespoke pressing systems to nullify the strengths and exploit the weaknesses of various opponents, and the success of any press at the top level requires a smart game plan and excellent coaching.
But it also requires the right personnel on the pitch, players with the mobility and mindset to relentlessly hunt the ball as well as the intelligence to do so in a coordinated way. Some players are more suited to it than others, and Lampard — who wants effective pressing to be a cornerstone of his team’s style — always bears this in mind when picking his Chelsea team.
The advanced data collated by Statsbomb indicates that Mason Mount excels in this regard. Last season in the Premier League he averaged 22.8 “pressures” per 90 minutes (defined as the number of times a player applies pressure to an opponent who is receiving, carrying or releasing the ball), making him the most frequent presser among Chelsea’s attackers. His pressures also helped his team win back possession within five seconds 28.1 per cent of the time — a combination of volume and effectiveness that stands up well to comparison:
To the surprise of no one who watched him in Borussia Dortmund’s pressing system, Christian Pulisic also looks good by this metric. Olivier Giroud actually compares favourably to Tammy Abraham, though it’s worth noting the Frenchman started just 12 times in the Premier League last season and played fewer than half as many minutes as his younger rival. Now 34, it’s reasonable to wonder if he could maintain these pressing numbers as a regular starter.
Then we come to the new signings. Kai Havertz was part of an effective press at Bayer Leverkusen last season, but the numbers suggest he didn’t do a lot of the heavy lifting in it; he ranked ninth among regular starters for the number of pressures he averaged per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga. Werner was slightly more active in hunting the ball at RB Leipzig, but less effective in doing so:
Ziyech’s eye-catching numbers are taken from Ajax’s remarkable run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19, because it’s the largest sample size in terms of minutes played that we can analyse and advanced metrics for his Eredivisie career are not publicly available. It’s not perfect, but it does give an insight into what he’s capable of — and marks him out as very well suited to Lampard’s high-pressing aspirations.
On balance Chelsea’s best attacking line-up, in terms of pressing, is probably Pulisic on the left and Ziyech on the right with Mount behind Abraham through the middle, though there are a couple of caveats. The first is that Werner and Havertz have proved they are very capable of being part of highly successful pressing units, and Hudson-Odoi has the physical tools too. The second is that the organisation and coaching of Lampard’s pressing system are every bit as important, if not more so, than the individual players tasked with making it happen on the pitch.
The most creative line-up?
For a fuller picture of the creative value a player brings to a team, you have to look beyond assists, and even beyond key passes and chances created. Goalscoring opportunities can be created in a variety of ways, and the most valuable attackers are the ones who most consistently create shooting chances for themselves or their team-mates.
Shot creation was a problem for Chelsea at key moments of last season and Willian, the most prolific shot-creator in the squad in 2019-20 (averaging 5.12 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes) left as a free agent. Chelsea’s spectacular spending spree in the subsequent transfer window, however, should ensure this particular issue won’t hamper Lampard again:
An average of 4.33 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes last season made Havertz the best shot creator in the Bundesliga outside of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Werner wasn’t far behind at the hub of Leipzig’s formidable attack, and Ziyech’s average of 4.76 during Ajax’s run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2018-19 bolsters his reputation as one of Europe’s most creative attackers. There was only a marginal drop to 4.36 last season as the Dutch giants were eliminated at the competition’s group stage.
Hudson-Odoi’s average of 4.69 is the other number that stands out, even if it is derived from only 852 minutes in the Premier League last season. This relatively small sample size mounts a reasonably compelling case that he could have a more prominent role to play against teams who set up to frustrate Chelsea; his expected assists per 90 minutes (xA90) average of 0.28 also looks good in this company.
Chelsea’s most creative attacking line-up might well be Werner supported by Havertz, with Ziyech on the right and one of Pulisic or Hudson-Odoi drifting in from the left. Against particularly deep-lying opponents, it might even be Havertz operating as a false nine, as he did to great effect for Leverkusen after the resumption of the 2019-20 Bundesliga season. Or if Lampard wants to go full Guardiola, he could field Mount and Havertz as attack-minded No 8s in a 4-3-3 system, as seen in the closing stages of the Krasnodar win.
The best line-up in transition?
Most opponents won’t give Chelsea many opportunities to attack in transition, but there will be moments this season that call for speed and precision in the open field. The good news for Lampard is that he has no shortage of attackers who are capable of doing damage with and without the ball at their feet against teams scrambling to get back into defensive shape.
Werner is the obvious choice to start up front here. As well as being easily the fastest of Chelsea’s strikers, his movement without the ball is excellent and he is devastating on the shoulder of the last defender, as Southampton found out to their cost earlier this month. He also proved himself to be a very adept ball carrier at Leipzig last season, as the table below illustrates:
Behind him, Chelsea’s best transition line-up should feature a blend of speed, creativity and dribbling ability. Havertz, deceptively quick across the ground for a player of his size and preternaturally gifted at timing runs into the penalty area in counter-attack situations, is also a natural choice. On the wings, there seems little to separate Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi, but both are more progressive ball carriers than Ziyech.
The answer, then, is probably to have one of Pulisic or Hudson-Odoi starting on the right in Chelsea’s best transition attack, with the other in their more natural left-sided position. A bonus for Lampard is that this combination has significant overlap with arguably the most creative attack he can field — meaning that, even if his team are denied transition opportunities, chances and goals should still be found.
The most effective Plan B?
What if all else fails? Even the most talent-rich attacking teams occasionally find themselves challenged to chase a goal or two in the final minutes against opponents hell-bent on frustrating them.
Lampard’s approach in these situations has often been to throw more and more attackers onto the pitch, hoping that a critical mass of individual talent will do the trick. It isn’t particularly subtle, and isn’t necessarily effective if the balance of the team is lost; Chelsea experienced this in the minutes leading up to Abraham’s slightly fortunate equaliser against West Bromwich Albion last month.
Giroud has been typecast as the quintessential “Plan B” for much of his career in English football. He’s always had the talent to play a bigger role for a good team but it’s easy to see why managers have chosen to use him as a contingency option. The striker who Eden Hazard once labelled “the best target man in the world” excels at doing the little things that make those around him better, as well as presenting a goal threat all of his own.
Despite having the physical potential to be the focal point of a slightly more direct attacking approach, Abraham is still refining those aspects of his game. Last season showed dramatic improvements in his hold-up and link-up play, but he does not possess the aerial presence of Giroud and is not as adept at finding team-mates when he does win headers.
Giroud’s target-man talents make him an ideal foil for Werner, who flourished when deployed as a second striker by Julian Nagelsmann alongside the more imposing Yussuf Poulsen or Patrik Schick last season. Lampard also has the personnel to supply the pair with plenty of quality crosses in a 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 formation — whether it be Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi on the flanks or Ben Chilwell, Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta making regular surges forward from the defence.
In the years to come, Abraham could well develop to match Giroud as a target man, and Havertz also possesses the aerial ability to be useful in a late siege. Overall, there’s every reason to think Chelsea have the tools to make late breakthroughs against defensive opponents with targeted pressure, rather than simply attempting to overload the penalty area with bodies.
These are just a few examples of attacking combinations that might work for Chelsea in different game situations, and the fact that it isn’t anywhere near a comprehensive list underlines the sheer embarrassment of riches that Lampard has to work with in the final third. Yet none of them functions in isolation; his biggest challenge this season is to balance this team consistently enough to show Roman Abramovich significant progress towards contending for the Premier League and Champions League again.
Three clean sheets in a row is a promising sign for Lampard’s defensive structure, even if he is still searching for a convincing midfield. At the other end, the scoring burst in the final 15 minutes against Krasnodar provided a thrilling glimpse of the attacking firepower that, with time, familiarity and the right structure, is capable of elevating Chelsea back to greatness.
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by Magic Lamps in 29. Kai Havertz
Kai, Puli and Timo are all more inlcined to be finishers than creators. Only Ziyech is a true creater within our attackers. That is the problem. Given our cms create zilch we need a lot of creativity to come from the fullbacks which makes us so vulnerable. On the other hand if the fullbacks stay back we are toothless offensively. I really would prefer Kai to become a complete and pure no. 10 like Ronaldinho or Zidane. He surely has the tools. When he played for Bayer tho he was most prolific as a LW bc he would play off the ball more and pop up in dangerous positions. Chelsea fans have not really warmed to that idea either, he lacks a bit of zappiness to be a winger despite his pace. The thing I want from him frist and foremost is to bea bit more snappy, play with a bit more vigor. More aggressive on and off the ball. take more chances, try shooting more often. IIRC vs Sevilla and Utd he did not try a single shot on target apart from that one poor header. He is clinical usually as soon as he pulls the trigger but he needs to pull it way more often. I dont want him to become a player like Özil who have all the skill in the world but shit it away by trying to look to elegant and not putting up with the grit and vigor that makes you a great footballer.
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by kellzfresh in 29. Kai Havertz
I kind of realize that Havertz may be a team player and not individualistic. Pulisic last season could play Lampards individualistic role easily because he could hold onto the ball and dribble easily.
Havertz on the other hand needs the style of play to be right, he needs forward runners, he needs one twos and triangle setups on the pitch which Lampard doesn't coach the team on right now.
I would love to see him play with Gilmour and Kovacic at the base of our midfield. Both can dribble under pressure and Gilmour loves to give forward passes to runners. That will allow Havertz to make more runs off the ball like he did in Germany since Kante cant seem to complete a forward pass and Jorginho controls tempo by passing backwards to defenders, leaving our full backs as the only way Chelsea advance the ball forward from the back.
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by ZAPHOD2319 in Man United 0-0 Chelsea
I am very happy that our defense is showing growth. The front four will gel and get deadly. Our team needs to stay in touch with the top of the table while the players learn to play together. Six new players...I am very happy with how we are progressing.
1chelsea liked a post in a topic by King Kante in 29. Kai Havertz
Some people around here make me laugh. What exactly were they expecting from a 21 year old who had no pre-season to do when coming to a new country with a team that is in transition? Kai will be fine, you just need to give him some time, the bloke was never coming in and going to play like prime SFL within 10 games, especially as if you had seen him before you would've known that he is a slow starter to seasons and he isn't the most robust. This season for him is about acclimatisation.
Personally, I set him a target of 15 goals in all competitions and around 5-10 assists. He looks like he is going to beat that on his current form.