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13 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

Of course it could. Still, good to live in the moment eh ?

It is indeed.Hopefully it gets even better from now on and my concerns are just the pessimist in me being worried unnecessarily

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I can't actually believe how well coached we are. Puts it in further perspective when you see the garbage United and Arsenal are spewing. I love the fact Frank isn't so stubborn to try and do it

Very confused, can only assume the ones being somewhat negative did not watch the game? Aside from Dave and Zouma, I thought we played really well against the European Champions. I was shocked at time

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

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The most pleasing aspect of yesterday was the way in which we came out for the second half, foot on the throttle in those first 10-15 minutes and completely suffocated them until we got the third goal which killed the game off. 

It's both easy and dangerous to think that the game is over at half time at 2-0. I like that motivation and concentration shown to get the third goal (and some very good football too).

The last 25-30 minutes of the game was a pretty dire watch but the game was done and dusted by then so it frankly didn't matter and gave some players a rest and some a run out.

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6 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

4 reasons why our defense is better this season: Barry, Mendy, Silva, Chilwell.

How Chelsea's secret signing could be Frank Lampard's most important arrival this season

 

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12 hours ago, Tomo said:

We longed for one reliable forward who can consistently put good numbers (15-20 plus) in and now we have 2.

Careful now. You have people who want to turn it into some kind of war, hate between the two. :chai:

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The inside story of how Chelsea sorted out their leaky defence

https://theathletic.com/2174785/2020/11/03/chelsea-defence-mendy-silva/

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As far as transformations go, surely no team has made a bigger one during the start of this season.

Chelsea have gone from a team opposition strikers couldn’t wait to play against to one starting to revel in keeping clean sheets.

Nobody is getting carried away at Stamford Bridge. After all, it was just over two weeks ago that Chelsea’s back line were making headlines for all the wrong reasons when costly mistakes caused them to draw 3-3 at home to Southampton.

The outcry and scrutiny after that fixture was intense. The statistic showing Chelsea had let in 63 goals in 43 Premier League games under Frank Lampard had taken charge being highlighted and discussed. His tactical acumen and suitability for the job of head coach questioned in some quarters.

But Chelsea have swiftly gone from one extreme to another. An impressive four clean sheets in all competitions have followed. In fact, the Southampton contest is the only time they’ve conceded in their last six matches.

Granted some will point to the standard of some of their opponents — for example Burnley, who have found the net just three times in the Premier League and sit bottom of the table — as a major factor. Russian club Krasnodar aren’t exactly world-beaters either, in what is their first season in the Champions League group stage.

But until recently, Chelsea have found it hard to consistently keep teams at bay no matter who they were. Last season, their longest run of games without conceding was two matches — a feat managed on only three occasions.

So, what has changed? The most obvious answer is of course new signings Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy have started to play at the back on a regular basis. The only time Silva and Mendy have not featured in the last seven fixtures was in that goalfest with Southampton.

Nobody has talked about the problematic left-back position since Chilwell, who joined from Leicester City for £50 million, made his Premier League debut for Chelsea in the 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Joining from another English club means the 23-year-old has needed no time to adapt to the division.

The same can be said of Silva, despite coming in from abroad. The Brazil international, who has spent the previous eight seasons helping Paris Saint-Germain dominate in France, made an instant impact in central defence. Then there is the towering figure of Mendy in goal, but more of that later.

It is understood that during this summer’s brief close-season, the coaching staff looked at three key departments in terms of their defensive record during 2019-20 — set plays, transition goals and crosses into the box.

For the first category, Lampard has already explained that part of the reason Chelsea had such a weakness was the lack of height in the team. Of the 52 Premier League goals they let in last season, 14 (26.9 per cent) came from set pieces.

The summer recruitment has helped address this. Silva is 6ft tall and boasts a great leap. Mendy is 6ft 5in. Then there is attacking midfielder Kai Havertz at 6ft 2in. Chelsea’s record currently stands at two set-piece goals conceded in seven Premier League games (28.6 per cent), but they were scored (against West Bromwich Albion and Southampton) when at least one of that trio were not playing. Lampard’s side aren’t being bullied as much in the air with all three on the pitch.

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Although there isn’t much time between matches these days, things have inevitably been worked on at the training ground too. There has been a minor tactical change, with Chelsea going half zonal.

On the transition side, statistics demonstrate Chelsea had a Premier League-worst eight goals scored against them on the counter-attack last season. In contrast, there have been none yet in 2020-21. The feeling in the camp was that a lot of the issues were caused by individual errors rather than a problem tactically.

Admittedly, before Saturday’s 3-0 triumph over Burnley, Lampard primarily set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with two midfielders in front of the back four to give added protection. However, one agent close to a senior Chelsea player argues that progress has been made because Silva is a far superior centre-back in a one v one situation, as was seen during the goalless draw against Manchester United last month when Marcus Rashford was frustrated on a regular basis.

It is believed the aspect that has been worked on most in training is how to better cope with crosses into the box. The club’s research discovered that the amount of crosses allowed into their penalty area last season compared to the rest of the Premier League was low but the percentage of goals being scored from those crosses was very high.

The consensus is Silva’s positioning and reading of the game has helped improve this scenario too. Chilwell has done a better job than Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri at defending the left flank with his positional play. It’s an area of the game right-back Reece James is seen as needing to work on but is showing good signs of progress.

The presence of 89-cap, long-time Brazil captain Silva in the squad has made a vast difference.

One source explains: “Silva has gone straight into Chelsea and given them the benefit of all that experience. He has a real presence. The players talk about the fact he has an aura about him because he has been there and done it. You only have to see how he has rubbed off on Kurt Zouma and the way he is playing. Thiago reads the game so well and when he heads the ball, he really clears the danger.

“He communicates in French mostly because he is in the early stages of learning English, but still makes an effort with everyone and is well liked. Despite everything he has achieved in his career, he still wants to win games, win trophies.”

In his role as a pundit, former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole has noticed the size of Silva’s contribution. As someone who used to play alongside the club’s former captain and centre-half John Terry, he knows what a strong leader at the back can do.

Cole said: “Thiago has got what all great players have — he brings players around him and makes them better. Some by his personality, some by design. He’s a talker, he jostles and cajoles people into position. There is no panic, there are no flailing arms.”

Inevitably though, the newcomer arguably attracting most of the attention is Mendy. This is partly due to the struggles in contrast to predecessor Kepa Arrizabalaga, who became the most expensive goalkeeper in football history when he joined from Athletic Bilbao for £71.6 million in 2018.

Kepa’s form and confidence has nosedived this year. So much so that The Athletic learnt the Chelsea defenders had lost trust in him by the end of last season because of the number of mistakes being made. The Spain international’s struggles continued in the early weeks of this season, with high profile errors in the loss to Liverpool and draw with Southampton, a match Mendy missed through injury.

As documented here by The Athletic, Chelsea accepted they needed to find a new goalkeeper. Mendy, of Rennes, was championed by technical and performance advisor Petr Cech, Chelsea’s long-time keeper who himself joined them from that French club in 2004.

Mendy was always going to be seen in a positive light as far as many fans were concerned, for simply not being Kepa. Yet there is a lot more to the Senegal international’s impact at Stamford Bridge than that. Just look at the figures below, which measure the performances of the three goalkeepers (including back-up Willy Caballero) Lampard has used.

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This table shows how Mendy has prevented 0.26 goals more than he was expected to per 90 minutes in the Premier League so far. Perhaps more significantly, it highlights how Caballero (-0.62) and Kepa (-0.34) let in more.

There is the caveat that Mendy has played just three league games compared with Kepa’s 72. In saying that, Caballero has started only three more times under Lampard in the Premier League and his figures are still much worse in comparison.

Noticeably, Kepa has faced an average of 9.03 shots a game, compared with 8.50 for Caballero and 7.67 for Mendy. That suggests the defence was offering the Spaniard less protection than Mendy is benefitting from now. But anyone who witnessed the two saves made from Rashford at Old Trafford saw Mendy make the kind of stops that have been lacking from Kepa and Caballero.

It is understood Cech was raving about the 28-year-old’s display afterwards.

As the man who recommended the club buy him, along with the head of the goalkeeping department Christophe Lollichon, he has a vested interest in Mendy coming good.

But as Cech told French TV’s Telefoot, “I think he’s a goalkeeper who can still improve, with his work, professionalism and desire to be better every day. I’m convinced he’ll improve more, and these aren’t the best performances you’ll see from Edouard Mendy.”

Another tribute to Mendy, who joined for an initial £22 million, is that he has made the same great start Cech did when he was in goal for the club: they both began with three clean sheets in the Premier League.

Mendy will join an elite group with just three other goalkeepers if he makes it four against Sheffield United (who have just three goals in their first seven games) on Saturday and Cech’s name isn’t among them.

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Multiple sources have told The Athletic what a positive addition Mendy has been. While he conducted his first press conference as a Chelsea player in French, it is understood he speaks and writes English fluently.

When it comes to games, he is not afraid to voice an opinion despite being a new arrival. As one insider says: “He’s looking like the boss. He’s shouting at everyone. He’s taken over, even telling the captain to do his job. That’s football, that’s confidence. He loves what he’s doing and talking to the players, making saves comes naturally for him.”

But there is no danger of his early form going to his head. As the insider continues: “Edouard feels he is just doing his job. He is not getting carried away. After games, he watches clips when he goes home. He talks with people around him about what is good and bad. He is very calm. Even when he is being told the good things, he is the one who will raise the bad things, stuff he could have done better.”

Significantly, he is happy off the pitch, which has helped him settle quickly. Mendy’s wife and two sons didn’t travel with him when the transfer was first completed in September as they had to sort out their living arrangements in France while he shopped for a new house in this country. The family were reunited a few weeks ago. They live near the club’s training ground in Cobham, Surrey and the boys have been placed in a new school.

The Athletic has also learned it had been his dream to join a London club for a while. He had visited the capital on a number of occasions and fell in love with the city. His sister has lived in the English capital for 13 years.

Unlike the unfortunate Kepa, Mendy couldn’t be happier and it is showing. Belief is flooding through the Chelsea team because of the way he dominates the area and as one source insists “he comes for every cross, but most importantly, he gets it”.

In summary, a combination of factors have led to these better results defensively. And with the same players playing consistently together and shutting teams out, trust and conviction is on the rise.

Chelsea’s new fortitude will obviously be put to the test in the coming weeks and months. It would be premature to say they have resolved all their defensive issues, because football has a nasty habit of taking a turn for the worst or exposing other flaws just when you think you’re on the up.

But should Chelsea continue on this kind of streak while making the most of all the attacking talent within their ranks, their rivals will have cause for concern.

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On 19.10.2020 at 5:06 AM, Magic Lamps said:

Exactly. we allowed even less shots on average last season and had one of the best shots on target and xG statistic in the league last season still conceded a ton of goals. That’s the whole point. we concede a lot of goals despite conceding fewer shots than most teams. Gk makes a huge difference 

we are yet to concede a goal when both Mendy and Chilwell are playing. Albeit in just 155 mins. If we are still shipping 2-3  goals per game when those two are consistently starting, I am not gonna defend Lampard anymore but until then there is the benefit of the doubt 

Not here to goad but I guess i was right. Lampard defensive coaching was never the problem. Kepa/Alonso were. Have been saying this all year. Even back had Derby he had terrible goalies.

In fact we have conceded just in one game since  end of september, which was the only game where Kepa was playing. Chilwell+Mendy+(Silva) still without a goal conceded.

Would really interested to know how you guys who took the opposite stand now see this. Just a purple patch or has the system improved?

 

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I think the corners and set pieces have improved. I think it was a great managing by Lampard to bring in a coach to focus on the defense. I also think the addition of Chilly, Mendy, and Silva have been much needed. I dont think we are finished improving the defense yet.

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I've had no qualms with our back line at all, other than a few individual errors but that seems to have been sorted out. Organisation has been on point. No longer do we have CB's acting as if their heads have been cut off position wise. 

Midfield the remaining issues. At the moment, Kante/Havertz/Mount looks to be the best bet but still untested against top opposition. 

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36 minutes ago, ZAPHOD2319 said:

I also think the addition of Chilly, Mendy, and Silva have been much needed. I dont think we are finished improving the defense yet.

We definitely need a viable backup to them, especially Mendy and Chilwell, next summer or January if possible. Can't be having Emerson or Alonso starting important games for us for example!

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

We definitely need a viable backup to them, especially Mendy and Chilwell, next summer or January if possible. Can't be having Emerson or Alonso starting important games for us for example!

LB will hopefully get sorted from within (Maatsen). As for backup GK, i imagine Cech and Christophe will be able to identify an appropriate one pretty easily.

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49 minutes ago, Tomo said:

LB will hopefully get sorted from within (Maatsen). As for backup GK, i imagine Cech and Christophe will be able to identify an appropriate one pretty easily.

You really think Maatsen has what it takes? i dont really see it yet even though he still is super young so might have huge upside still. i think if we want to win something this season or even make top 4 we need to be safe and at least get a backup goalie unless Cech really still got it. But for next season where there is an AFCON and we need to win stuff, we 100% need a PL-class backup goalie and LB.

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He learned his lesson from Wilder outcoaching him twice last season. Had us penetrating the wings (especially on the right) to stretch SHU's back 5 and they simply had no answer.

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