The revival of the Blues chances to make to one of the top four spots for next week came through with the 1-0 victory over Liverpool. Their victory came just after the latter had pushed through to a tough and emotional semi-final at the Champions League earlier last week.
Taking advantage of slightly sluggish Liverpool, Chelsea kept up the pressure tactically, never failing once until they scored. The highlight of some wonderful moments of the game was Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante, names which until this game were pretty unknown.
At the same time, Antonio Rudiger also posted some outstanding performance in containing Mohamed Salah. The latter is PFA and FWA player of the year. Liverpool ensured he never got to middle the ball or be with the ball in areas of the game where he would be dangerous. The key attack in curtailing Salah’s natural game was Rudiger. He displayed various degrees of physical strength, fast pace, and awareness of his position to ensure the game was never in favor of Chelsea.
Moses too was a great defense ring as he pushed ahead dodging quick Liverpool players. He appeared to combine both sides of it, using attacking movements to be a threat. In fact, many of his crosses were worthy of some more effort to be winners and were dutifully completed by Olivier Giroud to make the final decision with respect to achieving his goal.
It does appear that Chelsea was strategic in its approach to overcome Liverpool, and began with changing its approach itself. It developed a three-stage strategy. The first was to go deep and not Liverpool to spend time with the ball. This tactic did appear to place the visiting team under pressure, as it was the antithesis to the natural play of the team.
They typically have a quick start and begin to go into deadlock very early. The change of pace by Chelsea did see the visiting team on its back foot. Once Chelsea established its primacy, it began to push forward. Soon it dominated the game, and by the mark of the hours, Conte again changed plans and preferred that the team defend the lead it had, instead of creating further opportunities for play.
Though the strategy was successful with Conte’s plan receiving adequate respect from the players; there were a few issues that the company displayed. The first of these include – the point when the chances of establishing an advantage in the first half of the openings within the first 60 minutes.
Again there were a few discrepancies, in terms of defensive concentration. They just lost all logic in winning through the strategy which would let them roll the ball back. The hot sun apart, they found Hazard running them to the ground, even as Giroud stood back as if to watch the game. The result of all of this poor play was some dis-coordination.
Though they did get away with a stolen point, Chelsea should focus on positive play and not come under pressure, as they begin two more final games for the Premier League campaign.