Last night football fraternity witnessed an underrated but one of the most balanced and tactically superior clashes of Uefa Champions League group stages. Besides Manchester United vs PSG and Barcelona vs Ferencvarosi matches, this match hasn’t gathered much attention to the neutral fans. But this match was a treat to football watchers. Though it doesn’t result in a goal flurry, it showed that these two managers can be underrated, but they are capable to defeat any side on their day. The Spanish side visited in North London and secured a point. In this Chelsea vs Sevilla Tactical Review, we will look at how the match developed for both sides.
Chelsea vs Sevilla Tactical Review: Lineup
On paper, Chelsea started in a 4-2-3-1 shape. But it shifted to a 4-4-2 shape in attacking phases. As Werner was getting isolated in between the two muscular centre backs of Sevilla Pulisic joined him in the attack to level things upfront. Both Jorginho and N Golo Kante joined in the midfield to support Kai Havertz. This was mainly seen in the buildup phase. While defending they stayed in a 4-5-1 shape with Werner upfront. The 5 men midblock of Chelsea doesn’t allow Sevilla to create space through the centre.
Sevilla started in a 4-3-3 shape on paper. But in attacking phase it became 3-3-4 with two fullbacks joined the attack. The two centre backs moved towards the wings to cover the space left behind by the fullbacks and Gudelj dropped as the third centre back. In upfront, while the ball was with the fullbacks the winger of that side dropped in the midfield to win the second ball while the one at the opposite side joined Luke De Jong as forward.
In the defensive phase, Sevilla pressed in a 4-4-2 with Lucas Ocampos and Luke De Jong pressed high. When the ball was in Sevilla half this shape became 6-3-1 with the two wingers dropping to support the fullbacks. They tried to create numerical supremacy against Chelsea attackers and frustrated them by providing very little space.
As Sevilla enjoyed most of the possession we will start with their buildup play and chance creation.
Chelsea vs Sevilla Tactical Review: Final Scoreline
Chelsea 0-0 Sevilla
Sevilla with Possession. Chelsea’s pressing traps vs Sevilla’s wing play
With possession, Sevilla tried to build up from the back. Their central midfielders dropped in front of the defence to carry the ball forward. This is where Chelsea’s mid-block came into play. Timmo Warner was only one for the blues who pressed high in most of the occasions. He was also smart in his pressing and used his body to put a cover shadow in between the defender and midfielder. If the midfielder somehow received the ball Kai Havertz instantly challenged him to win the ball. Havertz was brilliant in his role throughout the match. He won 6 out of his 7 ground duels attempted and was dribbled past not a single time.
Due to this marvellous defensive performance in central midfield. Sevilla defenders were forced to pass the ball to the wing. This triggered Chelsea’s pressing trap. Once the ball was passed to the fullbacks the winger and central midfielder of that respective side pressed vigorously and tried to win the ball in a favourable position. This created some problems for Sevilla in the opening minutes. So the wingers also started dropping near the half-line. This provided a passing option for the defenders and fullbacks used the combination play and one-touch passing to escape the press.
The central defenders and goalkeeper Bounou sometimes also hold created passing triangles. This attracted Chelsea attackers to press high and free up Sevilla fullbacks. When the game progressed to Chelsea half Sevilla midfielders looked to control the ball. Their main attacking threat come through the wings from where they used low cresses to create some chances.
Marcos Acuna was the key player for Sevilla in this regard. He used his telepathic combinations with Lucas Ocampos to create some chances. This was favoured by Christian Pulisic’s unwillingness defend. So Rece James was often caught in a 1v2 disadvantage situation and a lot of moves were created from this side of the pitch.
On the other hand, Jesus Navas can’t capitalize much as Mason Mount was supporting Ben Chilwell on that flank. So he tried to open Chelsea’s defence by switching the game and using central channels to pass. Chelsea used 1v1 press in their half. They also used the physicality of their defenders to stop Sevilla and they were pretty much successful. But this doesn’t imply that Sevilla hasn’t got chances but it was their forwards who were off-colour in this match.
Chelsea with possession. Sevilla’s defensive composure vs Chelsea’s counter-attacks
Chelsea took two different approaches in either half. In the first half, they allowed Sevilla to have possession and tried to exploit the space Sevilla defenders left behind. While in possession they mainly used long passes. Their buildup through midfield was nil as Kai Havertz was heavily marked by Gudelj and Fernando and later Juan Jordan. So with the ball, Chelsea defenders either go long or passed to Jorginho or N Golo Kante.
They used Timmo Warner as the target man fired long balls for him. but Warner was often isolated by the two Sevilla centre backs. Later in the first half, they used Pulisic as the support striker but Sevilla defenders were excellent against long balls. There was no such creativity from the flanks as the fullbacks mainly stayed in the defence. Chelsea created some half-chances in the first half but they were no good.
In the second half though things changed for Chelsea. They started in a more positive approach and tried to keep the ball in their feet. N Golo Kante played a crucial role in the English side in the second half. Instead of going long, they carried the ball to the Sevilla half. This created a 3v2 advantage in Sevilla midfield. Havertz also got more time and space in the second half and he created some chances for Chelsea.
Chilwell also started overlapping through the left side. Warner in certain times also moved to the left half-space and created a 3v2 advantage on the left. This forced Sevilla a change as Oliver Toress came in place of Suso and Lucas Ocampos moved to the right side. This change was important in two ways.
As Torres was an out an out winger his inclusion will put pressure on Rece James and can shift some momentum of the game. Secondly, Ocampos is more stable in defending rather than Suso or Torress and he can release some pressure in the left flank. This plan worked out for Sevilla very well as Chelsea though created some chances but couldn’t open the face of the goal.
This Chelsea Sevilla tie was a treat for football watchers and critics. This tie showed that both the managers have a great tactical brain and they can do miracles in near future. As far the results say a clean sheet and a point from away game will surely put Sevilla in a slightly advantageous position but Chelsea will also be relived not conceding an away goal.
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