Here is our exclusive Chelsea vs Manchester United Tactical Review. Manchester United and Chelsea faced each other in a mid-table clash yesterday. Both the teams aren’t much habituated to be in the position they were. It was an important match for both of them to win and better their’s position in the league table. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. Both the Premier League sides were happy to settle with a point as many chances were not created on a rainy night at Old Trafford.
The Midfield Battle
Chelsea and Manchester United were engaged in a tactical battle to wrest the control of midfield. The verdict is that United’s midblock proved to be more efficient between the two. The 4-2-3-1 formation of United allowed them to engage more men in the midfield to create an effective mid-block that stopped Chelsea from making advances from the middle of the pitch.
In the early stages of the game, Manchester United totally cut Chelsea’s center backs from their deep-lying midfielders. United’s positioning in the midfield forced Chelsea to play their way out from the wide. Chelsea, on the other hand, started with a 3-4-3 formation that moved into 5-3-2 in case of a defensive transition. Chelsea used their wide players a lot in both defensive and offensive situations. Despite United’s mid-block Chelsea tried to use long ball to overtake United’s press.
Use of Flanks
One of the defining features of this game was both team’s attempt to create through the flanks. Both United and Chelsea tried to create numeric overload United in defense tried to use the method of 2 vs. 1 in the flanks and tried to stop James and Chilwell to get free space in the flanks to launch crosses into the box. Still, Havertz successfully invaded the half-spaces in the flank for Chelsea, Fred often tracked back to stop him in his advances.
United also tried to do the same they also tried to overload the flanks, Bruno drop deep and tried to play long balls to the wide players. United used the understanding and link-up play between the wingers and full-backs to create the attacking spark upfront. Chelsea made it tough for United by playing 5 in the back, giving United almost no place in the defense to exploit.
Both sides are often accused of being defensively unstable, last night it was a completely different story as United and Chelsea showed defensive strength against extremely potent defensive action.
Both the teams relied on blocks, Chelsea made a potent low block while United was successful in creating a robust mid-block making it tough for their oppositions to get past them. Both the teams tried to play out from the back and were encountered by the opposition to stop them from doing it.
United’s front 3 engaged in pressing while the midfield 3 outnumbered the double pivot of Chelsea in the midfield to cut out their passes. Chelsea, on the other hand, left no space in between the lines for United in the back making Bruno look ordinary thus both the teams tried to play a lot of long balls that were of no help.
United was the more dominating side on the field with an xG of 0.65 compared to Chelsea’s 0.22. This tells us United were the side who attacked their opposition more. The Passes per Defensive Action of 22 and 14 from United and Chelsea respectively proved that despite pressing each other both the team didn’t engage in much tackles or block as they relied more on positioning sense.
As the game drew 0-0, United are still lurking in the bottom half of the league. Cavani‘s debut gave them a moment of joy in a rather bland evening while Mendy is slowly growing into himself after collecting one more clean sheet for Chelsea. Thiago Silva also looking solid for the Blues. With Champions League football in midweek, it will be interesting to see how both teams deal with the fixtures piled up.
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