Maurizio Sarri never claimed that Chelsea were as good as the 18-match unbeaten run would’ve led us to believe, and he always made sure to point out that we had plenty of room left to learn and improve, but surely not even he could’ve imagined how spectacularly all of Chelsea’s charmed-life chickens would come home to roost against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday night.
(Incidentally, the last time Sarri lost was also at Wembley, 2-0 to Manchester City in the Community Shield.)
xG map for Spurs - Chelsea— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) November 24, 2018
that's a paddlin' pic.twitter.com/cG6r18apvV
Friend of the blog Sébastien Chapuis, who wrote the 7000-word manifesto on all the different ways Sarri-ball could be derailed — which you should read it you haven’t, and read again if you have — saw many of his predictions come true in this game in a bittersweet moment of personal vs. professional loyalties.
After the match, Seb took to Twitter to break down some of the key situations, which he’s graciously allowed us to post here as well. This is only the first 45 minutes, though the second half was just more of the same, with a tiny bit of improvement from the Blues.
[02:36] Half-hearted pressing and players caught on the wrong side of opposition players. Sarri’s main talking point prior to this match was Chelsea’s mentality and problems with starting games slowly and without the required effort and here Spurs were already running roughshod over the Blues.
[06:35] Chelsea give the ball away. Chelsea midfield bypassed, but the defensive transition actually works until Atkinson harshly gives a foul on David Luiz.
[6:35] Interception by Alderweireld leads to a pass bypassing Chelsea's midfield 3— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Jorginho does the job. The system (full zonal) requires whoever closest to ⚽️to close down. Defence not screened
Kane runs the channel, draws Luiz out of position who brings him down. pic.twitter.com/DX4fd4g35w
[07:31] Chelsea concede on a set piece, again. The replays on this goal are damning as far as Chelsea’s lack of effort in defending and challenging for the header go. Arrizabalaga has little chance to get his hands up in time.
[7:31] GOAL Spurs.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Chelsea absolutely fucking terrible on def. set pieces this season.
+zonal marking allows people to have a free run at the defence.
"Tell me who's your DM I'm telling you what coach you are"
Many coaches put their best header to clear. Chelsea put Jorginho pic.twitter.com/NJPOM1qU47
[09:43] Son probably could’ve/should’ve had a few goals in this one...
[9:43] 4 seconds apart, look at where Son (7) and Jorginho (5) stand.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Korean Train Express Son leaves Jorginho both foot in fresh concrete, not a single care in the world (doesn't check his shoulder), jogging around leaving Son 1v1 with David Luiz once again. pic.twitter.com/qOf6QKHAnv
[11:00] Spurs pressed effectively and as Sarri said after the match as well, Chelsea had massive problems trying to play out from the back. The trouble with playing the same system over and over is that it gets pretty easy to scout against and unless you’re as good and practiced as Manchester City, you will get nullified (and even City can struggle at times).
[11:00] Short circuits to play out have been scouted so David Luiz forced to play a speculative flat pass on the floor.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Which is cut off by Sissoko. Eriksen volleys it first time over the top, which is how teams have been creating chances before we discovered pic.twitter.com/S93rXphbYd
[11:11] Kepa kept Chelsea in it at times, but his passing was suspect from the first minute, when he gave the ball away. Here he does so again in a similar manner, with one of his typical medium-length lofted balls — usually quite accurate, but not in this one (and his recipients were often closed down quickly).
(11:11] Kepa Arrizabalaga's "delicious lofted pass" crashes once again in the middle of his own half whilst Chelsea is spread apart at the back with two attackers goalside— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Kanté comes back from outer space to block Son's shot, Alli toys and almost reaches out Eriksen in the box pic.twitter.com/QdBS8BhrLE
[12:17] Luiz finds Alonso who dribbles backwards. Kovacic's ran in behind to the corner (like CM do with Sarri). Hazard's gone AWOL.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Alonso tumbles on the ball and that's a free go at Chelsea's backline with Son 1v1 with Kepa
Chelsea open at the back on transition? #Sarriball? pic.twitter.com/uVRFX6QwK1
[12:23] Atkinson was doing Chelsea zero favors on this day, but the gaps are impressive(ly horrendous) either way.
[12:23] The fucking state of this. Marcos Alonso asks for a non existent foul, Luiz is still angry nobody was reachable when he had possession as a left winger.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
That's a 3v3 with 2 remaining Chelsea defenders and Jorginho.
Rüdiger hung out to dry, turned over by Son who shoots pic.twitter.com/SIPl4EgDuc
[13:22] See previous...
[13:22] Following what was probably a pen on Hazard. Once again, whole team caught in front of the ball. Everyone's running toward his own goal.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Super pass from Kane, but how can he reach Son 1v1 with David Luiz in the box?
That's Boateng vs Messi like suicide. #LaughAtBoateng pic.twitter.com/zFKFMUllED
[14:06] An impressive amount of shots from Spurs, 5 in 14 minutes, any way you slice it.
[14:06] Fifteen minutes on the clock, only 3 Chelsea possessions in opposition half and to be fair, 3 dangerous situations at the end of it.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Good dummy / layoff between Morata and Hazard to release Kanté in behind.
Kanté isn't Ramires. Nor Moses to draw a pen vs Spurs lol pic.twitter.com/FkJN961kN0
[15:19] Sarri-ball exposed without the ball. All focus is (understandably) on Jorginho vs. Kanté and their respective roles and what is asked of them, but struggling to think when was the last time Kovačić had a truly good game...
[15:19] GOAL Spurs— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
One thing that has bugged me with that full zonal in midfield, is Jorginho (it's not about him, it's the system) having to make baseball like home runs to close down people
Beaten with a simple pass, caught wrong side of Kane (anyone reads my tweets?). Boom ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/ohY0GnFipF
[15:50] David Luiz successfully dodges Harry Kane’s shot. If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. Did that affect Kepa? Probably.
[15:50] Hey, give it a listen, yer da thinks David Luiz has no business being a top flight central defender 'cause he doesn't put his body on the line to block shots.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Yer da's got a point to be fair pic.twitter.com/RXU8WF6dSq
[16:32] I will not have N’Golo’s good name besmirched like this!
[16:32] Oh and give me a break, "Kanté ain't playing out of position, it's #Sarriball and Sarri has Jorginho at the base of midfield"— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Kanté isn't f*cking Ramires, just dribbling around and playing a shit backpass to give the ball away.
Eriksen plays it down the line pic.twitter.com/15KJNT5GDI
[17:20] This seems familiar already and it’s not even 20 minutes in...
[17:20] Knock knock, who's that? Hi, it's Heung Ming Son with an open field free go at David Luiz and Azpilicueta from there.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Keeps the ball, Chelsea get back behind the ball. pic.twitter.com/J90dSmmkcW
[20:50] That’s a lot of white shirts ahead of yellow shirts as the white shirts attack...
[20:50] Jorginho screening the defence? Fair play to him, there's a small head nod toward Alli to figure out he's out of position.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
It'd be unfair to blame Jorginho though, midfield 3 stick close to each other.
Just drawn high up the pitch because front 3 has gone AWOL. pic.twitter.com/XZ9cxYU4Is
[21:31] When playing from the back is actually risky.
[21:31] The fucking state of this (2)— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
David Luiz plays a SQUARE long pass whilst Kepa isn't even in his goalmouth.
What happens next? Willian is clattered back to goal, and Alli goes full funfair bumper car on David Luiz when he smashes it in emergency. pic.twitter.com/MBBkpdpals
[30:32] We’ve gone almost 10 minutes without a screencap! Improvement! That Kovačić rabona was infuriating since it was overcomplicated, unnecessary, wildly inaccurate, and directly led to a great Spurs counter.
[30:32] Mateo Kovačić played a rabona cross for FUCKING NOBODY.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Then it's another free run for Son against a shambles of a Chelsea defence running toward their goal on a lump forward by Alli pic.twitter.com/vOZLGPZpEe
[33:41] When Sarri said we needed to play with more determination, he didn’t mean this sort of playing with fire.
Doing this to get better of the opposition on attacking set pieces, fine. Gambling on not being picked on by the ref.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Doing this whilst you're absolutely terrible at defending set pieces is... puzzling pic.twitter.com/tZ3yk83ePI
[36:29] Throwing caution to the wind, exposed on the counter. While this is bad and Chelsea were bad, if Atkinson does give the foul on Hazard and the game goes to 1-1 instead of 2-0, maybe Chelsea find it within themselves to shape up. Or maybe I’m just too naive and Chelsea would’ve been shambolic regardless.
[36:29] Another frequent issue for Chelsea down the sides. Three players (fullback, winger, side midfielder) caught and nobody to compensate.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
*normal* teams usually keep one of the three when the other two go forward.
Kane exploits space behind advanced fullback. Tries a chip pic.twitter.com/VE1ZQASinT
[45:40] One more for the road.
[45:40] That pass beat Kanté and Jorginho to reach Alli.— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Ben Davies has a great left foot and Alli is an expert at finding space. But still.
Jorginho chasing shadows and fails to pick Eriksen. Ends up ǝpᴉs ƃuoɹʍ pic.twitter.com/SZsd2lDcoe
Chelsea seemed to start the second half with some semblance of better organization, or at least better determination, but then Son made fools of Jorginho and David Luiz and the match was pretty much done and dusted.
We actually had 5 or 6 good situations, not clear cut chances but still decent shots— Sébastien (@SebC__) November 24, 2018
Perhaps on another day, Chelsea at least convert a couple chances before the final five minutes and make this a shootout instead of a one-way disaster, but that day was not this day.
Plenty of things to work on and not much time to do so.