clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chelsea 5-0 Huddersfield, Premier League: Tactical Analysis

New, comments

Breaking down the Blues’ much-needed win on this weekend

First half

Huddersfield made an aggressive and intense start to the match, where they tried to maintain a high position, press high and attack with numbers to take an early lead. In doing so, they created an open and fast match to test Chelsea’s response to their midweek defeat.

Huddersfield pushed up on the sides and always ensured that Jorginho was covered during Chelsea’s buildup, but with one striker shifting side-to-side, Chelsea could find spaces for the central defenders on the ball, and especially with David Luiz on the ball they could play long ground forward passes between lines for Hazard and Higuain to receive and combine.

In the final third, Huddersfield were still concerned with ensuring that Jorginho was covered and pressed immediately. The first time he was allowed space to receive the ball in the final third, he played a first-time pass over the top of the defence for Higuain making a run off the back of the defence, which led to a shot inside the box. The next time Higuain’s movement was found resulted in Chelsea taking the lead, where Bacuna was higher up and trying to block the pass from Kante to Jorginho (the latter in space) and instead Kante played the pass around the corner with the outside of his foot for Higuain moving behind — the same movements which he has been making in every game since joining.

After taking the lead, Chelsea would go on to dominate possession and position on the field, with David Luiz continuing to play forward passes (both between lines and behind Huddersfield’s backline), Hazard joining the midfielders to combine and dribble, and Chelsea recovering the ball high both when they lost it and when Huddersfield attempted to build short from the back.

For the final part of the half, the game became very transitional and box-to-box. Huddersfield had a few opportunities to create chances from counters, but would often run out of ideas once they reached the box, before they attempted to then press high with numbers which left spaces behind their midfielders for Chelsea to use — to receive the ball and break and create an opportunity of their own in the final third.

Second half

In the second half, Chelsea regained control of the game to reduce the amount of counter-attack opportunities Huddersfield had started to have towards the end of the first half, while continuing to attack with speed and create a number of opportunities and chances.

With Chelsea taking away the opportunities to counter, Huddersfield would instead try to create chances by building short, trying to keep the ball and find a way through Chelsea’s pressure from midfield. While Huddersfield had moments when they were able to keep the ball under pressure in their own half, they couldn’t find a pass through Chelsea’s midfield to attack the final third with any sort of consistency. In addition to this, by opening up and keeping the ball inside their own half, they provided Chelsea a platform to recover the ball high and directly have the opportunity to create a chance — which Barkley and Hazard did to extend Chelsea’s lead to three.

Huddersfield then switched to a 4-4-1-1 with Grant replacing Billing, but Chelsea quickly extended their lead through Higuain’s long shot, then continued to attack and create chances to finish the game against the long-defeated opposition.

Conclusion

Huddersfield made a good start to the game, with high pressing and attacking with numbers in an attempt to take an early lead and put pressure on Chelsea after their defeat in midweek. Chelsea however, moved the ball quickly and found spaces behind Huddersfield’s high midfield line, where they would go on to create chances and take the lead. The goal before halftime was important for Chelsea since they have had problems in these types of games where they go into the second half with only a one goal lead, so they didn’t have to overcome the problems of Huddersfield staying in the game. Chelsea had become transitional towards the end of the first half, but with the second goal, regained control of the match. From there, Huddersfield were limited to playing short and trying to play through Chelsea’s pressing, which would see the Blues recover the ball and go on to extend their lead, before continued attacks would provide two more goals. A good reaction to a bad defeat, albeit in an open game against the team at the bottom of the table.