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Dynamo Kyiv 0-5 Chelsea, Europa League: Tactical Analysis

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Chelsea: good; Dynamo: bad

First half

Dynamo once again set up from midfield to pressure Chelsea’s central defenders with their front two, while their midfield supported pressing from behind, but their hopes of a comeback were dealt a decisive early blow after Chelsea took the lead from a corner.

Unlike the corners against Wolves, Chelsea had their main corner taker (Willian) in the team to play the ball, and take advantage of the additional aerial power from Loftus-Cheek (winning flicks at the front post), Giroud, and Alonso in the box. All three would be involved in goals from set pieces in this match — Loftus-Cheek and Giroud combining for the first and Alonso remaining inside the box from a corner to score Chelsea’s third before half time.

Chelsea were now in a very comfortable position, where they could play patient with the ball and not open up to press high and stay aggressive defensively to prevent spaces opening up for Dynamo to exploit.

During moments when Dynamo attempted to press high, Kovacic offered the option of dribbling with the ball out of the pressure of the front two before playing forward, while Willian consistently found Loftus-Cheek with first time flicks and layoffs on the inside in space where he could then drive forward with the ball from the left. Hudson-Odoi and Kante would also find success in a similar way on the right, allowing Kante to run behind Dynamo’s fullback to receive the ball.

Loftus-Cheek would also receive the ball deep and with back to play under pressure, where he would use his strength to turn past his man with the ball and break through pressure to start an attack with Dynamo stretched. Chelsea would score their second goal of the game from exactly this situation, where Alonso received the ball in a position to play an early cross into the box for Giroud, running off the back of the defender and attacking the space ahead of him, to finish.

Second half

With 6-0 lead on aggregate after three halves, Chelsea would only need to see out the remaining 45 minutes to go through.

They defended from midfield and deep areas without too many problems, but at first, couldn’t break to create chances form counters. However, they would soon extend their lead after winning a wide free kick, where they, once again, benefited from having both Willian (to take the free kick) and Giroud (power in the air) to score and round off a perfect hat-trick.

Chelsea would continue to see the game out by defending from midfield. When they won the ball higher up, they could create dangerous counter attacks — Dynamo would often need to use fouls to stop close to the edge of their box, providing Alonso and Willian with good opportunities. But, it was Giroud’s recovery of a loose ball and through-ball behind Dynamo’s defence for Hudson-Odoi (switched to the left wing after Pedro replaced Willian) to collect and finish off the scoring.

Conclusion

With a three goal lead going into the game, Chelsea’s early goal from a corner, something they struggled with in the previous league match, made it an even more comfortable game. Chelsea were able to play through Dynamo’s pressure and create situations for Loftus-Cheek to break through with the ball, which would lead to Chelsea extending their lead. Two more goals from set pieces and a counter, after defending from midfield for most of the second half, would conclude the scoring and send Chelsea into the next round.