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Leicester City 0-0 Chelsea, Premier League: Tactical Analysis

Familiar patterns emerge once again

First half

The start of the match saw both Leicester and Chelsea attempt to establish possession and move forward to play with a high position. Leicester succeeded at keeping the ball under Chelsea’s attempts to press high during the opening moments, but then couldn’t keep the ball or create chances when they reached the final third.

Leicester’s midfield three switched between Tielemans higher up and between lines with and without the ball, as well as joining the right of Leicester’s midfielders to create a flat line of five when defending. Joining Tielemans between lines with the ball was Maddison (leaving his wing) which would open up the space for Chilwell to move high and wide early on the left — creating a 4v3 overload against Chelsea’s central midfielders.

When Chelsea played against pressure, they maintained possession before advancing on the wings to establish their position first and then move into the final third, before attempting to create. Early chances were created for Barkley (run behind found by Jorginho) and Loftus-Cheek (Pedro’s early cross into the box at the far post), but not taken.

In the moments when Chelsea could play directly through Leicester’s high press centrally, the central midfielders would drive forward with the ball in space, before finding a winger to create an opportunity. This usually fell to Willian, where he could move inside to have a shot on goal himself, or find Alonso overlapping at the right moment — such as the chance created for Higuaín at the end of the half.

Leicester and Chelsea were both successful when they could aggressively push up tight against opposition players receiving the ball with back to goal in central areas, which created opportunities to counter. Leicester would also create their best chances from deep counter attacks (using the speed of Vardy in open spaces), but were unable to take to lead.

Second half

The second half saw Chelsea start with a good deal of success in high pressing, where Leicester couldn’t advance through midfield, made mistakes with the ball and allowed Chelsea to recover the ball high up consistently.

However Leicester continued to draw pressure onto themselves, and eventually Chelsea were no longer able to sustain the same pressure on the ball, allowing the home side to start advancing into Chelsea’s half with the ball. The change to bring on Okazaki for Ndidi also made a difference here, as Tielemans dropped back into a deep position to provide more technical qualities, maintain the ball under pressure, and find forward passes.

After a good period with the ball for Leicester, Chelsea came back into the game during the final stages by holding possession in the final third and then looking to create with Hazard now on the field. Dribbling and combining on the left would create opportunities to enter the box, while drawing pressure onto the ball before switching to Barkley (later Kovacic) or Pedro and Zappacosta on the right would open up spaces for long shots and crosses, none of which Chelsea were able to capitalise upon.

Leicester would again have their most dangerous attacking moments during this period as well, just like in the first half, with counters into spaces left by Chelsea’s advancing fullbacks. But again, as also in the first half, none of these chances were taken and so he game ended in a goalless draw.


Chelsea managed to take control of possession and establish a high position from which to create throughout the match, but failed to capitalise upon the chances created. Leicester City also attempted to establish a high position through possession, but except for a short period in the second half, had problems keeping the ball in midfield and the final third. Instead, they created good chances from counters, using the speed of Vardy, but, like Chelsea, also failed to take advantage of them.

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