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Sevilla 0-4 Chelsea, Champions League: Tactical Analysis

Breaking down Chelsea’s (and Giroud’s) impressive day in Spain

First half

Chelsea had a lot of possession in the opening stages of the half and took an early lead by playing through Sevilla’s attempts to push up and press high.

Sevilla’s midfield was were disconnected from the backline, both when defending deep and when pressing, which left a lot of space for Chelsea’s wide central midfielders to exploit. They achieved this by receiving the ball either side of Gudelj to turn and drive forward from midfield positions (when Sevilla were pressing), or by making runs behind in the final third after switches, with only Gudelj alert to track the runs late. The space was available during broken play as well.

Chelsea’s early goal came from the qualities Christensen and Jorginho offer in their positions, where Christensen maintained composure to find Jorginho first time when under pressure, before Jorginho opened up on the turn to face play (rather than easy pass to Azpilicueta coming under pressure) to find a forward pass to Havertz in space. This broke Sevilla’s pressure on the ball, left them with scattered defensive lines, and started the attack that would go on to see Giroud score his and Chelsea’s first of the game.

Sevilla took control of possession for the remainder of the half, which saw them playing a high block and a high press. Their recovery of the ball when it was lost was more successful from the wings, and from continuing attacks to the wings they also won set pieces. Corners and free kicks are still proving to be the main source of shots Mendy has to face, but he was again more than capable of dealing with them.

Meanwhile, thanks to the high block, the door would be left open at the back for Chelsea to counter-attack when Sevilla made mistakes with possession or the first line of pressure was broken. Pulisic had a few opportunities from these counters, but often took the wrong decision in decisive moments.

Second half

The second half went just like the first half ended, with Sevilla holding possession in wide areas and the corners but always playing against an organised Chelsea defence, creating little. Chelsea would mostly find their attacks coming in broken play from a turnover or easily breaking through Sevilla’s pressing, which then left open spaces to quickly carry the ball forward and into the final third.

Chelsea extended their lead through a similar situation from the second half Sarri’s season, where Kovačić would find the movements of Higuaín running off the back shoulder of the defender with a disguised outside of the foot pass. Giroud is also capable of making these movements with the right timing, and he would thus calmly score his second.

Kanté coming on in the higher midfield position would again see him dominating open spaces in broken play, and finding the spaces behind on the wing from the second ball (just like the spaces Sevilla were leaving in the first half). Kanté would go on find Giroud in the air to finish off his perfect hat-trick, who would then score his fourth of the game from a penalty.


Sevilla were very open defensively and allowed Chelsea to break their lines and expose their backline easily. When Chelsea attacked with the ball, they were often breaking through pressure and setting up attacks from their own half (possession and counters), and in doing so created a number of opportunities to score. With the ball Sevilla offered little threat, where they held onto possession and moved into the corners to always play against an organised Chelsea block. The only threat on Chelsea’s goal from Sevilla came from set pieces, which is continuing to be the one situation where Chelsea are facing shots on goal regularly.

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