Tactical Analysis: Juventus versus Chelsea post-match analysis

1) Chelsea down but not out.. yet

Last night’s loss to Juventus has put Chelsea’s position in the Champions League in doubt. Sitting third with 7 points Chelsea need Juventus to lose away at Shakhtar in order to progress. Chelsea will probably win their next game against a side that is last in their group. It is very possible that Juve will lose away at Shakhtar who are a very impressive side, but with a draw being good enough for both sides things may not pan out Chelsea’s way. In the meantime Chelsea must do the business by beating the Danes, leaving their fate in the hands of Shakhtar

2) Cahill is just as culpable as Luiz

The biggest injustice about the amount of abuse Luiz receives is that fans and pundits are almost oblivious to how poor Cahill has been defensively. Cahill has scored a few goals which can mask defensive inability (as it has for Vermaelen for so long). But in reality Cahill has been poor recently. His positional awareness was not good against Juventus. Most notably he was caught the wrong side of Vucinic, allowing him through on goal, very nearly giving away a penalty and getting sent off in the process. Chelsea miss John Terry, having conceded over two goals per game in his absence, which was abundantly clear last night, as the Champions of Europe were split open so easily on several occasions  Neither Luiz nor Cahill have the ability to organize Chelsea’s back line which has cost them.

3) Roberto di Matteo should NOT have been sacked

Sacking RDM is a disgraceful act from Roman Abramovich, typifying the lack of stability at the club for the last ten years.   Roberto di Matteo did enjoy a significant investment in playing staff in the summer but the squad is grossly imbalanced. Chelsea lack a plan B. A 4-3-3 (which I will discuss tomorrow on Think Football) is an option, but Chelsea only have two wingers in Marin (completely out of contention) and Moses. Hazard and Mata do not want to play wide. Mata was stationed wide left against Juve but spent almost the entirety of the game stationed out left. Di Matteo needs to be given a more balanced side before being fully judged, which would involve having a striker in January.

4) Chelsea should continue with Hazard as a ‘false 9′

The Juve game was not the best chance for Hazard to shine as a false 9. Hazard was left feeding on scraps at times as Chelsea defended very deep. When Hazard did get the ball, he showed a composed touch and set up a few good moves, notably squaring to Mata who should have scored in the first half. His touch and awareness make him a viable candidate for this role, even if he wasn’t amazing against Juve. His importance here is compounded by how truly awful Fernando Torres was when he came on as a sub. Torres has a pathetic 6 touches of the ball when he came on, looking completely uninterested in making an impact as Chelsea chased a goal. Hazard on the other hand worked tirelessly to make something happen. At home against City it will be a different encounter, should whoever is managing Chelsea on Sunday chose to persist with this experiment.

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