xCELERYx

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  1. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2

    Agree the problem is one that is of a broader nature than just creating and converting chances. There's been games this season in which we could have played for weeks and still not looked any closer to breaking the opposition down, purely because our attacking play in general has been so dull, predictable and lacking of any sort of intent. These issues have surfaced in years prior to various degrees, so it hasn't all just been an isolated problem this season alone under Sarri. I've spoken about this in past years but I think a big part of why we struggle at times is because our attacking midfielders are more midfield types than forward. Therefore, they like the ball at feet. They prefer to drift inside, dribble more frequently and lack more forward like instincts. Our attacking movement suffers at times because of this, while it's a big part of why there's this pass first type of mentality around the box. A lack of a midfield attacking threat hasn't helped because since Lampard left we've not really had someone who was willing to make those deep runs from midfield. There's more to the whole thing but it may be something we can finally address now that we're in the situation we're in.
  2. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2

    Statically I believe we're up there in terms of "chances created", the grey area of that though is the quality of those chances. We just don't create enough good ones - that's the difference. We have all this possession but our attacking play still looks laboured. It's as if we have to work three times as hard as other sides, despite generally controlling the play. It would be interesting to see the number of points we've dropped courtesy of the set piece goals we've conceded. If we halved the number we've given up, we'd probably give our attack some leeway.
  3. While Ancelotti has certainly not helped himself at times since the turn of the new year with some tactical decisions and use of certain players, he's been hampered by a number of injuries to some important players. Losing Albiol in January was probably the biggest one, they've struggled defensively since. The likes of Mertens, Callejon and Insigne have all struggled at various points of the season upfront. One aspect that's been a little overlooked though was the sale of Hamsik mid-season. Even though he wasn't playing well at all, his leadership qualities were still an asset to have within the side. Napoli were also never going to replicate last season either way to be fair.
  4. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2

    We've virtually funded a large portion of our spending via player sales for awhile. Prior to this season, you'd probably have to go back to 2013/14 or 2012/13 seasons being the last times we actually spent more freely. Our net spends have been fairly controlled during all those years.
  5. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2

    Primarily the system. The way zonal marking operates it removes a lot of direct responsibility from the defender because the instructions are for them to "mark" their allocated zone. This approach also means that (and this is something Sarri has also introduced this season here that's different) is for the focus of our players to be on the ball, and not the man when defending. Combining these two approaches is going to mean when opponents attack a set piece, they'll be doing so free of pressure until they enter a particular zone being assigned to however many of our defenders. With our players being primarily focused on the ball no one takes responsibility for the opposition attackers making their move. The result is what we've witnessed, unmarked opponents finding space and making an attack on the ball under little to no pressure. It's difficult to blame the players directly when they're largely do what they're asked. Benitez had similar problems with a zonal approach at Liverpool back when he was there. Man marking as least has an accountability factor. While we may not be the strongest side aerially, it still forces an opponent to beat a marker, create their own space, and attack the ball under more pressure. As a defender knowing you have a particular man to mark means you can also use techniques to block their run and apply more physical pressure in general etc. It's utterly inexcusable to have conceded the number of set piece goals we have this season, more so with a defensive group that's largely been together for the last couple of seasons.
  6. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2

    Honestly, you couldn't write this any better. Discuss zonal marking issue at set pieces in the Slavia thread, go on to concede two set piece goals because of terrible zonal marking. We've now conceded 15 goals from set pieces this season in the Prem, tied with Cardiff for the worst in the league.
  7. Chelsea 4 Slavia Prague 3 (5-3 Agg)

    These stats highlight that since Sarri arrived our ability to successfully defend set pieces has heavily dipped. Coincidence? Possibly, but unlikely. When Sarri arrived he spoke about wanting his players to focus on the ball rather than the opponent. An approach that goes against the gain with with most managers. When you line up with zonal marking the focus is more about marking the zone your allocated than a man directly. You can see these instructions being carried out by our players when we line up to defend set pieces of all varieties. When you look back at the set piece goals we've conceded this season you'll notice that at least a good 80% come courtesy of the opponent not having to really fight his way past a defender to get to his spot. They get a free run into the box or into a position to attack the ball, while our players are forced into a more reactionary set of circumstances to successfully defend and clear the ball. I've never seen us conceded so many free uncontested headers, or allow as many unmarked runs into the box as we do. These aspects coincide with a zonal marking approach. IMO zonal marking allows more greater room for error and a break down of communication. Man marking at least forces the opponent into needing to beat a man one vs one to make a play. The added pressure, particularly in the air, can be all you need to throw the opponent off. Back when Rafa Benitez was at Liverpool there was great discussion about zonal vs man marking, with Benitez being a big advocate for a zonal approach. He was often criticised for it because of the way it would break down. I remember Liverpool had some real trouble during these years capably defending set pieces and it drew much attention for awhile. Over the years though Benitez has become more adaptive, where now his Newcastle side utilise a mixture of both systems. It was quiet efficient in their first season back but has waned more this season. Sarri and Chelsea aren't the first combination to have struggled making zonal marking effective at set pieces. While neither system is 100% fool proof, there's certainly enough based on our display this season to showcase that a complete zonal marking approach at set plays has some serious flaws when it can't be executed properly. As for our overall defending. I'd say it's been up and down for much of the season - with our luck certainly being ridden at times. Sarri likes to employ a zonal marking approach to his general play as well, something he did at Empoli and Napoli beforehand. It requires high levels of tactical awareness, communication and discipline to not get dragged out of the zone being defended. At times we've done this well and looked defensively solid, other times not so much. Sarri isn't helped by some of the personnel he has on hand and their individual flaws, although some of which could have certainly been masked better with some tactical tweaks here and there. To conclude, I think there's room for a zonal approach in some degree, but it shouldn't be a hard and fast type of thing. I think we'd have faired better, predominantly from set plays, if we matched up man to man more often to make things more difficult.
  8. Chelsea 4 Slavia Prague 3 (5-3 Agg)

    We've conceded 13 goals from set pieces this season in the Premier League. Burnley (13), Everton (14), West Ham (14), Cardiff (14) and Huddersfield (14) are only sides who with have either an equal or worse record in this area. Of those 13 we've conceded, 11 goals have come away from home. Only further highlighting just how horrid we are away from Stamford Bridge. Edit: Last season we conceded 6 goals in total from set pieces, tied for the third best record. The season prior we conceded 7, tied for the second best record. Even our terrible 15/16 season only saw us concede 9 goals from set pieces.
  9. Transfer Talk Topic

    Bulka is out of contract and I believe has already stalled on signing a new deal. There's a solid chance at this point he'll probably leave on a free transfer. Now that we've signed Kepa, he's unlikely to find himself playing much, if any, first team football any time soon.
  10. Chelsea 2 Burnley 2

    I expect to see us win this as we're a much better side at home, while Burnley haven't been all that flash away for much of the season. That said, they're a physical side and that may pose a problem if we try to be too cute. With Man Utd away next, Watford at home and then Leicester away on the final day, anything less than a win in this one and we're probably going to struggle to finish top 4.
  11. There's blame to be had by all to be fair and I think that's been something most people are wary of. The biggest reason why Sarri is pin pointed more is because of the influence he has in a lot of the questionable decisions and actions we've seen this season - team selections, squad management, tactical decisions (or lack of), etc. One of the biggest things though is that he doesn't exactly project confidence. Which brings up a point you raised on if Sarri can (or is the right man) to lead Chelsea forward. Having a squad completely to his liking will help his cause, although it won't mask the holes he has in his own management style. These are the same concerns that have been present long before he set foot through the door here. He has a touch of the AVB's and Scolari's about him. Sarri isn't a terrible manager by any means but he's also not someone that instils the belief of success either. His management style is very niche and particular with little deviation from what the way he wants to do things. He'd prefer to stick to his principals and ideas and lose, than to give those up to achieve success. Comments like this highlight his stance. That's not a mentality you can really have at the top level if you want to complete. We've all seen what happened to Wenger and Arsenal for a number of years as style was put over progression and substance. Is that really the direction we want to see Chelsea head towards?
  12. Chelsea 4 Slavia Prague 3 (5-3 Agg)

    A zonal marking system will have that sort of effect. We routinely look all over the shop when it comes time to defend a set piece of any sort. Opposition players barely have to fight to get free or find a bit of space to make or an attack on the ball - as showcased once again in this match. Has been an ongoing issue since the start of the season and is still yet to be addressed.
  13. Chelsea 4 Slavia Prague 3 (5-3 Agg)

    Neither Alonso or Emerson are strong defenders, but what grinds me more is that Sarri puts both players in situations that don't help to nullify their weaknesses. Sarri likes to attack down the left and overload on that side, that's fine. However the midfield offer absolutely nothing in terms of cover and support. Jorginho neither has the speed or the defensive qualities to get across to help cover. With Sarri still refusing to shuffle our most athletic and defensively capable midfielder in Kante across to at least offer some sort of assistance. Virtually as soon as Alonso or Emerson are pushed high up the pitch we're there for the taking if the opposition are able to win the ball back and move it forward quickly. The only sort of cover comes in the shape of David Luiz and that hardly instils confidence with his at times rash decision making and questionable positioning. As someone prior mentioned we aren't looking like a side that's being coached. Everyone seems to be doing a little bit of everything without no one ultimately being on the same overall page. There's such a visible disconnect on the pitch and that's only highlighted further once we're in a position where we can't control the ball for large periods of the game. Good to go through in the end, although not for the first time it wasn't at all convincing. Will be interesting to see how we coup now that the quality of opposition will increase now that we're at the pointy end of the competition.
  14. Of course there's an element that is dependent on context. If a club like Watford came second, they'd be ecstatic. For a club like us, it's less so. We'd remember it mainly for the CL qualification aspect than anything else. A clubs reputation playing a big factor. I think that's where your problem lies then. Winning the league is an important feat and one that should be held in high esteem. The work that goes into achieving that sort of success is one that is generally built on consistency over 38 match day weeks. Success in this area provides the validation of all the hard work and effort put into the daily slog players and staff go through for much of the year. Nothing is sweater than walking away at the end of the season know all that work has paid off. Then once the off-season ends, the challenge of defending that title provides the added motivation to go again - particularly in a competitive league like the PL. You're happy seeing us doing the bare minimum to keep things ticking over and that's fine, but not everyone has that mentality.
  15. Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0

    Thank you for the response first and foremost, I appreciate that. While I don't necessarily agree with you on a number of points, we do share some common ground with regards to Deschamps, a preference for a return to our more ruthless approach of years gone by, and some of the areas we need to address within the squad itself moving forward (transfer ban pending). Our differences on Sarri I tend to expect. I'm more critical of Sarri because of my familiarity with him prior to his arrived here. For me, there still remains the same criticisms of his management style here as there was during his time with Empoli and Napoli. There hasn't been much in the way of evolving his approach across each new experience. With that, I'm still left unconvinced that he's the right man to lead us moving forward. We've all got our own opinions though on Sarri based on the topsy turvy nature of our season so far. We'll see what happens on that front come the summer.