Sir

Squad Status: 2016/2017 Season

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40 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

I'm a bit puzzled how a team with 3 CBs & Alonso can be said to lack height at the back when one of our best rated defenders this century was Ashley Cole in a back 4.

 

I'm guessing you've forgotten how Benitez targetted Cole time and again by sticking Dirk Kuyt on him and getting Xavi Alonso to hoof balls out to him ?

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Think we're all sleeping on Christensen a bit. Was Borussia's player of the year in his debut season. Is one of the highest rated CB's in the league, and I believe he's 2nd only to Sule in terms of aerials won.

He's also played in a back 3 for almost two seasons now. On top of that, he's very comfortable with the ball at his feet.

The kid is one of the highest rated young CB's in the world and if we didn't own him, they'd be a real fight to sign him. 

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6 hours ago, Mark Kelly said:

I'm guessing you've forgotten how Benitez targetted Cole time and again by sticking Dirk Kuyt on him and getting Xavi Alonso to hoof balls out to him ?

I remember them trying.  I think Kuyt did that to every FB, big or small.  But I don't remember it costing us much.  I see to remember a lot of teams trying it as a tactic, and I don't recall anyone arguing we should replace Cole with a bigger lad.

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23 minutes ago, Droy was my hero said:

 I don't recall anyone arguing we should replace Cole with a bigger lad.

It seems odd to me that people are moaning about our lack of height at the back when you think back to our previous full backs, like Cole, who have never been particularly tall. In fact full backs in general are not particularly tall and it's always been ok yet we now play with three centre halfs and all of a sudden people seem to want three giants playing there.

Why is it that some seem to think that two big centre halfs and two smaller full backs is ok yet two big centre halfs , one a bit smaller, one small wing back and one very tall wing back means we have problems with our lack of height at the back?

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27 minutes ago, Martin1905 said:

It seems odd to me that people are moaning about our lack of height at the back when you think back to our previous full backs, like Cole, who have never been particularly tall. In fact full backs in general are not particularly tall and it's always been ok yet we now play with three centre halfs and all of a sudden people seem to want three giants playing there.

Why is it that some seem to think that two big centre halfs and two smaller full backs is ok yet two big centre halfs , one a bit smaller, one small wing back and one very tall wing back means we have problems with our lack of height at the back?

What do fullbacks have to do with anything though? We don't utilise them anymore. So discussing them is a completely irrelevant topic until we're back using them.   Not even sure why they're in discussion.

The importance of height and size within a three man central defence boils down to a number of reasons. 

  • Typically, the CB which plays the central position has a more covering role than of a marking one. This see's the defender either sitting deeper and providing cover in behind for either the LCB or RCB depending on which side the play is had - as there are no fullbacks to tuck inside and support the CB like in a regular 4 man defence. Thus, that central CB fills that void. The other reason is because the CCB also is one who will step up towards midfield in the hope of intercepting the ball in front of the attacker and kick starting a counter. The CCB essentially does the mopping up for anything that gets passed the other two centre halves. 
  • Because of the role the CCB has, which differs considerably compared to his L and R CB partners, there is an increased importance on these positions being filled by a more physical individual that has a strong aerial presence, while also remaining competent on the ball. One of these CB's tend to mark the oppositions CF depending which side of the pitch the CF is on - this shouldn't be the job of the CCB. So, when a ball is crossed in they're often the first point of defensive contact. Being able to defend that cross, or at least contest it enough so the CF cannot win it prevents the ball from either being; flicked on, directed towards goal, or end up loose in the box. The insurance policy is having the CCB in behind covering. 
  • The nature of the 353/343 is congesting the middle corridor for the opposition to play through. If they cannot break us down by going through us, they'll move the ball into the wider areas where the space has been left and therefore moving them further away from goal. That's where we want sides to ideally play, in those wide areas. With the WB's being pushed up in an attempt to close down, it often leaves just the three central defenders in the box. Now, if all three of these CB's are bigger bodies and excel in the air, we should from there also have the advantage in the air to defend the cross and nullify the opposition once more. Once more making the opposition play into our hands. 
  • Having a smaller CB that lacks that physical aspect and isn't as strong in the air, particularly in contested situations, generates a weak point. When we do push sides out wide and they put the ball in, depending which side contains that smaller CB, it gives the opposition attacker better odds in making something of the ball delivered in. Therefore resulting in a higher probability of causing us a problem.

We've seen this exposed already at times. But it's certainly an area we should be looking to address to help make our defensive foundation stronger than it has been for periods this season. Our defence certainly isn't perfect and with sides now familiar with how we play attention to detail can make all the difference. 

But yeah, that's just how I see it based on what I've seen over the years with both clubs I follow using this system. Whether we actually address this or not is another question, we've got other holes, but for me this isn't an area I'd like to see overlooked for too long.

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18 hours ago, zaffo said:

We've conceded 6 headed goals in the league thus far, not terrible, but also not great when you consider it's often 3 CB vs 1 CF. However, just because it may not be our main area of conceding goals, doesn't mean it's a strong point for us either, hasn't caused us trouble, or can be overlooked for improvement. Either before or just as Conte joined, I provided a quite in-depth explanation of the CB situation at Juventus and exactly why Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini were chosen and so formidable as a defensive unit. One of those is because they're all 6'0"+ and commanding in the air/physically strong. When you take the aerial route away from the opposition it means they have to go through you to score, much harder when the middle is equally as congested having 3CB's and 2/3 CM's and the Conte system squeezing the corridor forcing teams into the wider positions. Unfortunately, when you look at our 3 CB options Azpi is the weak link in that. Now, that's not to say the others haven't made mistakes but in terms of fitting the profile he's the odd one out because he's the least physically imposing and effective when it comes to contested headers.

I completely disagree with you, and imo you are way too busy clinging to your over-communicated arguments from the previous Conte eras than actually seeing what is going on right now. To be honest, I enjoyed reading your take on Conte's tactics in the summer, and there is no doubt you have a lot of insights into how he played with Juventus and Italy. To claim that Azpi is our weak link is lazy and simply not true, and you know nothing more about Conte's Chelsea than a lot of us 100 % Chelsea fans.

Azpi is by no means the weak link in our back three, and I can guarantee you Conte feels the same way. Azpi is extremely effective both defending and in building up play, he is perhaps the most tactically loyal player we have and he has to a very little extent suffered for his height at RCB. Conte speaks about the importance of knowing when to play with your heart, your head or your feet. I can't imagine any player in the squad Conte knows will carry out his instructions in a better way than Azpi. There is a reason why Azpi is the player with most minutes for Chelsea this season. 

Had we shipped ten goals where Azpi had been beaten in the air, then fine. But we have not, and far from it. So it is getting kind of boring to hear all this moaning about our lack of height compared to the Juventus CBs. Hopefully, Conte will do the sensible thing and prioritise strengthening us where we need it most. And that is not buying Azpi a few more inches.

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I personally believe that there are two problems with our defensive set up. On the right we have three players who are quite dynamic in Kanté, Moses and Azpilicueta. None of them, however, are going to win aerial battles on a regular basis. Indeed we've seen balls pumped into the right hand side of our penalty area cause us problems. On the left we have three tall players in Matic, Alonso and Cahill who are (relatively) quite slow. That side of the pitch is where we are least effective in closing down the opposition, allowing them either long-range shots, or highly effective passes into a central striker or a tall player in the inside left position taking advantage of a mismatch with Azpilicueta. 

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4 hours ago, zaffo said:

What do fullbacks have to do with anything though? We don't utilise them anymore. So discussing them is a completely irrelevant topic until we're back using them.   Not even sure why they're in discussion.

The importance of height and size within a three man central defence boils down to a number of reasons. ...........

I think you'll find that it is opponents that determine just how our defenders line up and opponents determine who stands where and does what.\
This idea that there is a masterplan which does not relate to the opponents game is  just a ruse to pretend that you can learn all you need about PL football by watching old videos of Juve in Italy.  You can't - and Conte proved that when abandoning so quickly the stand in your own box tactics that threatened to bring short shrift to our season.

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5 hours ago, zaffo said:

What do fullbacks have to do with anything though? We don't utilise them anymore. So discussing them is a completely irrelevant topic until we're back using them.   Not even sure why they're in discussion.

The importance of height and size within a three man central defence boils down to a number of reasons. 

  • Typically, the CB which plays the central position has a more covering role than of a marking one. This see's the defender either sitting deeper and providing cover in behind for either the LCB or RCB depending on which side the play is had - as there are no fullbacks to tuck inside and support the CB like in a regular 4 man defence. Thus, that central CB fills that void. The other reason is because the CCB also is one who will step up towards midfield in the hope of intercepting the ball in front of the attacker and kick starting a counter. The CCB essentially does the mopping up for anything that gets passed the other two centre halves. 
  • Because of the role the CCB has, which differs considerably compared to his L and R CB partners, there is an increased importance on these positions being filled by a more physical individual that has a strong aerial presence, while also remaining competent on the ball. One of these CB's tend to mark the oppositions CF depending which side of the pitch the CF is on - this shouldn't be the job of the CCB. So, when a ball is crossed in they're often the first point of defensive contact. Being able to defend that cross, or at least contest it enough so the CF cannot win it prevents the ball from either being; flicked on, directed towards goal, or end up loose in the box. The insurance policy is having the CCB in behind covering. 
  • The nature of the 353/343 is congesting the middle corridor for the opposition to play through. If they cannot break us down by going through us, they'll move the ball into the wider areas where the space has been left and therefore moving them further away from goal. That's where we want sides to ideally play, in those wide areas. With the WB's being pushed up in an attempt to close down, it often leaves just the three central defenders in the box. Now, if all three of these CB's are bigger bodies and excel in the air, we should from there also have the advantage in the air to defend the cross and nullify the opposition once more. Once more making the opposition play into our hands. 
  • Having a smaller CB that lacks that physical aspect and isn't as strong in the air, particularly in contested situations, generates a weak point. When we do push sides out wide and they put the ball in, depending which side contains that smaller CB, it gives the opposition attacker better odds in making something of the ball delivered in. Therefore resulting in a higher probability of causing us a problem.

We've seen this exposed already at times. But it's certainly an area we should be looking to address to help make our defensive foundation stronger than it has been for periods this season. Our defence certainly isn't perfect and with sides now familiar with how we play attention to detail can make all the difference. 

But yeah, that's just how I see it based on what I've seen over the years with both clubs I follow using this system. Whether we actually address this or not is another question, we've got other holes, but for me this isn't an area I'd like to see overlooked for too long.

Your analysis is irrelevant, we don't play with three at the back. We play with five defenders and sit very deep the majority of the time our opponents have the ball. Our wing backs do very little pressing, instead they play very deep and create a back five so I fail to see any resemblance to what you have described. Just because Conte is using the same formation as he did at Juventus doesn't mean he is going to copy everything about it. It's almost as if you think there is only one way to play a particular formation and it can't be adapted to suit different players. 

Azpilicueta has been brilliant in his new role and I can't see any immediate reason to replace him, or either of the other two current first choice centre halfs.  If we have been a little poor defensively at times this season it is not because of the personnel, it's the sheer lack of pressing inside our own half at times.

I'd love to know many goals have we conceded directly due to Azpilicueta's lack of height, very few I'd imagine. 

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Alright, the squad status needs to be redefined with some end of season extensions. These are absolutely vital if we want to stay where we are and begin to further strengthen.

From back to front:

1) Courtois

2) Fabregas

3) Hazard

4) Costa

 

Extensions for all 4. Obviously Costa's future is up in the air and you'd imagine we'll get a quality replacement in if he leaves. The other 3 are world class talents. We have to secure their futures. 

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