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Michael Tucker

Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2

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cam4blue   

Unfortunately, it also requires the rest of the side to play in a manner that allows our forward *cough* Costa *cough* to do that.

Costa almost never makes near-post runs. Even at his best he wasn't making those runs, for us or for Atletico.

Of course, he's not making any runs at all at the moment, but, unlike you, I don't blame that on those around him.

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Costa almost never makes near-post runs. Even at his best he wasn't making those runs, for us or for Atletico.

Of course, he's not making any runs at all at the moment, but, unlike you, I don't blame that on those around him.

Initially (first half of last season) he lived in the opponents 18 and was rewarded almost every game with a goal or more. The overall off ball movement in the last third was good. But since around January, last third movement dried up and possibly if not likely, it's affected Diego's focus: he's more engaged in the physicality of the game than his off ball movements that tended to put him in positions to sniff the precise spot to covert passes/ crosses into goals. That said, the other half of the fault isn't his, as we routinely fail to get ample shirts into the box during our attacking build up. He can't be effective as a goal scorer when he's constantly surrounded by 3 or more defenders. He needs teammates around him to reduce the pressure which hopefully will see him fighting less and scoring more.

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cam4blue   

Initially (first half of last season) he lived in the opponents 18 and was rewarded almost every game with a goal or more. The overall off ball movement in the last third was good.

It was good. He was always on the shoulder of the defender, looking to run clear, get in behind; or burst into the channel and then back inside.

What he never did was the sort of thing Falcao did for that goal, a good near post run. A proper striker's run. Costa just doesn't make those runs and never has.

But since around January, last third movement dried up and possibly if not likely, it's affected Diego's focus: he's more engaged in the physicality of the game than his off ball movements that tended to put him in positions to sniff the precise spot to covert passes/ crosses into goals.

It's not just his off the ball movement though. His workrate has gone too. IMO he's protecting his hammies.

He has a lot of goodwill with me and with other Chelsea fans, but he's been an issue for us this season. He's not working. Behind him Hazard isn't working. That's the press scuppered in the first phase. Playing high up the pitch and the press being by-passed so easily is a big part of the problems we've been having. Pedro coming in has actually shown how far the others have fallen in that regard. The Costa who played for us in the first half of last season, and the Costa who played for Atletico the season before, that player is amongst the best in the world for workrate; constantly hassling his opponents. That's not the Costa we're seeing right now.

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Zoowraa   

It was good. He was always on the shoulder of the defender, looking to run clear, get in behind; or burst into the channel and then back inside.

What he never did was the sort of thing Falcao did for that goal, a good near post run. A proper striker's run. Costa just doesn't make those runs and never has.

It's not just his off the ball movement though. His workrate has gone too. IMO he's protecting his hammies.

He has a lot of goodwill with me and with other Chelsea fans, but he's been an issue for us this season. He's not working. Behind him Hazard isn't working. That's the press scuppered in the first phase. Playing high up the pitch and the press being by-passed so easily is a big part of the problems we've been having. Pedro coming in has actually shown how far the others have fallen in that regard. The Costa who played for us in the first half of last season, and the Costa who played for Atletico the season before, that player is amongst the best in the world for workrate; constantly hassling his opponents. That's not the Costa we're seeing right now.

I tend to agree. I'm a huge fan of him as a player and have been for a while now, but I also think he looks like a player who is playing within himself. His performances have been decent still, but only 75% of the player we had last season and I don't think he is opening up his legs through fear of hamstrings going.

That fire in the belly don't seem there either. Only occasion we have seen it is after being elbowed in the head by Fernandinho.

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chara   

As usual a lot of good and conflicting views...having managed to process the defeat I realise it was the sort of game we would normally win...always a fine balance but now the balance is shifting away.

For all the opinions put forward all with more or less merit depending on your view I can't help but wonder if some of the problem is the shifting dynamic in the dressing room. JT is now the only remaining senior "presence" with SFL DD and PC gone.

I wonder if there are conflicts arising and a little bit of infighting..probably too strong a word but you get my point.

Just thoughts but for sure something is missing on the field beyond tactics red cards and penalties..and the rcs and pens made a difference but in the past that usually was overcome by sheer will..now?

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I tend to agree. I'm a huge fan of him as a player and have been for a while now, but I also think he looks like a player who is playing within himself. His performances have been decent still, but only 75% of the player we had last season and I don't think he is opening up his legs through fear of hamstrings going.

That fire in the belly don't seem there either. Only occasion we have seen it is after being elbowed in the head by Fernandinho.

I mentioned before the season started that Costa was a big, big worry for me.

Nothing has changed in that regard. Our press starts with him and the three AMs. We're failing spectacularly at the first hurdle which makes our CMs facing opponents who are allowed to turn facing our goal with speed and players overflowing our right side.

We're simply overrun and it's because the work rate we had 6-12 months ago is nowhere to be seen. Our defenders and midfielders have been horrendous, but they aren't getting much help are they. Defensively every single player out there needs a kick up the backside.

Yes, Ivanovic can and must do much better. So do Matic and Fabregas. But it's really true for every player we have.

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Finished watching the Crystal Palace game back last night as I was away for the weekend.

Just a quick few points about our defensive problems:

First of all if Ivanovic plays the next Premier League game, I'll probably top myself. Let's not all act as this is something new either it's been happening for years, just for once it's been massively evident. Just simply dropping Ivanovic would help us to a large extent defensively. I think he lacks a bit of protection to be fair but his one on one defending is ****ing embarrassing. Can't remember who it was for Palace but I remember when we were 2-1 down (I think) and Palace were down Ivanovic's side and the Palace player just had the ball on the wing trying to kill time and you get Ivanovic just strolling towards him. No desire, no work rate, piss poor attitude and for me that’s a drop-able offence in itself. Sick and tired of him.

For me Cesc's mobility in that area of the pitch isn't good enough for me, it was a problem last season at times but even more so now given the team isn't playing with confidence. Interesting stat that came up first half, Cesc was one of our players who had covered the most ground in the first half, I don't know how that particular statistic finished but it's interesting nevertheless. However, he isn't good enough positionally, he isn't intelligent enough from a defensive point of view at times but I think most of this is due to his relative poor mobility and athleticism. Reminds me a lot of Mata in that sense. It's mostly evident when the other team has a turnover of possession and they quickly transition into attack. There’s a noticeable gap to exploit next to Matic which allows the other team to either find dangerous space in front of our back four or most commonly allows the other to team to quickly transition into an attack completely from right to left, giving their left winger dangerous space to exploit on the left wing. Ivanovic gets a bit isolated here but this doesn’t do enough to excuse his poor form.

I think perhaps a mixture of things invite this alarming turnover of possession and quick transition into attack from right to left from the other team. It has caused us so many problems.

I think as mentioned Cesc doesn’t do enough. At times he’s too far up the pitch and at times he lacks the mobility and athleticism to get quickly back into position.

I think at times the 4-2-3-1 formation in itself can be vulnerable when there’s a turnover of possession and the other team quickly transitions into attack. It’s a system that can be vulnerable when the opposition has won possession and quickly gets players forward, there’s potential space to exploit with through balls and quick switches of play to the other side. This could be where you say we are getting outnumbered in the very centre of the park too often. 4-3-3 we’d be less susceptible to it happening and this makes me miss the days of 4-3-3 when we had for example a midfield three of Makélélé, Essien and Lampard.

I think at times we’re not quick enough to press and win the ball back, in comparison to what we use to be like. I think at times we’re not good enough on the ball (which I’ll go onto later), this creates problems because we lose the ball in poor areas which just adds more pressure on the defence.

A general problem that links into our defensive problems, we seem to lack desire and motivation this year, this combined with the lack of new signings in the areas we needed, means that players seem to be less motivated to do their defensive duties. We’re not defending as a team quite simply.

From a defensive point of view I’d love to see this 4-3-3

Courtois

Azpi Zouma Terry Rahman

Loftus-Cheek Matic

The central position in front between: Cesc/Oscar/Willian

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