It has been an exhilarating season for us supporters so far, for we have had the great pleasure of witnessing some fantastic performances by individual players, supported by an outstanding, progressive style of play that we rarely get to see from a team that wouldn’t go on to win the title.
Although, the most significant thing to discuss would be the attacking nature Chelsea has adapted with the likes of top goalscorer in the League so far Diego Costa, the world class dribbler Hazard and the fluidity in Fabregas’ passing; another key feature in The Blues’ style of play is the defensive pressure that is being incorporated by all the players on the field. Here’s a look at Chelsea’s Defensive Performance So Far This Season .
WHY WERE GOALS BEING CONCEDED IN THE EARLIER FIXTURES?
Unfortunately, Chelsea has conceded a lot of goals in the first few fixtures, including a 3-goal-concession in the Everton game (which Chelsea won 6-3), a 4-2 win against Swansea, followed by 1-1 draw against Manchester City at Etihad and against Schalke at home. Obviously, in all Premier League games so far, our attack has been pretty relentless. But why did we give away so many goals? These might be the three reasons:
Reason 1: Lack of tightness and pressurizing the opposition
The primary reason, quite clearly, was the fact that the Chelsea players weren’t closing in on the opposition to retrieve the ball in non-threatening situations. Most of the time, we allowed them to get closer and then tried to build pressure on them. This was one of the reasons, why two of the three goals were conceded against Everton and the game against Schalke ended in a draw.
Reason 2: Little or no contribution to the defense from non-defenders
The second reason that led to conceding was the fact that most of the attacking players were focusing on attack only. This had been noticed in many situations even when the opposition might not have scored, but had got real close to doing so; viz., Eden Hazard in particular.
Now, we know that we expect a lot of things from this Belgian sensation in terms of attack (and rightly so), but one can’t argue with the fact that he was letting the opposition go too easily when it came to supporting fullbacks and defensive midfielders in the first few matches this season. He should have been extra careful while back-tracking rather than trying to push every ball and penetrate into the opposition’s defence.
Reason 3: A little bit of complacency when in the lead
Yes, I’m going to go ahead and say it. We were, in fact, being a bit complacent when we had taken the lead. Close to nothing was being done to stop the flow of attacks that were being launched by the opposition whenever we took the lead and were in charge of the game. This was seen especially during the Chelsea-Everton game. Whenever we had taken the lead, we kept conceding. But we had a response in terms of attack whenever they came close to taking the lead/equalizing.
I know that no matter how our defense was, we kept on scoring and finally got the better of the opposition nearly every time. But why concede? Keeping clean sheets is the best way of ruling out the opposition (not to mention boosting the goalkeeper’s morale), when we always exhibit a strong attacking display and well-balanced game-play.
HOW THINGS IMPROVED AND WHY WE ARE THE FAVOURITES TO WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
After a heart-lifting display against Villa at home, Chelsea were looking to maintain more clean sheets and display equally powerful performances. It showed up in the Champions League game against Sporting, as Chelsea achieved in doing it to some extent in terms of attack, but the defense was truly riveting. The Blues did everything right in defense, and that is how we managed to keep a clean sheet in that game.
But the London Derby between Chelsea and Arsenal, just proved to the world, why we are the favourites to win this Barclays Premier League season, and why we will go a long way in the UEFA Champions League as well.
A game that will be written in the history books as ‘The game which made Wenger cautious’, as it is fair to say that The Blues simply thrashed a demoralized Arsenal team. Because in that game, I believe we did everything right. The kind of display by Oscar and Hazard not only in terms of attack and bringing fluidity in the Chelsea game, but also supporting the balance of play by staying strong and rigid in defense.
This form will continue, and Chelsea will be the strongest team in terms of defense at the end of the season. I simply cannot see the title being lifted by any other team than The Blues, since we now have the perfect attack, which is exceptionally well supported by the defensive players’ commitment.
Edited By: Harshal Ahire