Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Chelsea's Youth Against Wrexham

July 21, 2023 — In this order: Malo Gusto, Nicolas Jackson, Andrey Santos, Ian Maatsen, Trevoh Chalobah, Cesare Casadei, Diego Moreira, Carney Chukwuemeka, and Bashir Humphreys. Observations from Chelsea’s first half against Wrexham.

Figure 1.1 - Carney Chukwuemeka gets too close to Marc Cucurella and Andrey Santos.

Carney Chukwuemeka wasn’t very active off the ball. He’s great on the ball carrying, but off the ball, he was far too static. There were several occasions when there was an unoccupied space that he could have taken up, which would have improved the flow of passing.

Figure 2.1 - Carney Chukwuemeka could occupy this space instead of staying further forward.

Ball-watching and waiting for the pass rather than moving to make yourself available is not a good trait. It slowed Chelsea’s progression.

Trevoah Chalobah and Bashir Humphreys has to delay their pass forward because of lack of options, passing the ball back and forth. Once they made the pass forward the second and third pass were never in sync.

Figure 3.1 - Ian Maatsen, Marc Cucurella, and Carney Chukwuemeka form a triangle on the wing, with Maatsen inverting.

The plan was to overload the wings in the second phase. The trigger for full-backs and wingers was the left or right center-midfielder dropping.

  • The midfielder drops, taking a defender with them, which then opens up space on the wing.
  • The winger inverts to pin the opposition’s right center-back.
  • The full-back runs up the wing to pin the full-back.

And then all three wait in a triangle for the pass out wide.

Figure 4.1 - Cesare Casadei begins to move wide to create space centrally.
Figure 4.2 - Cesare Casadei's movement wide creates space for Andrey Santos.

Cesare Casadei had this automation on his side of the pitch where he’d drop to create space for Andrey Santos.

Casadei has good situational awareness and positioning, but his dribbling could use more work. His touches are wayward, and the ball can get stuck under his feet. Little control, like he’s dribbling a balloon.

Figure 5.1 - The trigger for Malo Gusto's run forward down the wing is Cesare Casadei's run wide.

Here’s an example of Casadei dropping to open up space on the wing.

Figure 6.1 - Same thing on the other side. Carney Chukwuemeka dropping triggers Marc Cucurella and Nicolas Jackson's run forward, opening up space down the wing.
Figure 6.2 - The ball is not played down the wing into space.

And the same automation on the left-wing. It’s a shame that Bashir Humphreys didn’t see or didn’t have the confidence to make the pass into quick Nicolas Jackson.

The younger first-half squad played well, but they should have created more chances. The slow progression of the ball due to the poor spacing that was created from the inconsistent positioning made advancing the ball harder than it should have been.

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