Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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The weight of Chelsea's inexperience is on Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling's shoulders

You can feel the weight of inexperience on the shoulders of the experienced Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling when you watch Chelsea. They look like a group of kids because they are, with the second lowest average squad age at 25.1. That is a lot of weight.

A weight you can feel when you watch those first 20 minutes against Tottenham. But you can’t just look at age.

Figure 1.1 - Minutes for Chelsea players with three or more starts, in the Big 5 European Leagues, prior to the 2023/24 season.

You have to factor in time spent playing in a first team, in the Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga, Serie A, or La Liga. This team has very little collective experience playing in a top team in Europe.

The drop-off in experience from Thiago Silva and Raheem Sterling to the rest of the squad is sharp.

Compare them to Arsenal, who have the third youngest average squad age at 25.2. Arsenal are young, but they have experience, with a squad average of 12,015 minutes in the Big 5 European Leagues. Chelsea’s squad average is 8,829 minutes.

Arsenal built a squad with enough of a background to compete, Chelsea built a project. You can have a couple projects within a squad, but not the majority of the squad. It’s unrealistic to think you can compete.

Chelsea is a group of young individuals all trying to get their timing down. Each player is getting used to playing with each-other, learning when certain players need a run or when they need to check to a ball. When someone needs cover in defense and when they can be left alone. No one is on the same page yet.

That timing can take at least a year to master, but they have too much talent to not challenge for a title within the next three seasons. You can’t spend over a £1 billion and not compete for a title within that timeframe.

Match: Tottenham 1-4 Chelsea, November 6, 2023

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