NEMANJA MATIC’S departure is absolutely hurting Chelsea — however not for the rationale you may assume.
The Serbian is a world-class defensive midfielder however his transfer to Manchester United is hitting them in assault, not on the again.
Antonio Conte’s Blues have scored just one aim of their final 5 video games.
Final season, the champions arrange as a Three-Four-2-1 however this successfully grew to become a Three-Four-Three with Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and certainly one of Willian or Pedro because the entrance three.
And the partnership of Matic and N’Golo Kante within the center was so good it allowed them the liberty to strut their stuff.
At this stage final time period Chelsea’s forwards had scored 34 objectives. This time they solely have 23.
They triggered all kinds of issues by taking part in very slender, they usually had been too good for the remaining as they romped to the title.
Opposition full-backs had been compelled to trace them infield — in any other case the 2 centre-backs can be up in opposition to all three.
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This created enormous holes for the wing-backs — Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses — to take advantage of.
To negate that risk, full-backs would push again out however this then freed up house for Costa and Co to trigger massive issues.
Matic’s self-discipline allowed Chelsea’s full-backs to bomb ahead
Because the graphic above reveals, final yr at dwelling to Leicester, Kante (No 7) and Matic (No 21) sat on the base of midfield.
This gave licence to Costa (No 19), Hazard (No 10) and Pedro (No 11) to all get ahead and work their magic.
However this season has seen Conte progressively change the system to a Three-5-1-1.
Of their Zero-Zero draw with the Foxes final week, Kante (No7), Cesc Fabregas (No4) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (No14) supplied defensive cowl however they didn’t get ahead sufficient.
Consequently, Chelsea have simply two gamers within the attacking third — Hazard (No11) and Alvaro Morata (No 9).
No matter aspect the ball is on, that opposition full-back can exit to cease the play, whereas the opposite simply tucks in to create a 3 v two in opposition to these two.
That was inconceivable for them to do final season.
Matic and Kante had been primarily doing the job of three and Chelsea’s assault is absolutely struggling due to it now.
They’ve sacrificed an attacking participant to make the midfield extra strong and whereas they’re nonetheless sound on the again, their assault has turn into blunted.
After 23 league video games final season that they had conceded 16 objectives, precisely the identical as this yr. However that they had scored a complete of 48 objectives, in comparison with 41 this time round and had been 9 factors higher off.
Drinkwater and Bakayoko are good gamers however they don’t deliver that assured defensive solidity Matic does.
Kante nonetheless does an incredible job however the others usually are not as defensively minded to allow them to’t do his job.
However they’re additionally not threats going ahead.
And Morata is clearly struggling because of this variation of form.
After getting off to a flier at Stamford Bridge he now has simply three objectives in his final 15 video games in all competitions.
Whereas Costa had a runner both aspect of him, Morata merely doesn’t have as a lot assist within the ultimate third.
He and Hazard are nice gamers however desperately want some assist.