Seven different goal scorers contributed to Chelsea’s 8-0 win against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea finished practically every chance they were presented with, with the glaring exception of one missed penalty.
It was a straight forward match. Torres scored within three minutes and Chelsea never looked like conceding. Chelsea dominated and Villa utterly folded.
Chelsea lined up in a familiar formation. Lampard and Luiz anchored the midfield behind Hazard, Mata, and Moses. Luiz’s move from central defense to midfield is becoming solidified as Chelsea play more matches. He was a massive influence in the center of the pitch. Fullbacks Cole and Azpilicueta were the water carriers in Chelsea’s width. They shuttle the ball forward, allowing for Moses and Hazard to drift inward and join the attack in the box.
Villa elected to field three centre backs. Presumably, this would allow Villa the opportunity to mark Torres with two defenders free to pick up two of Chelsea’s other numerous threats. As indicated by the scoreline, this ploy did not pay off in any sense. Benteke and Weimann failed to pair well as a front pair. Weimann has appeared more dangerous when drifting inward from the flank as opposed to playing through the center.
David Luiz’s Midfield Role
Luiz’s continued revolution as a defensive midfielder is proving to be inspired.
Throughout the match, Luiz was able to rove forward, as he is usually inclined to do. In his new role as a defensive midfielder, these forward runs are far less risky, and placed him in a better position to link up attacking play. It seems the role of a defensive midfielder might offer the perfect medium between Luiz’s attacking tendencies and defensive capabilities.
As evidenced by the influence graph above, Luiz was Chelsea most involved midfielder player throughout the game. Luiz completed 64 passes, second only to Azpilicueta. 38% of these passes were forward, the largest percentage for any Chelsea player.
Luiz made 6 out of Chelsea’s 11 total interceptions during the match.
Villa’s Three Centrebacks
Villa’s centrebacks had superior numbers, but still struggled enormously with the amount of creativity posed by Chelsea’s attack.
With one player typically marking Torres, the other two were free to zonally mark players. While on paper this sounds tactically sound, Villa’s disorganization at the back eradicated any bonus they may have discovered. They were stretched and showed little understanding regarding where each defender was supposed to mark.
Ramires’ first goal is an indication of this disorganization. Chelsea began their attack down with left. As Piazon carried the ball centrally, Villa’s back-line dragged to the left uniformly, leaving a wide berth for Ramires to take advantage of.
The fact that seven different players were allowed to score also illustrates Villa’s confusion. There was no single area in which Chelsea were especially attacking effectively. Wherever Villa tried to put out fires, they allowed others to ignite.
Lambert’s side typically use Benteke as their primary outlet for countering. Benteke was the architect of many of Villa’s attacking movements against Liverpool, providing a vital link between
Against Chelsea, 46% of Benteke’s passes were backward. Against Liverpool, it was only 18%. This is illustrative of Benteke’s isolation. He was not flanked with attacking wide players, and was forced to play the ball backward. He only linked up with Weimann, his striking partner in this match, nine times.
The largest struggle for Benteke were his runs off the ball. He was called offside far too frequently, and clearly struggled to cope with Chelsea’s offside trap. When Chelsea’s line pushed forward, they reduced the amount of space Benteke had to receive long balls.
Aston Villa failed to ever get their countering attacking game underway due to their inability to break down Chelsea’s attacks. Traffic was constantly traveling one direction in this match, with Chelsea looking a constant scoring threat. Three centre-backs did not work well for Villa and robbed them of additionally numbers in attack.
Rafa Benitez will pleased while Lambert with be understandably distraught.
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