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EXPLAINED: How to use Man City or Liverpool to mould Chelsea

It's obvious that Chelsea under Frank Lampard have moved on from the Sarri era but the style is not yet definite. I will use the tw...


It's obvious that Chelsea under Frank Lampard have moved on from the Sarri era but the style is not yet definite.

I will use the two most successful English teams in the last two years as examples to determine the path we need to follow.

The Manchester City Way: Pep Guardiola is all about control, control, control. He builds his team to control the game and win balls up top when they lose it. This type of team doesn't need the traditional ball-winning defensive midfielder. They prefer a defensive midfielder who dictates the game and controls it.

That's good but to be super successful with this, your team most be technically superior to your opponents. If you encounter a team with a similar technique but a conservative style, you are in trouble. Until today, not many coaches accept the ideology it requires top-notch technical footballers to make it work but when they work, they're the most beautiful to watch. Examples: Sarri's Napoli with Jorginho, Pep's Barca with Busquet, Ten Haag's Ajax with De Jong and so on. Here, the midfielders are more rotational than positional.

Next is The Liverpool Way, which is the easier way. Jurgen Klopp uses a more direct approach, not obsessed with possession, wants to keep a nice balance. His type of team doesn't demand a controlling defensive midfielder, instead, he uses a more disciplined, defensive-minded defensive midfielder.

This defensive midfielder is often the team's security door before the inner room(the defence). This team can afford to do forward press and as well stay deep, so even when they lose the ball and can't win it up top, the defensive midfielder at the gate will get to work. It has more advantages than the Pep's way which must be perfect with the right players to work. Mostly, the defensive midfielder in this style most be positional as they don't have the assurance of winning the ball in the opponent's half. This also allows the team to use full backs in advanced areas without feeling the danger.

This style is very effective against any type of opponent if well set up, and that explains why it's more universally accepted.

At Chelsea, we neither use Klopp's way or Pep's way successfully. In fact, I think we are trying to combine both which has led to an identity crisis.

Sarri's style is similar to Pep's style while Lampard plays more direct like Klopp but Lampard inherited a team built by Sarri.

What Lampard has done is use the midfielders rotationally like Pep and set up the rest like Klopp but it hasn't worked. It's either he goes full possession-based or direct-based and have positional defensive midfielder(s). Either way key players would be sacrificed.

I have said before that I am not a fan of rotational midfield, it takes a longer time to master, and needs specialist players to execute. At Chelsea, Lampard should decide which style he prefers since combining both has become a huge headache.


Written by Vince @blue_footy

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