Analysis: – Roma’s High Press and Attack Troubled Chelsea


Snippet: –

English champions Chelsea and Italian side AS Roma played out a smashing 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge. It was a game with loads of twists and in the end, a draw will disappoint and satisfy both teams. The home side went 2-0 up in 37 minutes to take control. Roma though, had other ideas, scoring 3 goals to turn it around. Chelsea kept persisting and were rewarded with an equaliser later.

Analysis: –

We will focus more on how Roma played a high-pressing game pinning Chelsea back. Let’s take a look at their pressing patterns and high-line when Chelsea tried to play out from the back.

The above image shows what we have been talking about. The fact that Nainggolan and Strootman were almost playing as number 10s while pressing or in possession, the risk attached to it was high but rewarding if applied to perfection. In the first half when Chelsea were starved of possession, they tried to play out from back to build an attack. Roma, then applied the high press to perfection.

They forced the home side to go back to their keeper for clearing out. It felt like Chelsea were the away side on the day. Although, this was risky and they were punished on the counter-attacks, benefits were reaped later on when they started to create chances.

Attacking Patterns: –

We will now take a look at player positioning while in attack and how high number 8s allowed space in wide areas for crosses.

The above image shows player positioning and movements in attack. Strootman and Nainggolan as mentioned earlier, played like number 10s. In addition to it, the wingers Perotti and Gerson were not always hogging the touchline. They mixed it up by making under-lapping runs to take defenders out and create space for the fullbacks.

These attacking patterns troubled Chelsea throughout. Kolarov and Peres had more touches in the opposition third than their own defensive third. Wing-backs Alonso and Zappacosta (later Azpilicueta) had no clue (as shown in the above image) whether to stick with the wingers under-lapping or stay wide to track the fullbacks. With the formation Conte plays, defensive support in wide areas is not on offer.

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Roma goals analysis: –

If we analyse the first Roma goal as shown in the image, Kolarov was just too clever for 3 Chelsea players at a time. It was more of a naive defending from them not reading what the fullback was having in his mind. Taking nothing away from the thinking though, he had the confidence to push it past and catch up before any defender.

The second goal was special from Dzeko but it was made possible by good movement from his part.

As shown in the above image, movement from Dzeko finding the gap in between 3 centre-backs was good. With Roma playing a very high-line, centre-back Fazio was in the Chelsea half playing that ball. Chelsea defence was too wide and open that time with Christensen showing his inexperience to follow the striker rather than stepping up to make him offside. The volleyed finish though was just stunning.

The third goal was again good movement from Dzeko. He made a ghosting run from in to out making it difficult to mark one on one. Defensively, Chelsea could have done better there to put someone just for the striker attacking the central area.

Overview: –

Overall, Roma manager Di Francesco would be delighted by the way his team played the whole game. It’s just the way they set out today, defensively conceding goals will have to be taken into consideration. But, to play a high-intensity pressing game away from home in Champions League is fantastic. The manager deserves credit to be bold. They had more possessions and more attempts and would be a touch disappointed to take only one point having turned the game around.



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