Defensive Stability And The Need To Re-establish Focus: Things Chelsea Need To Do To Win Against Man United

Here’s How Chelsea Can Beat Manchester United Despite Their Poor Form Of Late

Chelsea’s humiliating 3-0 loss against AS Roma in the Stadio Olimpico frustrated even the staunchest of Blues supporters, and while that cannot be undone, Antonio Conte and his men need to put all their focus into the match against Manchester United on Saturday. It will be quite a task to make a comeback after what is being dubbed as their worst performance of the season so far – which also leaves very little space for the team to make more mistakes.

Although Chelsea competed well in the first-half of the game against Roma, dominating possession and creating chances, they were undone yet again by the type of horrific defending that caused problems for them earlier as well. A serious lapse of concentration saw Stephan El Shaarawy score the opener within the first minute. Then, he doubled the home side’s advantage by exploiting Antonio Rudiger’s shocking misjudgment of a long ball. The third goal was scored by Perotti as he gleefully exploited Pedro’s limitations as a wing-back, taking full advantage of the amount of space he was provided.

The lack of communication between the defenders was laid bare for all the world to see when centre-back trio Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Rudiger joined in unison to chase Edin Dzeko, leaving Perotti unmarked in front of goal. Dzeko made a sneaky pass to his teammate who failed to net the goal, but had he succeeded, it would have been such an embarrassment for the Premier League champions.

If they are to move forward and secure three points against Manchester United, they need to re-establish stability of personnel to support Conte’s tactics. That was the only reason why they brought the title to Stamford Bridge last season, even with games to spare.

A back three of Azpilicueta, David Luiz and Gary Cahill, flanked by Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses, and shielded by N’Golo Kante, formed the bedrock of Chelsea’s success last time but this time, things appear to have changed to an extent. During the summer, Conte bolstered his defensive and midfield options by signing Rudiger, Zappacosta and Bakayoko. He also brought centre-back Andreas Christensen back from loan and into the first-team picture.

The signs looked promising, but thus far it’s proved to be a task beyond the manager. The inconsistency makes it very hard to determine which players are at their best right now, especially when it comes to the defenders. To be fair, Cahill and Luiz were sidelined due to suspensions, and injuries to Kante and Moses have made it difficult for Conte but it’s not an impossible task, given he’s fielded different starting XIs for the past 13 games in all competitions.

If Kante returns for the clash against United, Chelsea will have a stronger chance at redemption but the France international can only work with what’s behind him, and understanding and communication will have to be established at the back.

Written by Meghna Sengupta

Editor @ Soccersouls. Lives in Chennai, and a Manchester United fan.
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