This tactical analysis will break down the tactics used by Frank Lampard’s Chelsea. The tactics used by Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth.  The analysis will break down how Bournemouth was able to pull off a surprise result at Stamford Bridge.

Both teams came into the game with poor form in Premier League. Despite winning their last two home games against Lille and Aston Villa. The home side’s performance has dropped since their impressive start. Bournemouth, however, has lost their last five games and therefore needed a result to keep them clear of the teams near the bottom.

The way the two teams play it is no surprise that since Bournemouth was promoted to the premier league results at Stamford Bridge have alternated between the two teams. Chelsea won this fixture 2-0 last time out. However, before the game, the cherries knew they had a chance. As only Liverpool have won more games here since they were promoted.

Line-ups

With only Fikayo Tomori out for Chelsea, Lampard was able to maintain a similar starting eleven to most of the season. This meant he kept to the 4-2-3-1 system. Until recent weeks this system has brought a good amount of success to the club this season. This is because the two holding midfielders can work close to each other and dictate the play. Then with the 3 attacking midfielders, they have players that like to operate in the gaps between the defence and midfield. This makes it difficult for defenders to mark them.

Bournemouth injuries have been stacking up in recent weeks making the victory more impressive. Because of this Howe did have to make changes. He also made a tactical change formation. In their previous fixture, the cherries went with a 4-4-2, but with Chelsea in mind, he went with a 4-5-1. This tactically meant that they would have more players in midfield limiting the space the home side had to play in. At times it will also play like a 4-1-4-1 as Jefferson Lerma would drop back as a passing option for the defence and also as cover in the middle.

Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Kick-off

From the start, it was evident in Bournemouth’s approach to the game.  The away side want to try and push both Willian and Christian Pulisic back. This not only limits their attacking threat but it can expose their defensive vulnerability. Bournemouth can do this as they push their full-backs up the pitch and to cover the overlaps this pushes Chelsea’s wide players back.

The way Bournemouth likes to attack is for Ryan Fraser and Lewis Cook to get to the by-line and getting a cross into the box. The way they can do this with their formation is for either Philip Billing or Dan Gosling to be tight to the defensive line. Howe wants his midfielders to be in this position as is gives the wide players an option to play a one-two down the line. In this case, Diego Rico has pushed forward forcing Willian back. With Gosling close to the defence it enables Fraser to play a pass off him and get down the line. This results in the first save of the game.

Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Chelsea’s attacking threat

As Chelsea have been playing this way for the majority of the year the players have developed an understanding of where everyone is especially Jorginho who has a fantastic eye for a pass. Bournemouth is aware that at every opportunity Jorginho will try and find a ball to the four players ahead of him. This is why they tactically set up with five in the middle so there were no gaps to play the ball into.

Despite the way the visitors are set up they still need to make sure everyone is compact and that they track the runners.  At times Chelsea was able to expose the new defensive partnership as this example shows. Bournemouth is well set up here as they are cutting off the pass to Willian and a ground pass to Mason Mount. However, there is a far too big of a gap between Simon Francis and Simon Francis this allows Jorginho to play a ball in behind to Mount. If it wasn’t for alert goalkeeping from Aaron Ramsdale it could have easily been 1-0.

Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Bournemouth struggle to escape

Defensively the way Bournemouth were set up was limiting the amount of chance Chelsea were able to create. However, it made it difficult for them to play out. This is because both Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté stay disciplined and therefore do not venture forward often and when they do one of the attacking midfielders covers for them. As a result, these two keep Bournemouth back as there is only King as an out ball.

In credit to Bournemouth, they were able to stop the balls into the gaps and forced Chelsea outside. This tactically is a good idea as the defenders will back themselves in the air against Chelsea’s frontline. Nevertheless, Lampard is happy for his team to go wide as they want to try and get their wide players one vs one against a defender, as they would back themselves. With numbers in the box it means Bournemouth have to be alert. This is what happens here as a quick ball to Willian puts him one vs one against Fraser. With a bit of skill, he can beat Fraser and deliver a good ball. Jack Stacey is just able to climb above Pulisic to prevent him from putting his side 1-0 up.

Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Second half

At half time both managers would have been happy with their tactics in the first half. For Chelsea, they were creating half chances so Lampard would have been confident they would be able to do the same in the second half. As for Bournemouth, they were defending well but they were struggling to get out. To change this Howe wanted his player to pass the ball quicker and more directly.

This tactical change for the visitors almost worked as Fraser was able to intercept a pass from Willian halfway in his half. However, as the home side play a high line it means there is a lot of space for King to run into. This happens as Jorginho is not aware of where King is and as a result, it puts the striker through on goal. If it wasn’t for a poor first touch from King and Kurt Zouma’s pace the striker would have been one vs one with Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Ramsdale to the rescue

Unsurprisingly at home Chelsea dominated the ball with an overall 67% of the ball. However, they struggled to create much with only three clear cut chances and five shots on target. This shows it was a good defensive display from the cherries.

The best chance for Chelsea fell to Emerson Palmieri. This happened as they were able to get the ball out wide to Callum Hudson-Odoi who was able to get his cross in. the first header was won by Bournemouth however it was not cleared properly. This meant that a header back in found its way to Emerson who has left his marker. He should score but his header is straight at Ramsdale.

Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Late winner

So far Bournemouth has executed their game plan very well as they have kept themselves in the game and generally limited Chelsea to few chances. Bournemouth is aware that they will get chances in a game as the way they play often means they can open up teams and late in the game they got their reward.

A good combination of passes on Bournemouth right-hand side meant that they were able to find a cross into the box. This was deflected out for a corner. The corner was defended well from Chelsea as they were able to clear the ball. However, Lerma was able to head the ball back into the box. Gosling saw the header coming back in and because César Azpilicueta was a fraction to slow to come out he played Gosling on the side. This meant his creative flick counted sealing a good away win for the cherries.


Premier League 2019/20: Chelsea Vs Bournemouth - tactical analysis

Conclusion

To conclude it was another frustrating day for Lampard’s team. They were not able to break down a solid defence.  It was not the result they needed as with a trip to Tottenham next week their top-four spot looks vulnerable.this leave a lot to work on for Chelsea

For Bournemouth, it was a big win. Their form before this game meant they were getting near the relegation zone. Therefore the three points today gives them some breathing room. Howe can take confidence from his tactics today as they host Burnley time out.


Total Football Analysis Magazine #16: December 2019

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