Chelsea needed to continue the winning streak, and the Blues delivered in style. Not only was the over-all play effective, it was fluent. Most of the plays did not feel forced, everyone played to their strengths, and, as results, the Blues dominated the game from beginning to end. Here are three lessons learnt in a convincing win against Crystal Palace
1. Maybe Chelsea doesn’t need a striker
It may unorthodox, but it can be the answer to Chelsea’s attacking problems. Up to this point in the season, both Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel have relied on tactics that involve having a striker, or a #9 on the field. However, since the full return of Kai Havertz, Tuchel has opted to utilize the German midfielder as a false nine. This change instantly fixed the attacking problems for Chelsea.
With Havertz as false nine, the attacking front is more confidant and free. For proof, look no further than the first 30′ of the match. Between Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic, Mason mount, and Callum Hudson Odoi the Palace defense did not know who to cover, or how to defend. Havertz in particular was key to the fluidity as he made excellent runs into the box; and when necessary he provided the correct passes rather than trying to score himself.
More importantly, not focusing on one main player inside the box created more avenues. Whenever Chelsea plays with a striker, the focus is usually on that player to score. But with the responsibilities interchanging between two attacking midfielders and two wingers, the Blues were capable of creating all sorts of problems. The task was never to make any one player score; rather it was to create openings and have whomever is available take the chances. And, in all fairness it worked.