Chelsea vs Bournemouth: Pre-match tactical analysis

Discover how Chelsea can defeat Bournemouth on the final Premier League day.
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Chelsea's penultimate match of the Premier League season at Stamford Bridge will be a momentous day for a few reasons. 

Firstly, it will be club legend Thiago Silva's final match in London blue as he bids an emotional farewell. Secondly, it is a chance for Mauricio Pochettino to forge a bond with the Chelsea supporters if he can retain sixth place or even gain a position. However, the latter will depend on Tottenham's fixture against Sheffield United.

The Blues will face a tough test in Bournemouth, who has enjoyed a successful season under Andoni Iraola. The Cherries employ a high-pressing, aggressive, and direct playstyle that has paid dividends in the league.

Their front-footed pressing approach is reflected in the data, as they rank sixth-lowest for Passes Per Defensive Action (PPDA) - a statistic that measures the number of opposition passes allowed by a team before they commit a defensive action. Therefore, a lower PPDA value indicates that a team is likely employing a high press.

After turning possession over, Bournemouth looks to attack the opposition quickly and immediately - ranking joint-second in the division for direct speed (1.96 meters per second) - a measure of how fast a team attacks.


Direct Speeds (m/s)

Passes per Sequence

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Although they are generally effective pressers, with the joint-fourth highest goals scored from high turnovers in the league, it can also prove to be their vulnerability when they fail to nail it, providing an opportunity for Pochettino's Chelsea to exploit.

When analyzing Bournemouth's last three defeats, their weakness is apparent, especially in their 3-1 loss to Unai Emery's Aston Villa, where Bournemouth conceded three goals in the transition after failing to execute a high turnover from their press. It left Bournemouth vulnerable in the back, allowing Villa to benefit on the counter with their quick attackers. 

For Chelsea, the pace of Noni Madueke, Raheem Sterling, Malo Gusto, and Nicolas Jackson will be crucial. The game's transitional nature would have also suited Mykhailo Mudryk, who unfortunately will miss the match after suffering an injury in the clash against Brighton.

However, the game will not be as straightforward as "just hit them on the counter" since Chelsea will need to pick the right moments. Goal-kick scenarios where Bournemouth station a high block in Chelsea's half present the best opportunities.

The Blues have demonstrated the ability to string short and incisive passing sequences to cut through the opposition's defensive lines, even if they face a high press. The Chelsea forwards have also improved their propensity to play over defensive blocks, which will be useful against a Bournemouth side that will likely spend most of the match in a mid and low block.

Nevertheless, Pochettino has improved Chelsea's offensive play in all aspects, including breaking down low blocks, which has usually proved a stumbling over the years.

The battle against Bournemouth will be a significant occasion for Pochetino and his men to lay the foundations for the 2024/25 season as they aim to fulfill their ambitious dreams, and tomorrow will be an opportunity to take another step forward.