Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona: How the goal was scored

For our first post, we will analyze how Chelsea were able to score against Barcelona to clinch a surprising 1-0 victory at home.
Chelsea were more than happy to let Barcelona retain possession (21% – 79%), they decided to sit deep and counter-attack. Defensively they were very impressive, although Barcelona (notably Fabregas & Sanchez) squandered their chances.
Dani Alves played very high up the pitch but he created only 1 chance , had 3 unsuccessful long range shots, 0 successful crosses and couldn’t get past Ashley Cole once, which means he didn’t offer Barcelona anything going forward but most importantly he left behind him acres of spaces for Chelsea to attack.

Dani Alves, the winger

On the 46th minute, Mascherano the Left centre back, decided to carry the ball to an advanced position, leaving behind him Puyol and Drogba. He passed the ball to Messi who, frustrated by the tight lines of Chelsea, had to come very deep to get a touch of the ball.

Mascherano leaving Puyol vulnerable

Messi tried 11 take-ons in this game (more than any player), out of which 6 were successful, unfortunately for him and Barcelona this one wasn’t: Lampard robbed him on the half-way line. With Mascherano caught up-field and Dani Alves & Adriano beyond the halfway line Chelsea could at last counter Barcelona.

Messi, 6/11 take-ons

The second Lampard had won the ball he had only one thing on his mind: cross the ball in the space behind Dani Alves and let Ramires chase the ball. As you can see in the picture below: at the instant Lampard crossed the ball, Ramires was behind him, which only means this move was trained numerous times and Lampard knew exactly where Ramires will be heading.

Ramirez behind Lampard at instant of cross.

Normally, in these kind of situations, one Centre-Back marks the Forward and the other chases for the ball, but Puyol and Mascherano chose otherwise: Drogba’s excellent movement dragged both of them to the other side of the pitch, leaving Ramires and Xavi sprinting for the ball, and we all know who would win that race. Meanwhile Adriano and Dani Alves decided not to run back.

Drogba's excellent movement, Mascherano & Puyol miscommunication, Ramires & Xavi's race, Adriano & Dani Alves' jog (click to enlarge)

Look at the space!

The 2 Centre-Backs miscommunication continued, when they realized the ball was actually going to the other side, they both ran towards Ramires, leaving this time Drogba alone. Ramires passed the ball to the unmarked Drogba, and Chelsea scored an important goal at home.

CB's miscommunication, Adriano's walk of shame

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3 thoughts on “Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona: How the goal was scored

  1. Lawrence says:

    One of the best tactical analysis of the match i have seen. I want to add that adriano was the main culprit to the goal. he was suppose to cover for Alves. That said, Adriano has d speed n i wonder y he could not catch up Ramires. Any way i gope he repet the same today. Hala Madrid.

    • footyplays says:

      Lawrence, thanks mate, It means a lot! I do think that Adriano made a major mistake by not running back to cover Drogba at the far post, but I don’t think he should cover for Alves as he plays on the opposite flank. Leaving all that space was Guardiola’s fault for giving Dani Alves the role of a winger, plus Mascherano being dragged from left to right at will by Drogba proves he still think like a Midfielder and not a Top class defender!

  2. Gerard says:

    Precise and rich analysis. Very interesting to read. I totally agree with the fact that Mascherano cannot replace Pique nor Puyol in the center back position. Barca conceded many goals because of some stupid mistake by one of the center backs. And yes, this was the main reason behind barca’s loss vs real and chelsea. Add to it the fact that Guardiola still insists on playing with only 3 defenders (or even 2 ). keep us updated with your posts..Forca Barca

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