Chelsea FC vs Paris SG: How to NOT play with numbers up

Chelsea was eliminated at home by a 10-man Paris SG in the 2014/15 Champions League Round of 16. PSG was down a man since 31st minute as a result of Ibrahimovic’s ejection.

To play a man up should be an advantage but we often see the team with 10-men creating more problems than the opponent.  Some coaches even state as a result that it’s easier to play with 10 than 11.  Johan Cruyff states that such issues are a result of the full-sided team having more space that they know what to do with.

When we analyze the Fundamental Soccer Principles (1- Refute the Numerical Inferiority; 2- Avoid the Numerical Equality; 3- Create the Numerica Superiority) it’s obvious that playing 11v10 is an advantage.

Taking  advantage of Johan Cruyff’s ideas on how to “play in numerical advantage” we analyzed the Chelsea-PSG match to demonstrate that Chelsea could not take advantage of the situation

Some of the images were created using the sports software TacticalPad (follow the link to obtain the Free Trial Demo).

Per Johan Cruyff when we have a numerical superiority the team must adopt the following behaviors:

1. Advance the ball: don’t play keep away without advancing the ball –

Saltar Linhas - Avançar...

2. Look for the 1v1 in all zones of the field:

1x1 em todas as zonas do campo

3. Every opponent with the ball under pressure:

Pressão ao portador e potenciais recetores

4. Place an “extra” player between the opponent’s midfield and defense:

1 jogador entrelinhas

The following is an analysis of Chelsea behaviors vs those suggested by the Dream Team Coach.

1. Advance the ball: don’t play keep away without advancing the ball –

With respect to this behavior we notice that Chelsea preferred to circulate the ball as if they were playing keep-away, placing a large number of players behind the ball, near the ball, leaving a few up top to be able to advance the ball:

4 marcam 7

5x1

2. Look for the 1v1 in all zones of the field:

In the subsequent images we will see that PSG, a man down, had always numbers in the more dangerous zones.  It’s obvious PSG also was able to consistently defend with numbers up, with consistent cover to the defender facing Chelsea’s ball carrier.

1x1 em todas as zonas do campo?

Inf. Numérica nas zonas centrais

3. Every opponent with the ball under pressure:

Play after play the more defensive PSG players had space and time to start the play from the back with the ball under control.  Therefore, PSG had higher ball possession giving them the opportunity to create more danger to Chelsea:

Falta de PressãoDC sem pressão

4. Place an “extra” player between the opponent’s midfield and defense:

Once again we see how Chelsea in spite of its numerical advantage, was never able to tak advantage of it and have players between the line.  This is a zone that when taken advantage of, allows the players to cause pain to the opponent.

EEL

Ninguém entrelinhas 2


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By Pedro Mendonça

About Pedro Mendonça: Real Madrid Foundation - Football Coach/Professor. UEFA B Football Coach. Physical Education Teacher. Author of: "Tactical Periodization: A Practical Application for the Game Model of FC Bayern Munich"

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