Frank Lampard’s efforts to build a team that defends collectively is paying off, as highlighted in Chelsea’s convincing 4-0 win at Krasnodar last night.
A team should defend as a unit but that wasn’t always the case for Chelsea in the first few games of the season.
But against Sevilla and Manchester United, Lampard changed the set up and went for a more defensive approach.
Despite paying the price offensively as the Blues fired blanks in both games, Chelsea tightened up to bag their first consecutive clean sheets of the season.
Against Krasnodar, Lampard looked to find more balance at both ends of the pitch and the Sevilla and United games have installed the defensive awareness he wants from his attackers.
His front four against Krasnodar – Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech – attempted a total of 11 pressures and six tackles in the game. Meanwhile, Christian Pulisic also made one tackle when he came on (FBref), which tells you how hard the Blues’ offensive players worked out of possession.
Particularly Havertz, who also made an interception and two clearances in addition to his two tackles and five successful pressures in the game.
To put it into perspective, in the 3-3 draw against Southampton, which arguably triggered Lampard’s switch to a more cautious approach, the only defensive actions Havertz made in 90 minutes were one clearance and one successful pressure.
Obviously, Lampard doesn’t expect his attackers to win every tackle or duel but their efforts to help the defence helped Chelsea keep their third clean sheet in a row.
Encouraging signs for the season.