Feature

How Poch outsmarted Conte and Chelsea

Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino implemented a simple but effective strategy that brought Chelsea's 13-game winning run to an end.

Poch and Conte

Source: Getty Images

This was an incredibly competitive match, and while Chelsea did not play particularly badly, Spurs were able to expose their weaknesses on numerous occasions. 

The two teams were almost a mirror image of each other, both started with a 3-4-2-1 formation and pressed high leading to a number of one-on-one duels.

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This resulted in possession being turned over regularly - 3.5 times per minute across the 90. Spurs lost possession 159 times while Chelsea lost possession 158 times - both were season highs. This meant it was a very engaging and exciting clash, despite the lack of chances. 

Spurs eventually broke the deadlock just before half-time, but the signs of how they would score were there before. 

Kyle Walker


Spurs


Chelsea gave Christian Eriksen far too much space throughout the match. Trained at Ajax's academy, Eriksen is one of the smartest players in the Premier League at maximizing space. Conte's men allowed him time on the ball which seems strange given he already had six assists this season coming into the match and picked up two more in this game.

Dele Alli's first goal

Image

3 v 3


Eriksen


Onside


Alli goal


Chelsea fail to fix the problem

In the second half, Chelsea again continued to allow Eriksen with far too much time and space. 

Eriksen


Eriksen


Dele Alli's second goal

Almost exactly like the first goal, Walker, Eriksen and Alli all combined to make it 2-0. 

Alli


Walker


Alli


It could have been more

Chelsea


Alli and Eriksen


Conslusion

Full credit should go to Pochettino and Spurs for exposing a very good Chelsea side. It's not the first time they've out-witted an in-form side; in October 2016 they defeated a Manchester City side that had won 10 matches in a row. 

This match shows that should everyone stay fit, Spurs have as good a chance as any to challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title. 




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2 min read
Published 6 January 2017 at 4:17pm
By Nick Stoll