Every week totalfootballanalysis.com offer you a tactical preview of the ‘Fixture in Focus’ chosen by FootballFanCast. This week, Stuart Reid takes a have a look at West Ham vs Chelsea.

It’s honest to say that West Ham haven’t had the very best of begins to this season, however with a brand new supervisor and loads of new first-team signings it was all the time prone to take a while to gel.

There are definitely positives with Pellegrini’s facet profiting from the defensive frailties and accidents of Marco Silva’s Everton, with a powerful Three-1 victory final weekend to handle some issues following 4 straight league losses.


The Hammers, nonetheless, face a tricky take a look at on Sunday, developing in opposition to Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea who’re unbeaten within the Premier League, successful all 5 of their opening fixtures. So what ought to we anticipate from both sides, and the way ought to we anticipate the sport to play out?

Doubtless Line-ups

As we are able to see from the above diagram, Pellegrini has tended to principally deploy a Four-Four-2 system when at house, though his hand will probably be pressured by means of harm and techniques to alter the system.

With Wilshere out injured for at the least six weeks there’ll should be a alternative and Pedro Obiang or teen Declan Rice – the latter of which inspired in opposition to Everton –  are prone to be the primary contenders. Each Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic are doubts, though it appears probably that Arnautovic can be match to play. Lucas Perez or one in all Felipe Anderson or Andriy Yarmolenko might be in line to switch Hernandez.

Chelsea will almost definitely proceed to line-up within the Four-Three-Three that has served them so effectively to this point. Chelsea don’t have any main accidents however could have late health exams for Fabregas, Loftus-Cheek and Kovacic – all are anticipated to return in time for the sport.

New Look Chelsea

It’s extremely spectacular what Sarri has managed to do with this Chelsea staff in such a brief house of time, however the largest change of their play from their time below Conte is the best way they use the ball in possession.

If we evaluate the important thing possession statistics from final season to the stats to this point this time period, we are able to already see the variations between them. Final season Chelsea ranked fifth within the league (behind Man Metropolis, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool) by way of common possession per recreation (55%), in contrast to an enormous 71% per recreation to this point this season, rating them 1st within the division,

Throughout the 17/18 season, a median of 56% of Chelsea’s passes occurred within the opposition half (17th finest within the league) with a median of 173 passes per recreation, happening within the ultimate third (fifth finest).

This season has seen a substantial improve with Sarri overseeing a 7% improve to 63% of passes happening within the opposition half (fifth finest within the league) and an enormous bounce to 238 passes per recreation happening within the ultimate third.

So not solely are Chelsea retaining the ball for longer, they’re doing extra with it. That is demonstrated additional in trying on the xG stats for the entrance three of Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard and Pedro, who final season had a xG90 score of zero.60, zero.30 and zero.21 respectively.

This season Morata has seen a big dip, dropping to zero.19 xG90, while each Hazard and Pedro have seen giant will increase, rising to zero.75 and zero.38. Though all of those figures must be taken with a pinch of salt as we’re nonetheless very early on within the season, these may change fairly quickly.

How can Chelsea be stopped?

We’ve seen groups strive varied completely different tactical ploys in opposition to Chelsea to this point this season, Huddersfield employed a 5-Three-2 low-block in an try to stifle Chelsea’s build-up play and make themselves troublesome to interrupt down – they ended up conceding three targets.

Curiously, the staff that got here closest to getting a outcome in opposition to Chelsea was Newcastle, who conceded from a penalty and own-goal to lose 2-1. Benitez deployed a 5-Four-1 system, sacrificing a striker to bolster numbers in midfield, and I really feel the same system may probably be the best way to go for West Ham.

Nonetheless, the important thing to Chelsea’s possession lies with one participant – Jorginho. Jorginho ranks first within the league for variety of touches of the ball, profitable passes made, variety of passes made within the opposition half and second within the league for the variety of passes taken within the ultimate third. Stopping Jorginho would go a way in direction of disrupting Chelsea’s type of play however might show a problem with a two-man central midfield.

As a substitute, if I have been in Pellegrini’s sneakers, I’d be taught from Benitez’s thought however add the additional participant into central midfield moderately than in defence, lining up in a Four-Three-2-1 formation.

This may, hopefully, have the impact of swarming Jorginho and  the added bonus of inflicting overloads in central midfield in West Ham’s favour. This may probably pressure play vast to Chelsea’s full-backs to double up with Pedro and Hazard, though the additional gamers in midfield may assist cowl on this state of affairs.

The duo of Anderson and Yarmolenko behind Arnautovic would imply that the staff isn’t starved of creativity and aptitude and will definitely result in possibilities being created – significantly in the event that they handle to catch Jorginho in possession.


It’s positively not going to be a straightforward recreation for West Ham, and while Chelsea have had the inconvenience of a visit to Greece within the Europa League, which can give the Hammers a slight benefit, I nonetheless assume Chelsea can be an excessive amount of for the West Ham midfield to take care of.

Subsequently, I’m going for Chelsea to win Three-1.

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