Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 3.
Chelsea will press Leeds United's side with intensity and organisation at Elland Road this Sunday.
Last weekend, Thomas Tuchel’s team stifled Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-2 draw with some outstanding work off the ball.
Reece James’ 77th-minute goal was a perfect example of this tactical ploy.
Pushing up midway into the Spurs half, central defender Kalidou Koulibaly dispossessed Dejan Kulusevski and from that turnover, they freed up James to score seconds later.
Reece on target! 👊 pic.twitter.com/2teKLjIdPo— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 15, 2022
Aware that Jesse Marsch’s new-look Leeds are a work in progress, expect Chelsea to be hostile and structured in the way they pressure their hosts.
Chelsea and Leeds are two of the best pressing sides in the Premier League.
The Blues have won the joint-second highest number of high turnovers (25) with Leeds just behind (24).
And opponents are averaging only 7.1 passes before Chelsea disrupt those moves with a defensive action.
They have already produced five shot-ending turnovers, a tally only bettered by Brentford (six) and Brighton & Hove Albion (eight).
Chelsea work as a collective when trying to pin opponents into their own half.
Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling occupy defenders, both wing-backs push on, while midfielders Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante like to jump from their positions to engage in advanced positions.
Mount is brilliant at this aspect of the game, clearly understanding his tactical role.
Against Spurs, he got tight to midfielders and pressed in the full-back areas with aplomb, winning five ball recoveries and four tackles inside the opposition half.
Across the first two matches, Mount has been Chelsea’s best player out of possession.
In Premier League terms, Leeds' Jack Harrison is the only midfielder to win possession back inside the final third (six) more often.
|Player||Poss. won final third||Player||Tackles|
Leeds will be satisfied with the start they have made, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 before collecting a point in a 2-2 draw at Southampton.
The visit of Chelsea does, however, represent a step up in class.
Summer signings Marc Roca and Tyler Adams will have less time on the ball in central midfield and new right-sided pair Rasmus Kristensen and Brenden Aaronson will also be tested in what could be a fast, chaotic encounter.
One slight concern for Marsch could be that his side is not yet as press resistant as Chelsea.
When put under pressure by Wolves and Southampton, Leeds lost possession inside their own half with regularity.
Expect Chelsea to take advantage of any such mistakes.
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