The comments on this game are from Adam Clark, a writer for SB Nation’s Aston Villa site, 7500toHolte. Adam’s comments appear below the game visualisation.
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A masterclass on how to overwhelm a side defending deep and narrow. Matic and Fabregas set up an incredibly stable double-pivot inside the Villa half, always sticking close together. Matic barely moves into his own half until the 60th minute when Chelsea’s second goal marked a shift to a more defensive shape. Villa’s midfield never managed to dislodge the two, who simply switched positions in response to one of the pair being pressed.
Ivanovic’s effectiveness on the right flank released Willian to play a free role across the forward line, switching flanks with Hazard freely while being an attacking threat on his own right as he ventured forward to play crosses into the box.
Diego Costa won the battle against Villa’s centre-backs who never managed to force him beyond the width of the box. He formed a hugely effective point of a triangle with any two of Oscar, Hazard and Willan.
Chelsea are an incredibly balanced side, with threats down both flanks and through the middle with Fabregas
In contrast to Chelsea’s fixed centre, Villa’s midfield trio of Cleverley, Delph and Weimann never settled into a shape with one of them in front of the back four. Westwood occasionally settles into the spot but at other times goes tracking the Chelsea midfield. Their initial compactness fell apart as Delph drifted frustratedly out to the left in the second-half.
Weimann and Richardson cannot be faulted for their work rates in covering their full backs, covering a huge amount of ground up and down the flanks, but never successfully connected with the midfield trio to close down the space inside or isolate the Chelsea full-backs.
Baker and Senderos very rarely moved as a co-ordinated pair to one flank or the other, with their movement principally vertical as they looked to win aerial duels. Both the first and second Chelsea goals saw the two fail to cover one another. For the first, Senderos looked to defend the goal-line rather than cover the space as Baker went to challenge. For the second Baker failed to cover the space behind Senderos as Costa ran in for the header.
Article by Colin Trainor