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3-4-2-1 Versus 3-4-3: How Chelsea Tactically Outclassed, Outplayed and Defeated Manchester United

3-4-2-1 Versus 3-4-3: How Lampard Tactically Outclassed, Outplayed and Defeated Manchester United.

It was a sorry night for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and his horde of devils, as Chelsea put up a tactical masterclass to put them to the sword. After suffering defeat at the hands of United three times in a row this season, it was up to Lampard and Chelsea to muster a perfect response.

They did that in style.

Here are the five ways Chelsea outplayed Manchester United at old trafford.

1. Pulisic was dropped

In the game against Sheffield United, Christian Pulisic was overmarked throughout the match and thus was unable to reproduce the magic he is known for.

Opposition teams have found a way to shackle players like him. So for this match against United, Lampard foresaw this and placed him on the bench, opting to rather go for a trio of Willian, Mason Mount and Giroud.

This decision paid off. Firstly, United’s backline were unable to cope with the fluidity and movement of Willian and Mount.

Time and again, they were able to cut through United’s three-man defense like a hot knife through butter, and would have felt hard done if they did not score a goal in the first half.

Thankfully, Giroud gave them a precious lead at the end of the first half.

2. The Wingbacks

Lampard made proper use of the wing-backs, Reece James and Marcos Alonso to complement the blues attack. For long periods, when the blues attacked, they were all over place because they suddenly appeared to have more numbers.

Reece James constantly peppered the United box with so many crosses, and so did club captain Cesar Azpilicueta. Meanwhile, United relied heavily on their capacity to catch Chelsea on the break, but that opportunity never came. Chelsea’s back three performed excellently well to cut out through balls and to add intensity to their attack.

3. Defense had a good day!

In football, you have some good days and you also have some bad days. Today was definitely a good day for the Blues’ defence line, consisting of Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta.

They looked solid and strong for most periods, which, frankly, is quite unusual for them, given the fact that they have conceded eight goals in three games.

4. 3-4-1-2 formation

Frank Lampard has tried this formation with the blues many times this season. Some times it has worked, other times it has failed woefully. Today was one day where it needed to work and it sure did. The blues were simply all over United. The midfield trio of Kovacic and Jorginho, flanked by wing backs Reece James and Marcos Alonso, completely overwhelmed United’s midfield of Aaron Wan-bissaka, Fred, Matic and Williams.

They starved them of the ball and continued the ‘gengen-press’ to recover the ball. Even Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes had no answers to Chelsea’s sleek passing and high intensity. Rashford was isolated, and Greenwood failed to light up the scene when introduced as a late substitute.

Chelsea's starting line-up on the night: (3-4-2-1): Willy Caballero; Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger; Reece James, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Marcos Alonso; Willian, Mason Mount; Olivier Giroud.


Tammy Abraham, Pedro, Christian Pulisic, Emerson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Andreas Christensen, Fikayo Tomori, Kepa Arrizabalaga.

5. Chelsea took their opportunities

One of the reasons why Lampard loves Olivier Giroud is because he is an experienced striker. He knows how to take opportunities and to create them for others. Tonight, even though he missed a few chances, he atoned for them by showing great effort to stick out a leg and give Chelsea a crucial lead.

The next goal was helped by a mistake or a lapse in concentration fro United keeper De Gea; while the third, well, who cares?

It’s a goal, it’s a goal. It doesn’t matter who hit the ball; what matters is that the ball crossed the line and entered inside the net.

The blues have now booked their place in the FA Cup finals, to play Arsenal. It’s a ‘london-derby’, and Frank Lampard will be happy to add the F.A. Cup trophy to his cabinet.

What do you think guys? What went wrong for United? What else did the Blues do right? Does Chelsea stand a chance against the Gunners? 

Let’s have a conversation in the comments section below. 

Thank you for reading guys.

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Chelsea Lampard Manchester United Mason Mount Ole Gunnar Solksjaer


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