Chelsea have a secret goal weapon that is giving Thomas Tuchel an edge in title race – Daniel Childs


There are many obvious heroes at Chelsea at the moment for fans to laud. Be that the tactically brilliant Thomas Tuchel or standout performers like Edouard Mendy, Antonio Rudiger and Ben Chilwell.

But Tuchel’s comments before the dramatic penalty shootout victory over Southampton in the Carabao Cup saw him heap praise onto one of his coaching staff.

In quotes taken from the matchday programme, Tuchel said: “It’s a good sign when Andreas [Christensen] starts to score – I think our set-piece coach, Anthony Barry, can be very, very proud. It’s important to score in situations like this and have lots of people to score.”

Tuchel crediting Barry may feel like a small point in the wider context of Chelsea’s recent success, but a closer inspection reveals a deeper reason as to why the German picked out Barry’s work at Cobham to make Chelsea as effective from set-pieces as possible.

It was also timely that Chelsea’s only goal on Tuesday evening came from a corner, with Kai Havertz heading in a Hakim Ziyech cross. The evening could have brought more goals from set-piece opportunities as Saul Niguez had a strong header well saved by Fraser Forster in the opening moments of the game.

The Blues have scored 10 goals from set-pieces this season, seven from corners, with defenders Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger and Trevoh Chalobah all getting in on the act as well as Kai Havertz.



Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise onto his set-piece coach Anthony Barry for Chelsea's goal recent threat (Photo by Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Thomas Tuchel has heaped praise onto his set-piece coach Anthony Barry

Barry was originally brought in under Frank Lampard from his previous coaching role at Wigan Athletic – working with Reece James when the full-back was on loan with the Latics in the 2018/19 season. Barry committed his future to the club, choosing to stay as part of Tuchel’s coaching staff shortly after Lampard’s dismissal.

Lampard was equally complimentary about the 35-year-old’s influence in an interview with the club’s website back in January.

“He’s been a real positive for the group dynamic, and in all senses. He’s certainly helped on set-pieces, but he’s very diligent, he pays so much attention to ourselves and the opposition in every part of the game, from what we do in the office, to studying opposition and working on the training field.

“It’s very important you have balance within staff and what Anthony has given us is another person and another level of expertise that I can call upon, and a work ethic that is outstanding.”

With complaints in the opening months of the season about Chelsea’s struggles to create high-quality opportunities, the variety of scorers Tuchel has had from set-pieces has helped propel the European champions to the top of the Premier League table.

The quality of corner delivery, in particular, has improved in recent seasons, as the English trio of Mason Mount, James and Chilwell have taken up the responsibility and their ability has helped unlock Chelsea’s inventive set-piece routines.

There was some discussion online surrounding the way Chelsea’s corners were being taken under Tuchel in the opening three games. Havertz’s expertly flicked header to beat Alisson at Anfield came from an in-swinging corner from James into the box – a style that would continue while James was on corner duty.



Reece James' in-swinging corner finds the head of Kai Havertz who flicks it over Allison's head into the Liverpool goal.
Reece James’ in-swinging corner finds the head of Kai Havertz who flicks it over Allison’s head into the Liverpool goal

However, since the return of Chilwell and Ziyech as left-footers, Tuchel has found success from an out-swinging delivery – as seen with Marcos Alonso’s assist for Silva’s header against Tottenham in September.



For Alonso as a left-footer, the Spaniard's is always going to deliver an out-swinging corner from the left side, despite Tuchel preferring the opposite against Liverpool.
For Alonso as a left-footer, the Spaniard is always going to deliver an out-swinging corner from the left side, despite Tuchel preferring the opposite against Liverpool



Chelsea latch onto a loose ball from an Alonso corner with Cesar Azpilicueta finding Timo Werner whose drive opens up space to cut the ball back across the box for Rudiger to finish.
Chelsea latch onto a loose ball from an Alonso corner with Cesar Azpilicueta finding Timo Werner whose drive opens up space to cut the ball back across the box

In that same game, Chelsea showed their ability to recycle possession smartly and capitalise on Spurs’ disorganisation after an initial corner was cleared, with Rudiger’s strike to cement the dominant 3-0 win coming shortly after Alonso’s corner was headed away, as Timo Werner’s low cross into the box found its way to his compatriot who was waiting to pounce.

Christensen’s first goal for the club against Malmo came from a similar pattern of a ball being initially cleared before a cross was played back in from the right-hand side – this time by Silva – for a fellow defender to finish.

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Chelsea! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive Chelsea coverage on football.london with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to Chelsea fans – CareFreeChelsea.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the Blues will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow @CarefreeYouth, @SonOfChelsea and @FLWN_ on Twitter to ensure you don’t miss out on the full launch coming very soon!

The clever near-post header from Ruben Loftus-Cheek to set up Chalobah at the back post against Southampton earlier this month also demonstrated a well-worked move to open the scoring.

Whether all of these moves are intentional or some good individual invention at the time, Barry has helped make Chelsea a bigger threat from set-pieces, and that is a great weapon to have when games are tight and your fluidity in open play is lacking.

What are your thoughts on Barry’s influence at Chelsea? Follow our CareFreeChelsea writer Daniel Childs on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below





Source link

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on tumblr
Tumblr
Share on stumbleupon
StumbleUpon