|Shakhtar Donetsk v. Chelsea FC – Tactical Preview
Shakhtar host Chelsea at the Donbass arena with most fans knowing nothing about them. Like the Nodrsjaelland fixture, let me enlighten you this time as well !
Shakhtar play a 4-2-3-1. Similar to Chelsea’s. This is their probable lineup and movement.
Shakhtar’s manager is just like Arsene Wenger. He loves to work with the younger players and that has fared him well.
From all the players they have on the pitch, their attack is the strongest point. Counter-attack is their largest strength with the wingers bursting forward along with the AMF.
Luiz Adriano moves a lot, which puts man-marking off the map. He likes to drift to the left, which allows ex – Chelsea transfer target Willian, a chance to cut inside. Both Willian and Teixeira are versatile, which allow them to swap positions. Ramires will have to deal with quite a lot here.
After talking to a few journalists and tactical pundits, I can safely say that Adriano is kind-off like a fake false 9. He doesn’t drift back through the center, but drags the defenders out of position like Torres does.
Mkhitaryan looks to be the favorite to start against Chelsea in the No.10 role. He like Oscar, was also assigned to the task of closing in on Pirlo, which he did well. The strong point of Mkhitaryan is that he can drop back to the pivot and form a 3- man partnership. This can slow down Chelsea’s counter-attacking strategy through the center.
Their pivot includes Hubschman and Fernandinho ( a must buy in Football Manager) . Fernandinho loves to get in front like Ramires (who are both Brazilians) and Hubschman loves to get back like Mikel. The two team’s are very similar in the middle of the pitch. The Brazilian can change the tempo of the game at will. His pin-point long balls can cause problems.
Hubschman is exactly like Mikel. Breaks counter-attacks, covers for the Ukranian geezer when he goes front and is good at controlling possession. The winger partnership of Willian and Teixeira come back while defending, which gives them an edge over the Chelsea defenders who might not really be comfortable with defending.
At the back 4 , they have Rat and Srna , both of whom are must buys in Football Manager. They love to get forward just like Ivanovic and Cole. This is a part which intrigues me a lot. Ivanovic is similar to the left-back Razvan Rat. They both are the more attackive of the pair. Cole and Srna are the same as well. Both have skill and trickery and play more from the middle. Expect a fiery contest between the Big Serb and Razvan.
The back 4 of Shakthar play a high-line policy, something which I expect Chelsea to exploit. They are very vulnerable to crosses, and I read a stat somewhere saying that Shakhtar had conceded 1/3 of their goals via link-up crosses. They don’t like to move to the flanks, like our Luiz does to the left.
To end this, Shakhtar’s strongest point is their counter-attacking strategy, thanks to the immense amount of pace in their squad. Hoping for the best from the blues.
I will not bother putting up Chelsea’s formation. Expect it to be the same from the game at White Hart Lane. Di Matteo is taking this fixture seriously ! Sorry for being late !
Come on Chelsea ! Carefree since 1905.
Sherry Philips (@bluebloodSherry), Deputy Editor