FC CHELSEA : Scout Report (5x5 METHOD by Branko Nikovski)
REPORT - OBSERVATION OF THE OPPOSING
by Branko Nikovski
(the creator of the method 5x5)
THE SQUAD OF FC CHELSEA 2013/14
COACH : Josè Mourinho
*System of play: 4-2-3-1 evolutive (with the three attacking midfielders,
who often inter-change positions).
In some cases it can be seen also Ramires as right Attacking Midfield ,
that is a variation of coverage. They also use 4-3-3, but rarely. The 4-3-3
is used during the game, when they are winning and want to control the
game, but also when they play against teams of high technical quality.
*Players are very technical, good in possession and in the construction of
the action, but deadly on the counterattack. The front four are very fast
and very good at finishing.
*They use a pressure zone mixed: really high against small teams
(the positioning of the lateral attacking midfielders is essential), high
against the top teams ( blocking the opponent defensive midfielders).
Always short and very good team who reorganize itself in short periods.
There are very good in the air game (Matic, Ramires , Lampard, Terry,
Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahil) and they almost always win.
* Especially during Offensive Phase, they use a very direct style of play
creating opportunities after a couple of passes (3-4) or playing long balls
straight to the striker or to the attacking midfielders. Thanks to the pre-
game preparation of Mourinho, they know exactly where the weaknesses
of the opponent and hit them.
*When they build from the back, the defenders do not make dangerous
passages to the defensive midfielders if they are pressured by the
adversary. They prefer a more secure way of building, playing long balls
for the striker or the lateral attacking midfielders.
*The striker and the central attacking midfielder are very good at
creating and looking for the empty spaces, specially in the wing. The
lateral attacking midfielders are very good in 1v1, always ready to shoot
(when they centralize), very prepare for diagonal insertions and good for
* The team maintains the balance and cohesion for all the time during the
attack in the offensive phase. This helps to predict the eventual loss of
the ball, a short defensive transition and recuperation of the ball.
*The key players for the balance are Lampard and Matic, thanks to their
enormous capacity to read the tactical situations and the appropriate
placement in these situations. Even in the defensive phase, are a key
factor: providing help to full-back, cover the outputs of the central
defender, cover the wing.
OFFENSIVE PHASE :
- In zone 1, Cech has two options :
1) passes the ball to the central defenders, Matic / Lampard
drops to receive it and set up the game and move into the ZONE
2) lateral long ball (right side) in Zone 3, often for the striker, or
for the very large and high-B.Ivanovic (to take advantage of his
skill in the air game). The objective is to pass diagonally to the
attacking midfielders in Zone 4, or pass it back to the defensive
-In ZONE 2 have a line of 4 players: high full-backs and two
defensive midfielders. They move the ball quickly, and when the
wing steps down to receive the ball (creating space for the
insertion of the full- back) they throw a log ball to the fullback
in the ZONE 3. They also make the filtering passes for the
central attacking midfielder or the striker, but this depends on
the positioning of the opponents.
-In ZONE 3, the central attacking midfielder is the key factor. His
movements horizontal / diagonal on the flanks create numerical
superiority (very good technically). This phase contains the
actions that take place to create numerical superiority,
specially t on the wings, but also centrally (with wings
centralized). This phase also contains long passages on the
opposite''s weak side.
- In ZONE 4, very well take advantage of the opportunities they
The attacking midfielders are very good in 1v1, making excellent
crosses and very accurate for long shots. The striker is a bit
rapacious, very good in the air, agile, fast, but also strong in the
movement without the ball (to open spaces for his teammates).
SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF PHASE OFFENSIVE
- When the wing is centralized, the fullback is wide. But when the wing is
wide, the back stays back to cover.
- Ramires runs a lot, doing the incontrista, but in attack goes very often,
taking advantage of the spaces that create the wings and the striker.
- If the defensive midfielders are suffering in the setting of the game, the
playmaker steps down to help. So they turn in a classic 4-3-3.
- Matic often remains in line with the central defenders. But he is the
defensive playmaker that organizes the action. On the left wing creating a
rhomboid very strong technically (Matic, Azpilicueta, Hazard and Oscar or
with Matic, Azpilicueta, Hazard and Ramires ) with various attack schemes
to open the defense.
-The three attacking midfielders often swap positions (very good in tight
spaces), for not giving a reference point to the opponents. But even
when the striker expands on the wing, attacking midfielder attacks the
central space and the median is inserted from behind. If they play with
Lampard and Ramires together ,they insert into attack one at a time. The
other is covering.
- Hazzard, Oscar, Wilian are very good at filtering passes and create fast
action. Often center around creating a numerical superiority centrally and
fullbacks provide width on the flanks.
-The opposite wing often moves to the opposite flank where the ball is, to
assist in the possession of the ball. So they create a huge numerical
superiority on the flank (three of them + the Fullback + the striker + the
-With centralized wings (which make diagonal movements / vertical,
thanks to the dynamism of the striker), Matic / Lampard often makes the
vertical, but also a diagonal pass on the wings where there are the
-Often the striker makes final passage for the wings centralized.
-The attacking midfielder, in some cases plays as a second striker, in other
cases as a playmaker classic between the lines, after you see him on the
halfway line to set up the game. A versatile player (Oscar, Wilian).
-If attacking midfielder has space in front of him, try immediately to find
the striker (which goes in depth), but also a diagonal pass to the
centralized wing (which makes a cut).
When the striker steps down to receive the ball, the action takes place
1) with a passage for the median (which gives immediately a diagonal
passes to the wings)
2) Diagonal pass on the flanks, for the wings
3) pass to attacking midfielder (centrally)
The striker plays the limit of offside, between the two opposing central
The the fullbacks _ _are crossing strong balls in the penalty area. The
striker attacks the far post, the opposite wing centrally ,and the attacking
midfielder the first post. Ramires very often is inserted from behind.
Construction of the game, starting
from zone 1 (Cech)
the Insertions of Ramires
The fundamental rhomboids for the construction of the game
The inclusion of the fullback in Zone 3
and pass to the attacking midfielder
When the striker steps down to receiving
the ball in Zone 3 and eventual passes
When the striker expands on the flank The crosses from the fullbacks
The displacement of the
wing on the opposite flank
to create enormous
A pass between the lines
for the attacking midfielder
and his murderous passes
The centralization of the
wings, the width of the the
fullbacks , and the three
options that the median
The long balls for Ivanovic
The launches vertical / a diagonal for the striker
and for the wings from Zone 2 in Zone 3-4
The strongest weapon of this team. Having players like Torres. Eto'o,
Hazard, Wilian, Oscar, Schurrle, Ramires that could esplolare the free
space and create passes of quality means that the team is a ''perfect
car'''' in counter-attacks.
ZONE 1: very good on the counterattacks, especially after a set piece
against. If are playing against big teams always use them (many
opponents in attack). Things change a bit set piece against small teams,
because the opponent attacks with a short number of men.
-ZONE 2 and 3: when they win the ball (often Ramires steals it, or
Ivanovich), the transition takes place in three ways:
1) long diagonal ball to the wings
2)Filtred ball for the striker
3) Passing to the attacking midfielder, enlargement of a wing, and the
other wing cut and the striker expands (movement X). More central
insertion of the median (often by Ramires ).
-In some cases, Hazard is not taking part in the defensive phase (covered
by Matic) staying high to take advantage of the free space. Often creating
situations 4vs4 against the opposing defense.
- In many instances the 4 front guide the transition alone, more in some
cases the insertion of Ramires .
The offensive transition in
Zone 2/3 and the
Offensive transition : Diagonal ball for the wing
It turns into a 4-4-2 formation, with the attacking midfielder playing very
close to the striker. Always shorts creating density.
A team that hardly suffers against small teams, because they are a very
well balanced team defensively.
- They apply a high collective zonal pressing. The defenders tightly
marking opposing forwards, to limit their time and space. Following them
until the ZONE 3. Defenders are very fast, strong and effective in duels.
The good collaboration with the medians and the wings is very important
for balance, because when the defenders follow their opponents in the
high areas, the companions offer adequate coverage.
-The defenders, do not risk high defensive line on discovered balls. Do not
use the offside trap, but follow closely the opponent.
-They also have a wellstructured coverage physically in front of the
defense (Matic and Ramires ).
-Matic is the 5-th defender. Covers centrally when a defender moves on
the flank, covering the wing when it is high, moves the right side when
Ramires is inserted in the attack, to cover the Ramires position.
-The medians are very good tactically during this phase of providing
pressure support on the ball carrier opponent. This means that very
quickly recapture the ball, dominating the opponent.
-Very good in air game (4 defenders + the medians)
- Effective pressing. All players work collectively to an effective pressure.
The wings play a fundamental role in the high pressure zone. Their
placement also affects the positioning of the medians.
- The striker always attacks the central defenders When the wing attacks
the opponent central defender , the striker covers the space between the
two central defenders. If an opponent midfield steps down to receive the
ball , the attacking midfielder immediately mark him , to block him the
space and time to turn.
Two types of positioning of the wings :
1. Marking very near the opponent fullback but also follow the ball. In this
case, the medians take care for their rivals and the team remains in
balance. They play well against teams with the highest quality for building
from the back.
2.On the line of passage between the central defender and fullback
opponent. This positioning allows him to press the central defender and at
the same time cover the pass line for the fullback. The median provides
cover behind the wing (Ramires and Matic very good). They play so when
the fullbacks are high and when Chelsea wants to use a pressure ultra
offensive. Often used against teams with low technical quality during
-The positioning of the wings is not interdependent. One can mark the
fullback and the other to press the opponent central defender . or vice
In some cases it happens that all two are positioned equally.
-Against the top teams : the striker and the attacking midfielder are
marking the opponent midfielders , leaving the defenders to set up the
THE POSITIONING OF THE WINGS DURING THE HIGH PRESSING IN ZONE
Good air game and the tight marking on the opponent striker/s
High effective pressing in Zone
The possition of the wing during the high pressing in Zone.
Pressing on the ball carier.
Tight marking on the oppponent midfielders for bloccking their
game set up from the back
NEGATIVE TRANSITION :
-They are very short, and after 8-10 seconds you see them all behind the line of the
During the negative transition, immediately applying a pressure on the ball carrier
opponent. To succeed at this stage of , the team must remain compact, balanced and
need a player (Mourinho called him'' the safety player'') located in an appropriate
position to apply pressure on the ball.
The security man, usually is in a position to support the Chelsea's ball carrier behind .
Thus, it offers a chance to step back or pressure immediately if the ball is lost.
-Matic is the'' safety'' player for Chelsea. Very good to read fast tactical situations. His
positioning and defensive skills help the team to regain possession of the ball
immediately after the loss. We can say that is the key player for the balance of the
- Behind remain at least four players, in some cases, five (if there is an insertion in
the middle attack or a fullback wide).
-When they lose the ball in Zone 3, the medians attack the ball carrier (often making
a tactical foul), the defenders tightly mark the opposing strikers. The wings quickly
back on the flanks and the attacking midfielder attacks the ball carrier from behind.
-When Ramires is insert in attack, Matic moves right in the center to cover the area
left by Ramires.
Negative Transition and immediate attachment on the ball carrier
SET PIECES : AGAIN
CORNER : mixed marking
One player defends the near post, another player _ mark the zone infront of the
goalkeeper. The 4 defenders striker (or Matic) applying a man marking . Two players
remain outside the penalty for the eventual counter-attack (fast players), and Hazard
LATERAL FREE KICKS : zonal marking
1-2 in the barrier (do not jump). 6-7 players positioned in horizontal line
applying a zonal marking . Two players remain ahead for possible
CENTRAL FREE KICKS : zonal marking
3-4 players in the barrier. Other 5 players applying a zonal marking
(positioned in horizontal line). One remains forward for possible counter-
SET PIECES : FOR
CORNER : soft and mixed
Ivanovic, Cahil, Terry and the striker are very close (to get rid of the marks), another
player disturbs the goalkeeper. If Matic play,he takes the place of the striker. Often
Oscar is approaching for a short corner option. Azpilicueta and Ramires are left
Ivanovic attacks the near post, Torres / Matic the second . Cahil and Terry remain
close attacking centrally. Hazard remains outside the penalty area.
CENTRAL FREE KICK : shot on goal
They shot almost always (Lampard, Oscar, Luiz, Willian). Two Chelsea
players go to disrupt the opposing wall. Ramires and Azpilicueta remain
LATERAL FRE KICK : mixed
They attack with 4-5 players. Ivanovic often attacks the far post, the
others follow the movement of the ball. Ramires and Azpilicueta remain
-The substitutions often make the difference. Entering a striker and a
'fresh wing with extraordinary speed and acceleration, to exploit the
The third median comes only when they win and they want control the
game. When they lose, it enters another striker and Ivanovic remains in
attack for eventual cross.
IN 10 MEN:
-They turn into 4-4-1, defending very compact and tight. In attack do not
risk a building game from behind, but playing long balls for the striker.
The offensive transition helps them to win even when they are in 10 men.
But if the offen.transition is not effective, the opponent offensive
transition can'' kill them''.
THE MOURINHO’S LEADERSHIP MAKES THE