Chelsea vs. Birmingham City: 5 Things Andre Villas-Boas' Side Must Do to Win
As Chelsea prepare for their FA Cup match with Birmingham City, there are some things they need to focus on.
Birmingham City are not a very good club, and Chelsea shouldn't have a problem earning the victory. However, winning is a lot easier said than done.
Chelsea have been in poor form lately, and that needs to change. There is a lot of pressure on this match, and the Blues need to come through.
Realistically, the FA Cup is Chelsea's last hope at silverware this year, and they need to stay in the competition for as long as possible. Depending on each round's draw, they could potentially reach the final without facing another top tier team.
Regardless, Chelsea need to focus on this match. A win is essential, and there are some things the Blues need to do in order to win.
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The centre-backs need to have very solid games for Chelsea.
Assuming Andre Villas-Boas plays a high line, the defenders need to tackle efficiently. If they don't, Birmingham City will be through on goal multiple times.
That can't happen.
If the center of defense is strong, Chelsea should have no problem keeping a clean sheet against Birmingham.
Get the Ball to Juan Mata
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I say it every week, and I'm going to say it again: Get the ball to Juan Mata.
He will be the best player on the field on Saturday. If he gets the ball at his feet early and often, he will do some serious damage.
Birmingham City have no way to contain the Spaniard, and Chelsea know that. Accordingly, they need to make sure Mata has the ball as often as possible.
Mata pulls the strings for Chelsea, and they might need to score multiple goals. If Andre Villas-Boas wants to do that, he will tell his players to get the ball to Mata.
If others can play as well as Mata, Chelsea will not have a problem winning this match.
Assert Dominance Early
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Everyone knows Chelsea are the superior club.
They just need to prove it.
In order to assert their dominance, Chelsea need to pressure Birmingham City early and often. Andre Villas-Boas' side need to suffocate Birmingham and demoralize them as well as they can.
If they break Birmingham down early, Chelsea will be in great shape. Once Birmingham start second-guessing themselves, Chelsea will be in great shape.
Scoring early would be great. Constant pressure would do just fine. Either way, Chelsea can't afford to let Birmingham get comfortable. Otherwise, anything could happen.
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Too often, Chelsea seem to be playing no particular formation.
Whether it's the coach, the players or a general confusion, Chelsea lose organization at some point in nearly every single match they lose. When that happens, it almost always results in a goal.
That can't happen against Birmingham City.
The team needs to come together and figure things out. Whether or not they like each other doesn't matter, the club needs to realize its potential and start winning matches.
If that's going to happen, there's no better time than Saturday against Birmingham City.
Finish in Front of the Net
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Chelsea have attacked relatively well for most of the season.
Unfortunately, they have not finished well. At all.
Chelsea get in the box, and things just can't go right. Whether it's Fernando Torres (we're not going to talk about his woes any longer), Daniel Sturridge or someone else, Chelsea can't seem to find the net.
The chances are there. The finishes aren't.
Once Chelsea start knocking in the easy ones, they will be scoring in bunches. Until then, Chelsea fans will just have to suffer through agonizing, fruitless attacks.