Chelsea 2-0 Galatasaray: Selcuk and Eboue Failings Make It Easy for the Blues

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterMarch 18, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18:  Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea is marshalled by Aurelien Chedjou (L) and Emmanuel Eboue of Galatasaray (R) during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea and Galatasaray AS at Stamford Bridge on March 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea progressed to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday courtesy of a 2-0 win over Galatasaray at Stamford Bridge.

Samuel Eto'o scored in the third minute after good work from his midfield, then Gary Cahill wrapped up the result by stabbing home a rebound from a corner just before half-time.

Gala were poor throughout, and the Blues played as if they were 5-0 up at all times. Had the away side gone for it, they could have sprang a surprise, but a lack of heart and effort was apparent over the course of the 90 minutes.

Let's take a tactical look at the game.

Formations and XIs

Chelsea - Gala Starting XIs
Chelsea - Gala Starting XIsTighe B/R

Chelsea utilised their standard 4-2-3-1, with Ramires and Frank Lampard as a holding duo and Oscar as a No. 10. Eto'o started in place of Fernando Torres, who was held scoreless at Villa Park on Saturday.

Galatasaray lined up in a 4-3-3 with Didier Drogba up front, Burak Yilmaz off the right and Wesley Sneijder off the left. Semih Kaya started at centre-back.

Chelsea's Method of Attack

Looking at Gala's XI, the weakness clearly lay in the wide areas on paper. That translated onto the field in full, as Eto'o slid home after great work from Willian and Co. on the right touchline.

Alex Telles is ideal going forward but still learning his trade defensively; Chelsea were able to slip into space behind him then transfer the ball quickly beyond the line as Semih attempted to seal the gap, creating the first goal.

From there they tried the left, and Emmanuel Eboue essentially just stood and stared as Eden Hazard blitzed him over and over again. It was a remarkably poor performance from the right-back.

The Blues overloaded both flanks early and often to gain superiority, and while Eboue and Telles disappointed, Burak and Sneijder were hardly willing runners and refused to help for the most part.

Gala's Game Plan

Roberto Mancini's men came into the game knowing they had to score a goal or two to progress; a clean sheet for Chelsea would have seen the Turkish giants knocked out.

Unfortunately, after one promising attack down the left, the offensive threat from Gala all but fizzled out completely.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 18:  Ramires of Chelsea is watched by Alex Telles (15) and Wesley Sneijder of Galatasaray (10) during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea and Galatasaray AS at Stamford Bridge on March 18, 2014 in
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The game plan was clear: Telles overlaps on the left as Sneijder inverts, a cross is lofted in to Drogba who is peeling off at the far post and he either heads on goal or finds Burak, underlapping from the right flank, in the box.

With Drogba matching up against Cesar Azpilicueta, this could have been a gold mine. Instead, Willian's studious tracking of Telles and Ivanovic's sizable frame blocked the full-back's attacking intent.

Gala's Work-around

The nullification of Telles left two other possible attacking modes: go through Selcuk Inan in the centre or try the other flank with Eboue.

Selcuk is a hugely popular player in Turkey and his talents often go unsung, but he's been poor for months now and has been described by Gala fans as a "handbrake" in midfield.

His inability to control the tempo, dictate where space opens up and create chances ended Gala's hopes of working a chance through the centre, and Eboue's inept defensive performance was replicated in the attacking phase.

In short, all three avenues for attack were closed off by Chelsea either by methodical planning or poor individual showing.

Mancini Switches to 3-5-2

In the second half, Mancini switched to the 3-5-2 he's been playing with in the Super Lig of late.

Felipe Melo dropped in at centre-back with Semih and Aurelien Chedjou, Sneijder came inside and Burak shifted into a central striking role to help Drogba win more than just free-kicks. Later, Hakan Balta came in at centre-back to free Melo back into midfield.

Gala switch to 3-5-2.
Gala switch to 3-5-2.Tighe B/R

The switch freed up Telles temporarily and placed his starting position further forward, but he was unable to create a sustained impact. In fact, moving Sneijder inside created even more space for Ivanovic to run into on the break, and the right-back became a solid out-ball for Chelsea to break through.

Gala continued to struggle working the ball between the lines, and their sole chance of the second half saw Drogba fluff his lines when it was easier to score late on.


A bitterly disappointing outing from Gala, who can play far better games of football.

Mancini tried his best to change things up and get the better of Jose Mourinho, but Chelsea's workman-like approach shut down all three key outlets for the Turkish side.

The Blues have developed a wonderful habit of grinding out games and doing enough to winan ominous sign for the other seven teams in the quarters.


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