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Premier League managers have now devised a tactical plan to beat Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Chelsea’s defeat to West Ham and Everton saw both managers use the same tactics – force Chelsea wide by stopping the Blues from playing through the middle.
Everton boss Duncan Ferguson admitted after Everton’s 3-1 victory over Chelsea that he instructed his players to stop Chelsea from playing through the middle.
“I had it in my mind [4-4-2], and being at Goodison then it might get the fans behind us and look like we were going more attacking,” Ferguson said.
“It think it worked well, the two strikers, to put pressure on the ball and I think that we did that.
“We closed off their inside passes, trying to force them wide, which you could see that and when the ball went wide then we could go and put pressure on and stop penetrating passes through us.”
During Chelsea’s shock defeat to West Ham, the same tactics was also used.
West Ham Michail Antonio also revealed they were instructed to stop Chelsea from playing through the middle.
“It was to disrupt them, just let them have the ball, don’t let them come through the middle of us because we know they always like to come inside,” Antonio said.
“So we showed them the outside and got them to cross the ball because we know with Angelo [Ogbonna] and Fabien [Balbuena] at the back, we are going to eat up all the crosses that are going to come in. And that’s what we came and did. They didn’t really get in between us at all so the gameplan worked.”
With games against Lille and Bournemouth coming up, Lampard has to find a solution to this problem.