Samuel Eto’o was named man of the match yesterday as Chelsea defeated Manchester United at Stamford Bridge to strengthen their Premier League positioning while condemning United to their seventh loss of the season.
Eto’o has been criticised at times this season but yesterday he showed every bit of his experience to get the Blues in front, providing them with a lead which they never gave back. So how did he tear apart United?
|Player||Club||Pos||Ontarget Scoring Att||Apps||Mins|
Eto’o was very precise and deadly, scoring with three out of four efforts he had. He wasn’t at all wasteful and made the most of genuine chances when they fell his way, which created a lead for Chelsea which the midfield and defence were able to protect.
Successful Final Third Passes
|Player||Club||Pos||Successful Final Third Passes||Apps||Mins|
Eto’o made just seven successful passes in the final third over 79 minutes. That may seem like an appalling work rate but there is logic behind it. Chelsea have far more creative players on the ball in the final third, with Eto’o concentrating more on occupying defenders to create space as well as getting into goal scoring positions, which worked perfectly as he bagged a hat-trick.
When he did find himself off of the front and at the top of Chelsea’s midfield, he wasn’t afraid to run at the United defence. Not only did this push United’s back four back, creating space, it also enabled runners from Chelsea’s midfield to push forward which gave Eto’o more time to work in possession.
It wasn’t always a case of backing off for Eto’o and letting everyone else do the work. On the occasions when he needed to make himself available all over the pitch, he weighed in with some vital touches which eased pressure on Chelsea stars in key positions.
Eto’o also did his best to make it as difficult as possible for United to move the ball out of their own defence, weighing in with an interception which allowed Chelsea to keep up the pressure. While one interception is never going to be the most impressive stat, it shows that he’s reading the game and always looking for ways to get the ball back in the opponent’s final third.
image: © ennaimi