Two big sporting events occurred on Monday and although one was exceedingly bigger than the other, in terms of attendance and importance, both followed similar patterns in terms of the final result.
Seattle came out on top in the early hours of Monday morning UK time, presumably watched by various people skipping work, whilst Chelsea were victorious against Man City later in the evening on Sky’s Monday Night Football.
Going into both matches it was hard to pick a clear winner. And here is when the similarities begin. Seattle could proudly boast the best defensive record, whilst Denver had the best offensive record in the NFL.
Chelsea, interestingly, also boasted the best defensive record in their league, whilst Man City had the best attacking (offensive) record.
So who would come out on top? The old adage that ‘attack is the best form of defence’ proved correct as Seattle and Chelsea both put on masterful displays to show there is more to their game than just defence.
The tactics from both sides were similar too, if they can be despite being different sports. Chelsea’s pressing game was outstanding and José Mourinho once more showed why he is one of the best coaches and tacticians in the game.
The Blues pressed from the off, starting with Samuel Eto’o and being followed up excellently by Willian, Eden Hazard and Ramires, who was in a more unfamiliar right attacking midfield position.
The level of pressing was replicated all over the pitch and forced City to take more risk. David Luiz and Nemanja Matić controlled midfield, with the latter assuming a kind of quarter-back position in front of the Chelsea’s back-four, although he didn’t dictate play like you’d expect from an NFL quarter-back.
Matić was excellent though and the Blues back five, including Petr Čech, showed why they are the best defence in England. They were all colossal but Gary Cahill in particular showed his class and made an extraordinary 15 effective clearances.
As mention City tried to assume some control in the game by gambling, like they have done all season, and pushing more men forward than they could take.
It finished 1-0 to Chelsea and City did have some decent chances to score, especially towards the end, but they only tested Čech three times.
The visitors meanwhile could easily have scored more than just once. They hit the woodwork three times as well as missing several clear cut opportunities,
and hit the target on six occasions.
And overall the best defence neutralized the best attack in the Premier League.
The 1-0 victory didn’t have the thrashing manner, which Seattle’s over Denver’s did but the supreme performance from Chelsea was similar to Seattle’s in the Super Bowl.
Seattle’s 43-8 victory signaled their class and they restricted the best offense in the NFL to just one touchdown, a startling achievement.
Even Seattle’s game plan and defensive work can be likened to Chelsea’s. They swarmed all over Denver’s players, not giving them a second to breath and this caused the Broncos star man, quarterback Peyton Manning, to come off second best in the final.
Various times Manning was caught by Seattle players and his throws were off target on numerous occasions because of their intense pressure, similar to Chelsea’s pressing.
The spirit and togetherness of Pete Carroll’s Seahawks can also be compared to Chelsea who seem in harmony once again this season, with that surely contributing to the perfect execution of Mourinho’s tactics at the Etihad.
So whilst Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Man City wasn’t as important or as comprehensive as Seattle’s over Denver’s, you can quite clearly see the similarities.
The question that remains now is whether Mourinho and his side can go on to win their Super Bowl?
image: © Neal D