Chelsea showed how to stop the usually effective Marouane Fellaini

Stamford Bridge

Chelsea defeated Manchester United at Stamford Bridge and managed to stifle Marouane Fellaini’s impact in the process.

Manchester United monopolised the majority of the possession in their defeat to Chelsea but failed to be effective enough in the final third like they have been in recent weeks.

Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester City could not handle their attacking threat but the Blues came to Stamford Bridge with a plan which they executed expertly and Jose Mourinho, as usual, was the mastermind.

Chelsea’s aim was to stop the dangerous United left-hand side which consisted of Ashley Young, the drifting Marouane Fellaini and on this occasion, Luke Shaw, due to Daley Blind’s injury absence.

On the day, the most dangerous of the trio was Shaw, which is testament to Chelsea as the Young and Fellaini combination have proved extremely fruitful in recent weeks.

Fellaini in particular has made himself a real handful by targeting an opposition player with less physical presence and dominating him when long diagonals were played to him.

It is a tactic which has been very effective but on Saturday, Fellaini was almost completely nullified.

Chelsea had all of their bases covered by playing the height and power of Branislav Ivanovic at right-back and the Kurt Zouma and Nemanja Matic partnership in front of the back four. It meant all seven of their defensive set-up including the goalkeeper were defensive minded and very strong in the air.

It meant United struggled to get joy when they did attempt their variation to Fellaini. The Red Devils were forced into continuously looking to penetrate on the floor, meaning they had less clear cut chances than in previous weeks.

Fellaini had been effective at both flicking the ball on and bringing the ball down. Chelsea had a plan for the latter part of his game, too. When the Belgian was able to bring the ball down in the final third, they were straight on his first touch, giving him no time to influence the game.

It showed that with the right tactics, Fellaini can be stopped in that region of the pitch and once again it is testament to the tactical mastermind that is Mourinho. As for United, it proves that they cannot always use Fellaini as a Plan A and makes new acquisitions in the summer an absolute necessity if they are to challenge the Blues next year.

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