Analysis: How Tuchel tactically outsmarted Conte in Carabao Cup semi-final first leg

Chelsea beat Tottenham 2-0 in the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg last night courtesy of a Kai Havertz 5th minute strike and an own goal by Ben Davies later in the first half.

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The Blues were in cruise control of proceedings especially in the first half of the game as Conte seemed to have no answer to Tuchel playing with a back four on the night.

“We played 4-4-2 when we had the ball because there were no five left that play in a back five. After Thiago tested positive yesterday we took the decision, the chance to inform the team that maybe this was the solution for today.” Said Tuchel to Sky Sports in his post match interview.

It also looked like a 4-2-2-2 formation when Chelsea had the ball with Ziyech and Mount taking more central positions in between Jorginho-Saúl and Havertz-lukaku when Chelsea had the ball.

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Via @PremLeaguePanel

It looked like an imitation of Ralf Ragnick’s gengen press formation but off the ball Chelsea played with a back five and it was Hakim Ziyech who drifted into the role of a right wing-back in this system. A role in which the Moroccan produced a man of the match performance. Masterclass.

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Via @PremLeaguePanel

One more interesting thing to note about last night’s tactical Masterclass by Tuchel is how the system allowed Hakim Ziyech to play to his strength as a conventional right wing-forward plus the back four let him drift infield and create problems for the Tottenham defense with his exceptional passing when Chelsea had the ball.

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The one touch passing in midfield was also notable last night with Jorginho and Saúl Niguez pulling the strings in that regard and it ended in a comprehensive 2-0 win for Chelsea and they could have even scored more.

Antonio Conte eventually got Thomas Tuchel’s trick and switched to a 4-2-3-1 in the second half which led to Tottenham gaining more control but that was nothing too difficult for Tuchel to match as he also switched to the same formation to see off the game.