The conventional wisdom is that Chelsea plays a more direct football when Drogba leads the attack rather than Torres. Is that really the case?
One way to determines whether a team uses a direct approach or not is looking at the distribution of the goalkeeper. Although this is not the absolute measure, it is a good start.
|Petr Cech's Passes against Wolves (left) and against Manchester United (right) | Source ||
Here we have Petr Cech's distribution against Wolves, a game which Drogba started and played the majority of the game, right along side his distribution against Manchester United, a game which Torres started and played the entire game (Drogba didn't feature in this game).
Of course, no two games are alike and there are bound to be confounding factors in any of the game comparisons. But the important point is that there are little difference between the two distribution chart.
Against Wolves, Cech made a total of 36 passes, 16 of them landed in the opposition's half (44.4%). Out of those 16 long balls, 7 were successful and Drogba was the recipient on 5 occasions.
Against Manchester United, Cech made a total of 34 passes, 13 of them landed in the opposition's half (38.2%). Out of those 13 long balls, 7 were successful and Torres was the recipient on 5 occasions.
There are difference between the two sides of the chart. First, Cech's long balls against Wolves are more centrally aimed, while those against Manchester United are more spread out horizontally. Second, Cech's distributions in the Wolves game reached higher up the pitch than those in the Manchester United game.
Not sure if we can draw any solid conclusions from this, but there seems to be more complexities to Chelsea's game than say, "Drogba = direct football; Torres = passing football." Any theories or thoughts?
Carefree, wherever you may be...