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Chelsea needs to be wary of Monterrey threat

Chelsea needs to be wary of Monterrey threat

Getty Images has a look at how the two sides will approach the semi-finals at the Club World Cup.

C.F.Monterrey have started the Club World Cup in Japan with a win and how. With absolute high tempo throughout the game against Asian champions Ulsan Hyundai, they are the early pace setters and that counts a lot in a tournament like this. With European champions Chelsea FC next up in the semi-final, Monterrey need to keep their form and attack the Londoners right from the word go.

Although the Blues have gained some momentum in the last two games where they comfortably beat Danish minnows FC Nordsjaelland in the Champions League and Sunderland in the Premier League, this is a certain different test which they need to overcome at any cost. Fernando Torres is slowly finding his feet under his former mentor and even though these are early days, the Spaniard is a threat to the Monterrey defence.

On the other hand, some would say that playing in Japan is a distraction they face just when they are trying to stay in touch with the pace setters in the Premier League, this trophy could certainly get their season up and running, giving them the boost that they need for the second half of the campaign.

Here looks at the tactical battle between two in-form sides and a match which has the potential to be an absolute cracker.

With Rafa Benitez the man at helm for Chelsea, one of his main aims was to get Torres scoring and he has managed that, quite incredibly. The change in the passing style of the Blues has been changed with the midfielders releasing the ball early with Torres making those early runs across the opposition defence. The goals scored in the games against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland prove just that.

Victor Moses, playing a wide role that Dirk Kuyt played with aplomb at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez, released the ball from just above the centre circle when he assisted Torres for his first goal against Nordsjaelland. Then against Sunderland, Hazard was released early to run with the ball before he crossed for Torres to score. The underlying point here being that the sleek passing between players at a distance of 5-to-7 yards, which Chelsea employed when Roberto di Matteo was in charge has been tweaked to add more defensive stability to a side teeming with attacking potential.

Torres is slowly beginning to find his old self

A side that relied heavily on the full backs bombing forward to provide the width for an otherwise narrow 4-2-3-1 formation, aren't doing so any more. The likes of Eden Hazard and Victor Moses are being asked to stick to the touchline, rarely cutting inside, in contrast to the system that Di Matteo employed where Oscar, Mata and Hazard constantly inter-changed positions to cause havoc among the opposition defence. What this has done is ensuring that the opposition full-backs are drawn away from the 18-yard box and opening up spaces between them and the centre-halves which is vital for Torres to make his runs. 

The Blues will look to start with Ramires/Oscar in midfield alongside Jon Obi Mikel as the defensive shield. Both Oscar and Ramires have the ability to shackle their opponents by pressing relentlessly off the ball, which is vital if Chelsea are to see any of the ball against a Monterrey side that are miserly when it comes to giving the ball away.

Chelsea have slowly begun to find their way under Benitez after a slow start. Now that they face an unfancied Monterrey, they need to carry on such performances which will only impress Roman Abramovich and fans alike.

As far as Monterrey are concerned, they were tremendous in the game against Ulsan Hyundai. Their defence has been tight, leaving in no space for passes to flow through the midfield. The midfield duo of Ayoví and Perez have been showing great one-touch passing ability with a relentless determination to run down every pass once they do lose the ball.

Monterrey will be a stern test of Chelsea's credentials as favourites

The pressing of the midfield, also containing the wingers Cardozo and Delgado in their half, has been impressive thereby making it difficult for Ulsan to get through to their attacking players, which they eventually couldn’t.

Monterrey' Aldo Di Nigris was playing as a lone striker and was running his socks off dropping wide to add width to their play with the first goal of the quarter final coming from a cross by him.

Thus, with both sides using their ways to get past the opponents, this semi final is certainly going to be a tough fight between the two sides. Although the London giants are expected to be favourites, the tag counts for little. With only 3 days for Chelsea to settle in Japan before playing this game, it could just prove to be their first and last of the Tournament.

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