Can Chelsea try the False 9?

False 9 has became famous since Spain used it during the Euro 2012 and has been used by Arsenal, Manchester United, Barcelona and many more clubs down the road. A false 9 tactic uses the formation of 4-6-0. This is how it looks like.

The false 9 requires a striker to play deep in the midfield like a play maker. It often leaves the centre-backs with two choices. Follow him and leave space at the back, which can be exploited by other midfielders or leave him and let other midfielders link up with him and overrun the defence.

Lets assume that the opposition is playing with four defenders at the back with the formation 4-4-2 and one of the defender makes the first choice. He follows Torres, who keeps dropping deeper and deeper. Now Hazard, Mata and Ramires can push forward towards the empty space and have a shot at goal themselves. Here’s how it would look like.

I’ve used 4 defenders and 2 midfielders, with Mikel in possession of the ball. Torres suddenly starts going deeper and the defender starts thinking that Torres’s is moving to receive a clear pass. With all the midfielders and defenders trying to man mark their players, a spot opens up right behind one defender. Then what does Mikel do?

Mikel spots Torres going deeper. He quickly passes to Ramires and drops deeper to avoid fast counter attacks. The dotted lines represent Mikel’s pass to Ramires. He then runs in to the final third after exchanging passes with Hazard and Cesar, he  finds himself through on goal as the defender forgets to mark his area, which is shown by dotted lines with an arrow.
The other players are being marked by the opposition players. The lines with arrows show who they are marking.
The opposition strikers and midfielders are deep into the other half and getting ready for a fast counter attack.
It’s not just Ramires but anyone who can find himself clear and makes the run at the precise moment, can exploit the place left behind by the defender who tried to mark Torres.
Now lets assume that the opposition is playing with four defenders at the back once again in a 4-4-2 formation and one of the defender makes the second  choice. Torres starts dropping deeper but the defender refuses to follow him and fall for the trap. All the other opposition midfielders are marking Hazard, Mata, Lampard, Ramires and the two full backs on the sides. This is how it would look like.

Lines with arrow shows which defender and midfielder is marking whom and the line without arrow shows the defender, who does not want to follow Torres. Now Torres has two choices to make. Either he runs at the defender or picks out a pass to the flanks or to one of the midfielders. Lets have a look at that.

Same as before the lines with arrows shows, which player the defender is marking and the dotted lines with arrows shows how Torres could move. Every defender’s nightmare is facing Torres one on one. Even God can’t help the defender when Torres uses his  pace  to get past him. He can go down for a penalty or have a shot at goal .That’s goal scoring opportunity 1.
After he realizes that there is no defender dovetailing  him, he can pick out a player with an incisive pass or combine with him. ( I have not used any midfielders, so that I can show the proper trajectory of the ball. The midfielders like we have seen above will be marking their players)

Torres can pass to Hazard who see’s Mata making a run and finds space right between Defender 3 and Defender, Mata goes clear with the ball. Torres can also pass to the fullbacks, who are making runs and they can cross the ball. That’s goal scoring opportunity 2 and 3.
Now False 9 is not a child’s play. It takes hours of practice in the training ground and if perfected it can be devastating against any team with four defenders at the back.

Now I chose Torres because he knows how the False 9 works, thanks to him being a part of the Spanish national team and Del Bosque. Another option that we can use is that instead of Torres, we use Hazard as it its conventional to use a midfielder as False 9 and in Hazard’s place use someone with pace like Moses or Sturridge.

Sherry Philips . Follow me @bluebloodSherry

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  1. Shikharr Chandra says

    So Sherry, all 4 parts in one 😀

  2. Sherry Philips says

    Haha xD

  3. CFC says

    not a bad analysis…

  4. Sherry Philips says

    Thanks for the feedback !

  5. Anonymous says

    I have been desperate for months for Chelsea to play 4-6-0. I do like the setup, however I'd make a couple of changes.

    1) Swap Lampard and Mikel for Oscar and David Luiz. Oscar and Luiz are much better in possession and have the speed and stamina make runs into the box like Ramires does. More goal threat as well.

    2) Play Hazard and Mata as false nines as well as Torres. With your set-up Hazard and Mata might be a bit predictable, but with them and Torres all playing false nine, they will either:
    a)combine to drag 2 or 3 defenders out of position, freeing up acres of space for our other midfielders and forwards to run into and be easily picked out with through balls, or
    b) be given acres of space to look up and take their time to pick out their team-mates with defence-splitting through-balls. All 6 players would be very capable of bursting through defences to score, and Oscar, Mata, Hazard and Luiz are all excellent and delivering the final pass. Ramires and Torres are no mugs on the ball either.

    Our wing-backs Cole and Azpi will bomb on to provide genuine width that we might otherwise lack (think Alba and Arbeloa for Spain) so that our actual shape would be more of a 2-8-0.

    I just hope RDM reads this article, wherever he is.

  6. Sherry Philips says

    I have a doubt on Luiz, but Oscar with proper mentor-ship can end up good.
    At this moment, Hazard and Mata will be much better False 9's then Torres and I completely agree with their point.

    Cesar also would be an ideal part of the formation with his pace.
    Thanks !

  7. Nishat says

    Lets just say you can keep entertaining your fans and we can keep wniinng silverware for ours, right? Way to go pal. After all, you are a Spurs fan, you’ve no real interest with Chelsea games so you can always check afterwards and see by how many goals we won. At the end of the day, goals, points and cups are the most important statistics so guess who’s looking deluded…Europa league for you and your ‘beautiful’ football. Ps: we only defended for 3 matches all season and beat you 5-1 at Wembley so suck on that!!

  8. says

    I was drawn by the honesty of what you write

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