Date: 7th August 2014 at 7:16am
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Saber’s great contribution made me think about the tactical side of the game

Many would argue which was the most important transfer we made this summer. A reasonable amount of people sought improvement in the striking area or felt that we needed a deep lying playmaker to bring some versatility to our game and we made two brilliant moves signing Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas.

The former scored numerous goals and helped Atletico in their quest to break the domestic dominance of Real and Barca, proving to be a clinical and deadly striker, while the latter left the fans and the pretentious board of the Catalans with mixed emotions, despite providing a fair amount of assists. I believe that if Fabregas hits it off soon with the rest of the team his quick, accurate and diverse passing will help us a lot against teams who tend to park the bus.

His presence will free some space for Matic, who is not only a defensive rock, but also has a good eye for long ranged passes who release our strikers or wide players and this duo will add a lot of fluidity to our game and will relieve some of the pressure from our atomic trio behind the striker to drop back, collect the ball and deliver it forward, where they are supposed to be. This will allow us to play a lot quicker and I see us being a scary counter attacking team with fast forwards and precise passers to distribute the ball to them.

Now let’s move to Costa. So far I have observed a few things about him. First, he is a great finisher who isn’t afraid to shoot from any point within the box. Second, from a striker with his bulky appearance you wouldn’t expect that turn of pace, which has pleasantly surprised me. Third, although he might seem like a willing passer with the two assists he dished against Vitesse against a teams that are better defensively like Werder he spends a little bit too much time on the ball and tends to dribble himself into bad positions, failing to pass to open team-mates.

I understand it is only about a week he has been training after the WC break, but that is an aspect of his game I will definitely continue to observe. And one last thing about him – his cockiness has no limits, which can only be a good thing with the media hovering like vultures over any expensive striker Chelsea FC decides to buy, pressuring them to deliver goals from the very first second they spends on the pitch. I believe Costa will deliver for us although it might take some time, but knowing that the media cannot ruin his self confidence is always an encouraging sign. But we just have to supply him with good balls to allow him to thrive as he is not an Aguero or Suarez type of striker, who can create his own chance.

Which brings me to my next topic of discussion – wide play! This is an aspect of the game we were terrible at last season and was one of the reasons why we failed to unlock tight defenses. But the signing of Felipe Luis provides us with something we haven’t quite had for a while – a good crosser on the left flank. Imagine Luis and Hazard playing together. Do you double team Hazard and prevent him from cutting inside or mark Luis who might supply a fine cross for Costa?

For a long time we have been crossing the ball only from the right side of the pitch which made us predictable and lead to teams clustering the right side of the pitch. Now we have another option – Hazard might go a little bit more in the center leaving Felipe Luis the whole flank and the freedom to whip the ball in. All that unpredictability will confuse defenders and we will have the tools to make teams parking the bus crack under the pressure from our multiple ways of attacking.

If anyone feels they can add something to the topic they are more than welcome to share their thoughts.