We’re going to briefly analyze the On-loan Atletico madrid midfielder Saul and break down what he would offer to Chelsea’s midfield.
First we’re going to focus on Saul’s role in Atletico setup, then shift to his key strengths in that midfield zone and then we’ll finish off with how he may fit into thomas tuchel’s chelsea setup.
So if we shift our attention to the Tactical board we could see Atletico madrid in a 4-4-2 with Saul starting as the right-sided midfielder and what is key about this Atletico madrid side is that Diego Simeone has trained them to play in different systems, what you end up seeing here from Saul from that right-sided role is that he’s looking to get himself into advanced positions between the lines and find little pockets of space to receive the ball, what ends up happening is that he often finds himself in that gap between the central midfielder and the left-sided midfielder, or just ahead of the center-back and the left-back. He’s looking to receive the ball in those zones, what’s also important is his movement at times, he’s occupying that space between the center-back and the left-back and he’s giving Atletico madrid a third attacking option in and around the box.
If he’s not doing that he’s making runs into that gap and that does create space for let’s say Trippier who is looking to push forward from right back and what he’s also looking to do is that when Atletico madrid do break into the box he ends up utilizing his height advantage to tower over the full backs, to present an aerial threat.
If he is playing in a central midfield position, he’s still looking to push forward and it’s often Koke who is sitting deeper if they are playing in that midfield two, and that’s where you also see him looking to make runs into those gaps of space and at times what you end up seeing is that he could make the run in between the right back and the center back and that’s where he’s able to occupy space and drag out the right back and that creates space for a Carrasco on the left hand side or for lodi who’s looking to push forward.
Ultimately that appears to be the role that he can fit into at chelsea when you look at their Current midfield options, neither Kante Kovasic or Jorginho are an offensive threat in and around the final third besides possibly playing as a wing back.
It’s unlikely that you will see him playing in those attacking midfield positions given the fact that there is a lot of competition but with neither of those three options in that midfield zone offering a threat what you could see specifically against inferior opposition is that when chelsea are pegging back the opposition they are looking to push their wing backs forward to provide threats out in those areas whether it be breaking them behind or delivering crosses and with Lukaku occupying center backs and Havertz also presenting an aerial threat it’s a great opportunity for Saul to make late runs, into the penalty area and get into crosses from the wing backs, or rely on quick combination play from Mount, Havertz or even Lukaku to make runs into that penalty area to present an additional goal scoring threat.
While Saul may not dominate games from central areas the attacking zones he drifts into along with his positional versatility presents an offensive dynamic to chelsea’s midfield that deems him a likely asset for Thomas Tuchel.