07 February 2011

Chelsea Chalkboard Review

As most are aware, I frequently trawl through Liverpool's chalkboards after games looking for inspiration. Stats never tell a full story, but often help color in between the narrative's lines. Today I thought I'd show how Liverpool controlled yesterday's game by using Chelsea's chalkboards.

Average Position:
Liverpool (3-1-5-1):

Sunderland (4-5-1):

Having three at the back was obviously the main difference, man-marking both Chelsea strikers with an additional CB to pick up the pieces, but Lucas' role also blunted Chelsea's effectiveness. The deep-lying midfielder was able to control Chelsea's attacking pivot – Anelka. Sunderland's unbalanced 4-5-1 saw Sessesgnon – ostensibly the left winger – more often inside, creating a midfield diamond with Malbranque, Richardson, and Henderson while Elmohamady provided width on the right. But none of those four midfielders had a strictly defensive brief; all four prefer to get forward to join the attack. Without an out-and-out holding player, Anelka had the freedom of the pitch.


Man of the match mid-week with a goal and assist, Anelka attempted 16 more passes against Sunderland, completing 12 more, and was busier in all areas of the opposition half. Against Liverpool, he was restricted to a smaller section of the pitch, far more central, where Lucas could stay in front of him.

Lampard and Essien:

Meanwhile, Chelsea's other "attacking" midfielders – Lampard and Essien, the sides of the diamond – were also far less potent. There is a distinct pattern to their play against Sunderland: Lampard stayed primarily on the left, Essien on the right. Both players had a higher pass completion rate against Liverpool, but both perpetually roamed instead of staying in defined roles, trying to force a break-through, unable to come to terms with Liverpool's stymieing formation. In addition, far more passes from both are either sideways or backwards against Liverpool compared to against Sunderland.

Torres v Kalou:

Yikes. Bad day at the office. To be fair, it was Torres' debut. But still. Yikes. It goes without saying that a striker needs to be more diligent when the team's struggling. But Torres doesn't go looking for chances; he needs to be presented with them. And Chelsea's creators couldn't do so. Which is why Chelsea's record signing was hauled off with the score level and a third of the game left to play.


All together, it led to a far reduced attacking output, which was clearly Liverpool's intent. Chelsea took eight less shots on Sunday. Half of those shots came from outside the box. None of the shots from distance found the target. Only one – when Anelka put Malouda through in the 73rd minute – forced a save from Reina, and with Malouda pushed to a narrow angle, it wasn't a difficult save. When Liverpool went ahead by a goal, the wing-backs quickly converted to more orthodox full-backs, shutting down another area of the pitch and congesting the final third, limiting Chelsea chances even further. Against Sunderland, Chelsea created shots from all angles, with four goals from nine attempts on target.

After Wednesday's match against Stoke, most assumed Liverpool's 3-4-2-1 was a one-off tactic. Now we're wondering if that match was a preview for stopping Chelsea or hearkened a tactical revolution devised to reinvigorate a shaky defense. It worked as planned in both matches, but I'm still skeptical that it's a long-term solution, especially when Suarez and Carroll come into the fold.

We'll find out a lot more on Saturday, when Liverpool host struggling Wigan. At home against a side that almost always plays 4-5-1 – without the aerial threat Stoke provides – Liverpool seem likely to focus on attack rather than defense.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Wow..how great liverpool manage to neutralize chelsea play. This is down how liverpool analyze chelsea play. If they offer more width..it might gives us run for money but all down the the central which comes into our gameplan. The 3-1-4-2 formation works to neutralize attacking teams but how about against defending teams?

If liverpool adopt a more attacking formation in 3-1-4-2 method..my dream lineup will be..

Kelly Carragher Agger
Johnson Gerrard Meirless Coentro (Porto Left Back)
Suarez Carroll

It will offer liverpool "Balance In Defense" & "Attack
Full Throttle"

A) Not just Johnson will offer cover @ right back but burning down the right flank at will without worrying his defenses duties..

B) If we're able to purchase the left wingback of the qualities of Fabio Coentro (Porto) -"I hope Liverpool sign him this summer" then we will have the mirror of Johnson on the left (Coentro did magnificently in leftback position for Portugal In the World Cup)

C) If the wingback position is being mark down, the flexibility of this formation is that Kelly (RB) & Agger (LB) can still bomb forward having the wingback to cover them..

D) Lucas role is the "Defensive Midfielder" play a crucial role in this formation. He may not get the headlines, but the last 2 match..he is my man of the match. He manage to neutralize supporting stickers & attacking midfielders bombing forward down the middle & making interception pass + tackle magnificently. I still remember he got a yellow card but he still put on tackle n tackle to stop chelsea play into the box & he did bring the ball out magnificently...

E) This release Gerrard + Meirless + Suarez rooming forward to attack..assuming supporting carroll upfront on his own..as we can see in the chelsea game..Gerrard appear rooming everywhere especially on the right hand side. Same goes to Meirless. He appears to b on the right place to score for the last 5 games..this show his qualities.

F) As for Suarez, he will b our Tevez..both with same attributes & technical gifted

G) Carrrol (Cant wait to see him scoring like what he did @ Newcastle)

Assuming Daglish adopt this formation..it's hard to see any problems causing us. Good to give full credit for Daglish & Clarke for making this formation working.

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