February 6, 2011


Chelsea 0-1 Liverpool: Meireles grabs winner (Zonal Marking, February 6, 2011)

Liverpool were the better side even before they went ahead in the second half, however, for two reasons. First, their diamond had much more fluidity. Chelsea’s midfield roles were obvious, with the diamond remaining intact throughout, each player in the same position. Liverpool’s diamond was based around more mutual understanding – Meireles was usually at the head of the four, but sometimes it was Gerrard, sometimes Rodriguez, sometimes Lucas would venture forward and another player would drop in and hold. That kept Chelsea guessing, and though it didn’t produce anything particularly exciting in the final third, did make Liverpool the side more likely to cause the opposition defence problems.

The second factor was more a question of formation – with the diamonds cancelling each other out in the centre, it was left to the wide areas for drive and attacking thrust. Here, we had Chelsea’s full-backs (in a four) against Liverpool’s wing-backs (in a five), with the latter given much more license to get forward and support the attack. Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly were often immediately in a position to receive a forward pass in space, and stretched the play. In contrast, Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa had to motor forward to move into attacking positions, which made Chelsea’s build-up play more laboured. Johnson becoming free on the left resulted in the best chance of the first half, where Rodriguez somehow missed an open goal from inside the six yard box.

You put four good defenders in front of your goalie, four scorers in front of theirs and a guy on either wing to cross the ball into the box. It ain't rocket science.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2011 4:13 PM
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