Date:Tuesday September 11 2007
The result justifies the tactics and Sunday against Chelsea never has that maxim been truer.
Without Lampard Chelsea decided to use 3 big men in defence sure that O'Neill would use Carew as a target man on whom there would be a bombardment from Villa.
How do I know, Mourinho said so in his pre match interview. O'Neill for me gambled on a 4 2 2 1 1 formation but didn't bombard Carew or the Chelsea defence with high balls instead he relied on a defensive away game tactic, using Gabby and Young as extra defenders counter attacking when they could.
Thanks to Young, mainly, it worked superbly as we all know, what I don't feel is appreciated is how brave a move it was. I can't wait to see how he approaches Man City Sunday, especially as they are such an unknown quantity and we have such a bad reputation against them, although didn't we win there last season.
Why brave, well simply put Chelsea have a knack of always scoring goals, especially from free kicks,and while we never commanded in our own penalty area from such they didn't score, yet we, thanks to Knight did. We beat them at their own game. Add in Laursen dominating Drogba and a good ref who doesn't freely give penalties and the Chelsea threat wasn't there.
They literally huffed and puffed but Villa's doggedness won through. Its not always going to be like that mind, but then I don't expect him to play like that especially if Petrov starts working properly. I've watched the game several times and have come to believe that as the game progressed Villa's individual confidence rose too, Young tried to push the limits more, Barry started swinging the ball all over the shop and our defence just kept winning through as Chelsea ran out of ideas.
Even Mourinho's usually effective substitutions didn't change much, in fact I think taking SWP off was the killer move he played right into O'Neill's hands.
Considering the Chelsea track record away from home, considering their form so far playing, such tactics were not that safe a bet, to maintain them, nay encourage them as the Chelsea possession stats increased was very brave, many managers would have taken off 1 or 2 strikers and filled the midfield, when we scored, not that he had many on the bench to do that of course.
Yep the more I think on it a brave and successful move from O'Neill, maybe he is getting up to speed at last. Sunday will see if I'm right, the squad is limited, he is a lucky manager, he doesn't always get it right, he did Sunday so deserves the plaudits.
Nice one Martin
Date:Tuesday September 11 2007
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