In Defense of Chelsea’s Defensive Tactics in the Champions League Final

EPLTalk, “In Defense of Defense: Why Chelsea’s Champions League Final Tactics Should Be Lauded”

Simply put, those who deride Chelsea for being so defensive last Saturday are failing to recognize their legitimate and fair strategy and are focusing only one one aspect of the game.

It’s the same as in online gaming with the first person shooter tactic known as camping. It is less appealing according to some gamers, because it results in less action, fewer kills, and is deemed somewhat cowardly. Yet, to the skilled gamer, it can be a legitimate tactic to reduce personal deaths, maintain the element of surprise, and therefore increase one’s kill-to-death ratio, thus making a larger positive contribution for the team. Chelsea’s defensive strategy was, by analogy, like the gamer’s camping strategy. They took up strategic positions and held their ground so as to limit the opponent’s offensive ability to score goals. These positions came at the sacrifice of having a strong offensive component, but it did permit for the classic counter attack. Ultimately, it was a set piece that allowed us to score in regulation and not a counter attack, but set pieces are a secondary way that defensive teams can attempt to score without over-stretching the defense. And this strategy was ultimately effective, albeit with a large string of luck across 3 games, 2 legs of Barcelona and 1 match with Bayern.

But by no means should this strategy be called “ugly” or anything like that. It takes great skill to read the offense and make defensive plays, such as Ashley Cole’s ability to read and see that Bosingwa was going to get beat in the 18 yard box, so he went from left back to right back and slide tackled Bayern, which was ingenious and exciting to see, entertaining I would venture to say. And what is entertaining in sports? The skillful execution of one’s assignment I would say is what is entertaining in sports, so it stands to reason that the skillful execution of one’s defensive strategy is every bit as entertaining on one level—the ability to prevent goals—as one’s offensive strategy is entertaining on another—the ability to score goals. Both strategies and objectives are needed in every soccer game. The critic will do well to remember both elements when commenting on the game. And as Morgan Green over on EPLTalk stated that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what one person deems ugly another may very well declare beautiful. Chelsea’s well-rounded defensive and offensive strategies were executed magnificently, resulting in a beautiful spectacle and a first Champions League title.

Chelsea 2011-2012

What a roller coaster of a year!

BPL:

UCL:

Sixth place in Barclays Premier League. Champions of the FA Cup. Champions of the Champions League. AVB. RDM. Drogba knocked out against Norwich. Drogba the hero in FA Cup and Champions League. It has been crazy!

Goals:

Bosingwa: 2
Cahill: 2
David Luiz: 3
Drogba: 13
Ivanovich: 5
Kalou: 5
Lampard: 16
Malouda: 3
Mata: 11
Meireles: 5
Sturridge: 13
Ramires: 12
Terry: 7
Torres: 11
Goals for: 110
Goals against: 66

So, we had 110 goals across all competitions with 66 against, giving us a goal difference of +44. Lampard led the goal scoring with 16 with Drogba and Sturridge close behind with 13. Ramires had 12 goals to his name. Torres, despite his droughts, had 11 goals along with Mata. Interestingly enough, Terry had 7 goals, and he is our centerback! We didn’t have one person in particular to take the reigns of goal scoring in terms of numbers, but no one was more influential in timely goals than Drogba. He came up big for us—big.

As a result, this wasn’t the best of seasons in terms of quality. No, it wasn’t. But it was a successful season. We got the double—FA Cup and Champions League. But, most notably, we got the Champions League, something which Abramovich has coveted for some time now. And he did it with Torres and Drogba. Fantastic. Torres may not have scored in the Champions League final, but he was still influential. Yet, it was Drogba’s savvy that proved most invaluable.

Read up on the UCL: article.

And now, the question is, will Abramovich keep Di Matteo? Interim coach, sure, but surely he has earned the right to take the job outright. We’ll see.

Until next season, keep that blue flag flying high!

Go Blues!

Chelsea 1-1 Bayern Munich

https://twitter.com/epltalk/status/203960969540534273

Chelsea FC match recap

UEFA match report

Fox Soccer’s Article

Fox Soccer videos, starting with Drogba’s header equalizer

You just can’t make this stuff up

Unbelievable is an understatement. All odds against them, Chelsea found the will not only to survive but to overcome strong adversity, first in Barcelona and second, and most importantly, in Bayern Munich.

https://twitter.com/epltalk/status/203975636384096258

Stunning stuff. In the 83rd minute or thereabouts, Bayern send one into the net. A few minutes later, Drogba sends in the equalizer. In extra time, beginning of the first extra half, Drogba gives a penalty to Robben, but the former Chelsea man could not withstand the resolute Cech. The game went to penalties, where Mata followed Lahm only to be blocked by Neuer, giving Bayern a 1-nil advantage. David Luiz followed up Gomez’s strike with a cool one of his own, making it 2-1 Bayern. Neuer, yes, the Bayern keeper, calmly put in his strike only to be followed by Lampard. 3-2 Bayern. But then, as fate would have it, Bayern’s Olic gets blocked by Cech; Cole nets to make it 3-3. Schweinsteiger, the man who put the nail in the coffin against Real Madrid in the semifinals, stutter stepped on Cech only to be denied by the upright. In comes Drogba, the African Messiah as it were, to net the victory penalty and secure the European Cup for Chelsea.

It’s an amazing story of adversity, and it’s one for the history books. I’ll be buying whatever historical material I can on this 2011-2012 season. Unbelievable. Astonishing.

Time to celebrate!

Goals:

Bosingwa: 2
Cahill: 2
David Luiz: 3
Drogba: 13
Ivanovich: 5
Kalou: 5
Lampard: 16
Malouda: 3
Mata: 11
Meireles: 5
Sturridge: 13
Ramires: 12
Terry: 7
Torres: 11
Goals for: 110
Goals against: 66