Date: 11th September 2007 at 9:44am
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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


7 Replies to “Brave Tactics Against Chelsea”

  • I have to disagree 48. Villas long ball game to the lone striker Carew was ineffective. It was sheer luck that we managed to be CSKAhelski. M’ON should start looking over his shoulder because Graham Souness is still looking for a job.

  • so voice…. if this lucky long ball game was going on….what were Young and Gabby doing all game ?? I’m sure I kept seeing them running up and down the wings with the ball…..passing between Reo-Coker and Barry…..or was there three balls on the pitch…..’football 90% skill, 10% luck’..Sir Alex Fergasun…

  • Well it is something like this astonmilan. We had everybody behind the ball and we kept playing it long to our lone striker Carew. If we had conceeded first it would have been different. Now before you reply to this I am being a little facetious, because I am just quoting what a poster had put on a previous thread. Can’t remember their name but I am sure they are not part of the knob squad. I am also certain that he is a very, very nice man.

  • There are many who believe,myself included I hasten to add, that as a unit we are currently likely to be more effective on our travels, where the game plan very much suits our current personnel, than we probably will be at VP, when the onus is upon us to take the game to the opposition. 48 is of course spot on with his assessment that it was away-day tactics that saw us through on Sunday last, a game plan based on solid defence, allied to lightnight quick breaks from our nimble-toed wizards, in the shape of Ash, Luke, and Gabby. More of the same in Sven’s backyard this upcoming weekend, and maybe we’ll have the pleasure of reading another fairly vibrant, upbeat piece from ’48 next week.

  • Even if we do and we did, there’d be people finding fault.
    It was a brave move by O’Neill and against character in many respects to have so many players able to take the game on the attack as they did. If Carew could just sort out getting into the penalty areas as well as being there for the ball played up to him, we might even see more positive results at home
    That said his hold up play was still half decent and he did one headed flick through very reminiscent of Withe at his best, if it had been closer to their area it might have been deadly.
    With as I see it a fully fit squad and with Maloney on the back of 3 goals in 2 appearances Brave still has to be the word.
    I don’t think even had it failed I’d have complained too much, but you never know

  • No worries Dannygav, I have now removed the tongue that was lodged in the side of my cheek and can now speak normally again…

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