Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Zola Can Learn From Chelsea's Performance Last Night
OK, Barcelona stole it but Zola should watch the tape of last night's game at Stamford Bridge and do some serious thinking. Now Barcelona may be a beautiful team, they may retain the ball superbly, but if the gods were just, Chelsea would now be in the Champions League final. They were by far the most EFFECTIVE team on the night.
At one stage Sky showed an amazing stat. Barcelona had enjoyed almost twice as much possession as Chelsea but the shots on goal target stood at 2-0 to Chelsea, with the actual score at the time 1-0 in favour of the plastics. Why? Because for all the ball retention, for all the neat passing, Barcelona were not direct enough, they were playing in the middle third of the field and not penetrating the crucial final third. It was pretty but it was pretty ineffective!
Now I was a huge critic of Turds and do not want to see a return to his long ball, lump and hope game, but as Chelsea showed last night, getting the ball forward quickly, with the ball "over the top" into the space behind the centre backs, can be a wonderfully effective weapon. Chelsea should have had two penalties, maybe three, and the sending off, though wrong, was the result of a simple ball over the top. I thought Lampard was brilliant. In his own half he was simplicity itself, focused on ball retention, but in the Barcelona half, he was always looking for the killer ball, always looking for the space behind the Barcelona centre backs. He would have been rewarded with a place in the final had the referee not been a complete pillock!
And the relevance to West Ham? Like Barcelona, too much of our passing is in the middle third of the pitch. We need to get the ball into the box more often and sometimes, not always, but sometimes, the direct route is best.
Posted by Hammersfan at 23:09