Premier League Week #9-Chalkboards

Kenny Dalglish Struggled to Find Answers Against Norwich

Dalglish started with two inverted wingers. The left footed Stewart Downing employed on the right, and right footed Craig Bellamy on the left. Downing was profligate, giving the ball away many times, his crosses not hitting their mark often enough. After Norwich’s equaliser, Dalglish attempted to change things about, and brought Henderson on for Bellamy, and switching the wingers back to their more natural sides. If Downing had been wasteful on the right, Henderson was woeful. Nearly half of his passes went astray. The chalkboards below show Downing on the right up until the introduction of Henderson, from which point he switched to the left, and in comparison. Obviously Downing has far more time on the pitch in that position, but playing percentages – Henderson 64% pass completion, Downing 74% completion. Neither of which are acceptable at home for Liverpool, but it’s clear that the change didn’t pay off.

When the second of Dalglish’s substitutions is considered – the old Big Man up front brought on to batter a weary defence, and brings off Stewart Downing. In effect he’s set Andy Carroll up to fail. By giving him 10 minutes at the end when both the best crossers of the ball (on paper at least) on the pitch that day have been withdrawn.

In the last ten minutes, Liverpool humped long balls up to Carroll, and tried to find him with crosses, ultimately with no joy.
The chalkboard below shows just the incomplete passes in the last ten minutes.
After buying so many central midfielders over the summer, the question was always going to be who would make way once Steven Gerrard returned to fitness. Jordan Henderson was thought to be the one at risk, his versatility perhaps hampering him from making a bold claim on any of the positions he can play in. Against Manchester United, Gerrard made his first start in a midfield partnership with Charlie Adam, and Lucas Leiva playing as a shield in front of the back four. Dalglish can perhaps be accused of underestimating Norwich – he left out Leiva to afford himself two up top. Luis Suarez had one of those games where on another day he’d have got four goals – but you don’t get anything for coming close, however many times you do so.
Gerrard’s performance wasn’t match-winning, but he got himself all over the pitch, and this game will have done his fitness no end of good. A few of his passes went astray, but sharpness will return, and he was Liverpool’s best passer on the day.
Chelsea Vs QPR

It’s often said that playing against 10 men is harder than against 11. Often said…. But rarely actually true. Playing against 9 men? Surely an easier task? It didn’t seem that way for QPR against the 9 men of Chelsea after Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba got their marching orders. The chalkboards here show Chelsea’ shots (First half – top picture). Off-target shots are shown in red, blocked shots as grey and shots on target are indicated in blue.
Chelsea failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45, and yes – that’s a shot from Drogba skewing off for a throw-in.
In the second half, despite having 9 men, Chelsea produced far more attacking threat. QPR rose to the challenge, putting in 4 blocks.
Contrast this with QPR’s performance, in terms of shots on goal in each half. Drogba was the second man sent off in the 41st minute. Yet QPR’s only two shots on target came in the first half. Helguson’s goal from 12 yards in the tenth minute, and Tarrabt’s free kick in the 34th minute. Therefore, QPR didn’t muster a single goal attempt on target from open play during the entire match.

Warnock is a canny manager, he knew that despite his team being two players to the good, Chelsea were still dangerous, and will also have had in mind that the Chelsea players will have felt incensed by refereeing dec isions that they felt had gone against them, and would be putting pressure on the referee constantly. Further evidence of this can be seen by looking at the chalkboards for the tackles QPR put in against Chelsea.
As you can see QPR were forced back into their own half far more, and made more tackles deep as Chelsea, despite being down to 9 men, pushed for an equaliser. The three points will be seen as a bonus by QPR and Warnock, who would’ve probably taken a draw from this weekend having seen the fixture list.

Written by Tom Nash of The Frustrated Footballer. you can follow Tom on twitter @ffootballer

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2 Responses

  1. A correction… Lucas leiva got two yellow cards and hence didn’t played the game.

    I am sure no one in Liverpool will do defensive midfield duty like Lucas and surely he won’t be left out.

    and his absence causes an imbalance in Liverpool as Gerrard has took Leiva’s role which means Liverpool has one potent weapon missing.

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