Chelsea vs. Manchester United Analysis: Ferguson's Tactical Setup Cleverly Exploited Chelsea's Weakness
Unfortunately, the post-match analysis of a terrific game has been and will continue to be dominated by discussions of the officials. I’ll leave the debate over the decisions to those elsewhere but it is impossible to escape the conclusion that they ruined a finely balanced game. There could be no arguments over Branislav Ivanovic’s sending off but the second booking for Fernando Torres after he was caught by Jonny Evans (yes Torres probably should have been sent off for a stamp on Tom Cleverley before half-time but two wrongs don’t make a right) and the failure to spot an offside in Manchester United’s winner altered the path of the game. We’ll never know what would have transpired without these errors but we can assuredly state that the game’s dynamic was changed significantly.
Despite Sky’s commentary team being remarkably unaware of the strength of Shakhtar Donetsk, Chelsea’s trip to the Donbass Arena was always going to be a difficult task. The Ukrainian side are an excellent and ever-improving unit, full of confidence off the back of a 32 game unbeaten run in all competitions. And while they tend to have problems travelling in Europe, they are formidable at home as all the previous English visitors have found.
The 2-1 final score did a disservice to Shakhtar and, in truth, had the winning margin been three or four goals there could have been no complaints. All over the pitch they bettered the European champions; solid in defence, comfortably winning the midfield battle and with far too much flair and movement in attack for the Chelsea defence to cope with.
Roberto Di Matteo made two changes to his starting eleven from the weekend, with John Terry returning at Gary Cahill’s expense and a tactical switch with Frank Lampard replacing Eden Hazard. The logic behind the change is clear, with Di Matteo obviously being aware of the strength of the opposition and setting up in a more defensive manner.
Liverpool FC News And Analysis: Alan Shearer’s Criticism Of Liverpool’s Joe Allen is Completely Unfounded
Without naming him specifically, Brendan Rodgers took a clear and public swipe at Alan Shearer recently. In the wake of Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Stoke at Anfield, the BBC pundit criticised Joe Allen for not being penetrative enough with his passes and too often opting for the safe option. Rodgers resoundingly jumped to the defence of his £15m summer signing, “Unbelievable. So-called pundits who don’t know the dynamics of a team and how it functions” he said.