GLENN Hoddle can understand why Chelsea were made red hot favourites to win yesterday’s FA Cup Final – because, primarily, their 3-4-3 formation has been too hot for teams to handle during the Premier League campaign at least.
Arsenal had other ideas though and Arsene Wenger came up with a master plan to combat Antonio Conte’s Blues – match them with a similar formation…and then beat them with greater energy. And precision in the final third.
It was a bold move by Wenger given that his squad has been decimated by injuries, especially at the back, but fortune – as they say – favours the brave, and the Gunners carried out the manager’s plans to the letter.
Yes, it did take a dramatic strike from Aaron Ramsey 11 minutes from time to settle the match after Diego Costa had cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s early opener. But the Gunners were worthy winners.
Better and more committed, both individually and collectively, all over the pitch. Wenger got his tactics spot on. Hopefully not for the last time.
Zapsportz team leader and Mail on Sunday columnist Hoddle was impressed with the way Arsenal went about their business, given their limited resources.
Writing in the Mail – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/columnist-1110602/Glenn-Hoddle-Mail-Sunday – Glenn correctly noted that when you go for a like-for-like formation, it is all about players winning their individual battles.
Arsenal’s heroes did it better than their Chelsea counterparts on the day, and the former England boss says: “Antonio Conte hasn’t been on the receiving end too many times and it was up to him to come up with something a little different, which Chelsea failed to do.
“I could tell how disappointed he was by the way Chelsea came out for the second half. They looked like a group of players who’d just encountered a manager having a go at them.
“I think in a 3-4-3, the key players are the two creators either side of the centre-forward. From Saturday’s match-ups, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were far better on the day than Eden Hazard and Pedro. The Arsenal players played more centrally and were able to open up the Chelsea defence.
“Added to that, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka outplayed N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in the middle of the park, winning their battles.”