Chelsea - Bus Parking - A Counter Strategy?
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Bus Parking - A Counter Strategy?

Nostalgic about the legend of Robbie Di Matteo...

Against relegation fodder Jose Mourinho's current Chelsea set-up as we know it have infamously proven easy pickings as far as Robbie's famous tactic goes in the Barclays Premier League.

Although still top of the league pending how much touchline tantrums Tottenham's Tim Sherwood can throw today at White Hart Lane in a bid to salvage whatever chicken pride the Totts had left and in turn stop Liverpool from overtaking us, losses to Stoke City, Everton, Newcastle, Aston Villa and now Crystal Palace all have a common denominator - a 'parked bus' on one end of the pitch and a soft vulnerable underbelly under a counterattack on the other!

Ostensibly, for a team that beat Manchester City home and away; easily dispatched the red Merseysiders as though the SAS connection were out of town or down with some Scouser flu; blitzed Arsene Wenger's Arsenal 6-nought in a delicious result which effectively saw the Frenchman fail yet again, you'd be forgiven to think if it isn't time a drastic paradigm shift was enacted [or re-enacted as it were] in order to see off this once very promising season which for all intents and purposes, it must be said, looks like it'll end in a rude anti-climax especially against [and due to] the comparatively smaller sides we are yet to play in the season run-in.

Stoke City at Stamford Bridge come to mind here...and who says Mark Hughes and co., including the gangling Peter Crouch and the other Peter, the resurgent Nigerian ex-QPR 'Bad Boy' Peter Odemwingie ain't in possession of designs or, heavens forbid, the devastating ability of sitting back and causing us more Cry' Palace-like troubles on the break, huh?

Simply put, is it not time Mourinho became more flexible if not dynamic not just tactically - team formations and shapes and all that - but also in the playing philosophy to suit opposition managers and their tactical dispositions as they come? In other words, shouldn't the Special One try an RDM on guys like Tony Pulis as well?

Sounds an almost bizarre thought I know, but please don't laugh as I'm damned serious saying that; after all a friend once good-humoredly joked "gift Barcelona to Mr. Pulis and he'd still drive the team bus onto the pitch"! How true were those wise words?

For whatever it is worth, it's easy to tell this fan is obviously still seething from the unexpected loss at Selhurst Park; easier still I believe it is for the keen reader to tell this writer is teetering between a rock and a hard place - should Chelsea sometimes surprise these small teams, pay back in kind, park the damned bus and win ugly or play open and lose anyway?

Ok, I'll paraphrase that.

Shouldn't the Roman Army in all its glory rather embarrass itself and defend in droves when playing these small sides while all the time priming to hit them on the counter, tit-for-tat style?

Surely the Barcelona`s and the Bayern Munich`s of this world can tell the efficiency of this dreadful tactic having been on its receiving end in recent history, but for want of a better tactical manoeuver one will be damned thinking maybe, just maybe we can reciprocate these teams who park the bus against us and show them who is boss of the bus tactic?

What do you think would work best for Mourinho's team going forward?

Outfox the Tony Pulis' of this league stride for stride and trick for trick or perpetually open up and turn over, just like Pep's Barcelona?

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: HGH Magic Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday March 30 2014

Time: 11:16AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Players are on the same wavelength. The forwards never anticipate the balls the midfield will provide. The midfield never anticipate the runs the forwards will make. The forwards rarely cooperate well. This results in very predictable play. It's difficult to say whose fault it is or if it's just a lack of chemistry. This will be a real test for Mourinho. Can he bring in the personnel or make changes to the current setup to change this?
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30/03/2014 13:17:00

*not on the same wavelength
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30/03/2014 13:17:00

It's been happening to us consistently since Carlo's second season. We drop precious points against lower placed teams regularly. We have to find a way. Liverpool and City, even Arsenal consistently put away these lower placed teams.
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30/03/2014 14:43:00

agree with londonfc .. but its also about a lack of belief somewhere.. we score an early goal and we do really well.. if we dont we lose composure !!
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30/03/2014 15:24:00

When Jose has time with these kids (big matches), they do well. But the problem is after doing so well, he lets them do their thing and they falter. Either they are not motivated enough against smaller teams, are exhausted or they are relying too much on the coach to see them through. Other day Eden was saying Jose will cook up something against PSG. If we were chasing just the league, I have every reason to believe, we would be better positioned. So to me it means we might need a few more 25-28 yr olds to replace Frank, Torres, Essien and also players who can pull things together. Not only do we need a top notch striker, I feel we might need to find an additional player for him to work with (unless if he fits in with our current players right away), a Kalou to step in and deliver when needed and one or two mature midfielders who can keep the ball. One of Khedira/Guarin to partner with Matic, and one of Turan/Kroos to feed and work with Costa.
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30/03/2014 17:30:00

OSCAR and HAZARD are simply not good enough, strong enough, or equipped enough to be played in these away games where teams work hard, chase everything and give their all. In simple terms these 2 players have been going missing in away games against the `lesser sides` ever since they both arrived at the club. Play them both at home games and against the teams that are going to play football, but not against the teams that are going to be at it and up em for 90 minutes. For 2 years both of these players have just picked the games that they wish to perform in and then they have gone missing in the less high profile ones. The reality is, that this lack of commitment has helped us blow the league this season. We know that we need a couple of strikers next season, but just as importantly players in the calibre of Kroos, Koke or Barkley would all be better equipped to perform when needed, not only when the sun is shining or when we are 2 up and coasting. The sooner Jose sticks them on the bench for these games the better. They have had enough chances and proved that they are not capable.
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30/03/2014 18:47:00

Back to what we know priest HGH? Defending and holding on to 1:0 score lines. I agree that this can be done in certain cases but it should not be the norm. Our current situation is due to none other than Jose. Your heart felt spat at Torres serves to show what most Chelsea fans do when we loose and that is blame everyone else except those who are responsible. Funny that Terry's name never came up or the dude in the # 8 shirt who was arrogantly played by Jose in the number 10 role. Jose is too stubborn, too biased to change what he believes to be the ideal method to win with this team. He has become predictable to a high degree. The back four never changes, Hazard always plays, Jose selects from a small pool of players. Any manager with a competent staff will see this pattern and make preparations. All this could have been prevented if Jose had improved over the season. He continued to operate in his normal underhanded way. Selling Mata our only true number 10, KDB, playing the same group of players that he favours instead of inspiring the team to be better than individuals and work as a unit. Liverpool are top of the table as I write and you can see that Rogers has inspired the players especially the young ones to play with passion and give their all whenever selected. Not legends in that team and they don't worry about impressing the manager to get a run in the team it would seem as they all see themselves as important. Long and short Jose is wrong and needs to one will say it however, even if they see it. The title may well be lost but we can still finish in the Champions League spots. Lets hope for a strong finish to the season and the right changes in the summer.
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30/03/2014 18:54:00

The Rope-a-dope. Mourinho thinks he's Muhammad Ali. Small teams have been sneaking in KO after KO.
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30/03/2014 18:57:00

The problem is giving those little 'park the bus' clubs too much respect, Jose should relax his tactics a bit, especially when playing them clubs whose main goal is not letting Jose or Chelsea smash or beat them, to get one over Chelsea or Jose boost these clubs and their manager's ego and cv. To beat a defensively set up team, you need to attack them from the first whistle, more attack minded players than defensive ones, we suffer a lot from our full backs whose contribution in attack is very negligible. Free scoring Liverpool have a rookie flanagan on one wing of their defence and Johnson on the other, both are gauche in defensive duties but what they lack in defence they add in attack, same with City and Arsenal full backs. Chelsea needs full backs who add considerable contribution to the attack, not just ones who we hail as being 'rock solid' defensively. I wish to see one of our attacking midfielders preferably Willian or Oscar to pair with Matic when playing the small teams , worth a try.
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30/03/2014 19:08:00

The earlier he abandons his counter attacking style for a better philosophy, the better. His team lacks the chemistry and formations needed to break down small teams. Liverpool, arsenal and city wouldn't drop points to teams like palace. Jose loves big games because his opponents will open up for him to counter attack. This is not how great coaches play.
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30/03/2014 19:37:00

RayBell, Liverpool also have Suarez, a one man phenomenon this season who can create goal after goal out of nothing. Liverpool are also helped by the fact most teams - bizarrely - don't park the bus against them.
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30/03/2014 20:11:00

Excuses for Mourinho every time he flops. He knew what he was walking into. He gets 10m or more a year. He doesn't get a free pass.
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30/03/2014 20:34:00

I have more names here today than I have seen in the entire season cos we lost. Yes we suffered a blip against palace. There are games were thing s don't go as planned . Yes need to be more inventive but also we need a quality striker upfront and most importantly needs to move the ball quicker in the opposition half. Salah tried a few one touch pass yesterday but other attackers were out of sync with him . This things are sac ros ant and without them in place, we will always have trouble with this small teams. Up next Stoke. I pray we score early or else....
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30/03/2014 20:59:00

i dont think palace park the bus yesterday....they played well and if their finishing would have been good then tjey would have scored 2 3 goals against us...the problem is our slow tactics...our build up is very slow...players take too many tpuch to pass forward...if we wont improve our build up no matter how good your striker is he wont score....
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31/03/2014 07:44:00

Ooooooohohoho, so now we still move the ball slowly without that Nigerian? Hmmmmmm I think he is still to blame, or what do you think?
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31/03/2014 11:22:00

Ooooooohohoho, so now we still move the ball slowly without that Nigerian? Hmmmmmm I think he is still to blame, or what do you think?
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31/03/2014 11:22:00

Ooooooohohoho, so now we still move the ball slowly without that Nigerian? Hmmmmmm I think he is still to blame, or what do you think?
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31/03/2014 11:23:00

shlok27, Palace absolutely parked the bus but they counter attacked with Real Madrid like brilliance (except for the actual finishing). If they had a clinical finisher - who admittedly probably wouldn't be playing for Crystal Palace if he was that clinical - it could have been 5-0 to Palace. We did also create some decent chances but again a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping prevented us from getting that all important opening goal. Our main hope for the next 6 games is that none of our opponents - except Stoke of old - have a reputation for parking the bus.
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31/03/2014 14:40:00


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