Chelsea: Is parking the bus a good tactic?
We saw this tactic become famous over recent weeks by the Chelsea team who went on to lift the Champions League trophy in a dramatic final against Bayern Munich. With the odds backed heavily against Chelsea to beat the might Barcelona in the semi-final clash at the Bridge who knew that Roberto Di Mateo had an ace up his sleeve.
With a powerful back four and an immensely talented midfield, not forgetting the talismatic but often dramatic Drogba up front, I think the neutrals like myself thought that this would be a walkover for the talented Barcelona team. How wrong was I and those others who threw their money on Barcelona with a heroic performances from John Terry, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba, who was a thorn in the side of the Barcelona back four.
In my opinion the tactics were spot on. If you try and get the ball down and beat Barcelona at their own game you will get punished. The only way is to sit back and pounce on the counter attack and with a bit of luck, heart and the composure in front of goal, you can beat anybody. If Sir Alex Ferguson's side had adapted a similar tactic then the Champions League trophy may well be looking nice and cosy in the trophy room in Old Trafford.
It’s a tough formation to play in though. You need discipline and players who are able to get up and down the pitch must not lose their shape. Chelsea had all of this in abundance and rightly deserved to win the Champions League and make Roman Abramovich's dream come true. But with teams evolving and learning how to use this against Barcelona, they are going to get better too. With even better players coming through from their very talented academy, it won’t take long until they have a plan to beat this formation with persistent pressure and a bit of magic in the final third.
People will complain that it's a negative formation and that it's ruining the beautiful game but I always say if it's winning you games against possibly one of the most technically gifted teams then you’re probably never going to moan. It's not as if teams are going to play this formation every game, week in, week out. If Manchester United played this formation in the finals against Barcelona I wouldn’t care. At the end of the day the history books only remember the winners.
Article by James Connolly
Calling all football fans: Do you think parking the bus is an effective tactic to use against superior teams? What would you say to those who claim that Chelsea bored their way to the Champions League trophy? Is winning at all costs really the be-all and end-all for a fan? Whatever your views we'd love to hear from you.