Town can zone in on Chelsea's chinks

ONE look at the Chelsea team-sheet would be enough to send shivers of fear down any spine of any Championship player.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

ONE look at the Chelsea team-sheet would be enough to send shivers of fear down any spine of any Championship player.

But this Chelsea side, at this particular moment, are not the invincible team they were under Jose Mourinho or even Avram Grant, when they were unbeatable at Stamford Bridge.


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The chink in the armour this season appears to be their weakness at set plays and the debate rages over whether zonal or man to man marking is best.

Ipswich have showed signs of improving their own set plays, Owen Garvan scored last weekend, and Pablo Counago the week before, from set pieces.

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For Town assistant manager, and recognised top class coach, John Gorman defending at these set pieces means one thing.

“For me at corners it should be man for man,” he said.

“Certain players like zonal and that is up to them.

“Teams like Manchester United do a lot of blocking and that is why it can be hard going man to man. I prefer man to man on corners and zonal on wide free kicks.”

In a game too often made complicated Gorman believes giving players certain responsibilities makes it easier all round.

He said: “The advantage of man to man is always been about someone taking responsibility. It is black and white, you can't say it was not your man or you were in a zone.

“Coaches give the players their responsibility and it is important that every player knows his job.”

Another point he makes is that it is not just the back line and keeper responsible when it comes to keeping the ball out.

Gorman said: “The best defenders can be the forwards. Look at Jon Walters or Jon Stead when they came back, defensively they are very good.

“Then you will have the man to man and you will have someone like Tommy Miller say whose job is by a post and he is zonal so you can have a mix.”

With Moritz Volz still out injured with a groin strain and Ben Thatcher weakened by a virus, Town are likely to stick with the same side as started in the win against Crystal Palace, although David Wright offers an alternative at right back.

That could mean Alex Bruce going in alongside Gareth McAuley with Pim Balkestein dropping to the bench. Alternatively if Wright is picked he would go to left back in place of Dan Harding.

So whose responsibility is it for each player?

Man to man

Introduced in the 1960s by the Italians man to man marking is exactly as it says. Individual players will be given a specific opponent to mark, for example McAuley on Drogba, and it is their job to ensure he doesn't win the ball from a corner or free kick.

The Town attackers will also be given players to mark, usually the opposing centre half so Jon Walters would probably be matched up with Ricardo Carvalho.

Zonal marking would be where McAuley, for example, would have a certain area in the 18-yard box to cover and deal with any danger in his particular zone.

In both scenarios a midfielder, one of the shorter ones, would be placed on the line in order to clear should they beat Richard Wright.

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