The Arsenal weakness - Zonal Marking.

I want to start this post as a Chelsea fan by first of all saying that I think all of us have been impressed with the Arsenal so far this se...

I want to start this post as a Chelsea fan by first of all saying that I think all of us have been impressed with the Arsenal so far this season. I don't think anyone thought they would be playing so well this early in the season and their performance against Man City was really impressive. I am as biased as they come about Chelsea as you all know but credit to them.

We all know the attacking flair both sides have now and more on that later. My job today was to have a look at any potential weakness Arsenal have at the moment. Steve Bould has had an almost instant effect on the team and they look far better in defensive areas which is very noticeable but there is one weakness in the Arsenal armour and that's their zonal marking from set plays.

We all saw Joleon Lescott's goal last Sunday and for me it highlighted something that really stood out for me. City did their homework and Chelsea MUST do the same.

Let's take a look at the goal and where I can see Chelsea taking advantage tomorrow.

As you can see the ball has been played in. Have a look at how Arsenal's zone has lined up. Gibbs and Arteta are on the posts. Ramsey (5) is in the near post area. Diaby (4) is picking up the near post run, Mertersacker (the tallest defender) is covering the middle of the box with Jenkinson (3), Koscielny (2) and Podolski (1) behind him.

Notice there are SIX Man City players making their runs towards the ball. Let's have a look at a different angle.

This shot is taken just as the corner is about to come in. City have really done their homework here. The two tallest defenders for Arsenal are near post and just behind. Diaby has Javi Garcia in his sights and Mertersacker has his eyes on Dzeko.

Look in behind. Yaya Toure and Lescott (both the taller of the City players) are attacking the back post areas in behind Mertersacker and Diaby. They are up against Jenkinson, Koscielny and Podolski.

Here we are as the ball is over the near post area. Diaby has been taken out of the game. Kompany has made a run near post and Mertersacker notices he is in his "zone" and has moved to cover him but gets caught under the ball.

Look at City's three attackers. Dzeko has made a move through he middle. Toure and Lescott are both watching the flight of the ball and are now one on one with Koscielny and Podolski as Jenkinson has been caught out by the keeper coming out to punch the ball.

City have organised themselves well here. These four are all over 6ft tall and have caused problems for Arsenal. The back post corner has taken both the tallest Arsenal defenders out of the game as Diaby and Mertersacker in their zone positions are left helpless.

Lescott and Toure have height at their advantage up against both players going up against them and because the defenders have to make a standing jump, Lescott gets the run on his man and his momentum gives him a better leap and he wins the ball and scores.

OK, nothing came of this set play in the second half but knowing what happened with the goal in the first half, it was amazing to see that Arsenal hadn't shifted their players around. I can't understand why they haven't split Diaby and Mertersacker apart. They are both in the SAME positions.

Look at Lescott and Toure, again ready to attack the back post area. Nothing came of this one as the keeper remained on the goal-line and the cross was under hit. The warning signs remain.

Chelsea need to take full advantage of their set plays tomorrow. I expect Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Mikel and Torres to all start and if we can get Terry, Mikel or Ivanovic attacking the back post and cross is good enough, we can really cause them problems. Terry has done it before and can do it again tomorrow.

What do you people think? Do you think the Zonal Marking works? I think it's a very dangerous move by Arsenal.

Has RDM seen the same? Only time will tell.


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