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The Big Three Match Ups


ethicalstrategy

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Does it matter how well we do against Man U and Arsenal in terms of where we finish in the league or is it more important how we do against the smaller teams?

This little snippet from the Guardian shows that for the last six seasons the results between the top three have reflected the final league position.

THE BIG THREE?

2002/03 PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 83pts, Arsenal 78, Chelsea 67,

BIG THREE LEAGUE: Man U 8pts, Arsenal 5, Chelsea 2

2003/04 PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal 90pts, Chelsea 79, Man U 75

BIG THREE LEAGUE: Arsenal 8pts, Chelsea 4, Man U 3

2004/05 PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea 95pts, Arsenal 83, Man U 77

BIG THREE LEAGUE: Chelsea 8pts, Man U 6, Arsenal 2

2005/06 PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea 91pts, Man U 83, Arsenal 67

BIG THREE LEAGUE: Chelsea 9pts, Man U 7, Arsenal 1

2006/07 PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 89pts, Chelsea 83, Arsenal 68

BIG THREE LEAGUE: Arsenal 8pts, Chelsea 4, Man U 2

2007/08 PREMIER LEAGUE: Man U 87pts, Chelsea 85, Arsenal 83

BIG THREE LEAGUE: Man U 10pts, Chelsea 6, Arsenal 4

As you can see, the winner of the Big Three mini-league has bagged the title in five of the last six seasons. The 2006-07 season is the only time the natural order of things was disturbed. Arsenal took eight points off Chelsea and Manchester United, yet only finished fourth in the title race. While it would be foolish to suggest that the Premier League is ultimately decided each year by just six games, it lends a degree of truth to the words of fans and managers up and down the country who swear the Big Three are in a league of their own.

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well at the end of the day the games against the direct rivals are always a chance to control their points, by beating them of course. a team always wants to ensure that their main competition leaves their matchup with nothing. not only do you knock them 3 points but the symbolism is powerful. It sends the message that you are the superior side and you are going to end up above them.

of course its possible to lose that game and still go on to win but youll always get the critics pointing out the defeat after its all said and done.

in recent years its been strength in depth that has won the day, with so many games to play in a season having almost 2 teams is a neccessity now. you have to rest players, lose players to injury, callups, bans etc..

we are in the fortunate position that our "B" squad have for the most part been in the team for at least one previous season and so they are ready to step up to fill places that may be going, Kalou case in point.

The genius of it all is that in Scolari we have someone with a new approach, and the ability to create new players from old. Look at Beletti. they laughed him out of the team at Barca, and now he is playing in midfield and scoring goals they would kill for now. Malouda another, under JM he looked lost and his powers were fading. Now the Lyon terror is plain for all to see.

Man U have attackers coming out of their arse at the moment, but their midifeld and defensive reserves look old and frail and all it takes is for them to have an injury list half the size of ours and theyll be in real trouble. Same with Pool and Arse. Arse run a slim ship, and pools reserves just suck.

Maybe I might eat my words. each individual player can summon up a match winning performance on the day, but the catalyst we have got, the one thing the other Big 3 dont is the reason i believe we will be winners this year and thats a renewed strength and fight brought by Scolari's infectious winning fever.

Long may it last XD

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I just dont see any of the big three beating us this year.

Liverpool will be tough on sunday but if we get an early goal i can see us putting 3 or even 4 past them..

This chelsea team just seems to be on a different from the days of Jose. almost like there proving who the big boy is and why.

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These are the six-pointers, so called because they are worth double points to the winner (even though you only get 3 points), but when they are draws they become totally irrelevant.

Whats more important is that we have a target for the season in terms of how many games we can afford to drop points in. When we won the league back-to-back both seasons we only dropped points in 11 of our 38 games. No other team has ever acieved this in EP history, not even when we had 42 games a season.

So I reckon we have a total of 9 games left this season that we can afford to drop points in. Considering were just about 25% through the season already, I think were ahead of target.

We have got the other big 3 away, and 2 of them back @ SB, so thats 5 possible dropped poionts games (very much doubt it though). Still gives us at least 4 more games we can afford to drop points in.

Would love to see us do 30 wins in the EP this season ;)

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I think aside from the 6-points, wins against other big sides contribute to momentum.

Even in shambles that the club was in under Grant, the comeback victory against the Arse at the end of last season was a huge turning point. If we had lost that match, I doubt that we would have gotten anywhere near United in the league.

That victory gave us the momentum to do the same thing to Liverpool in the Champions league, which gave us the momentum to do the same thing to United when we played them.

All of that momentum ended up with us going as close as you can go to winning both of the major competitions last year.

Unfortunately, it works the other way as well. A loss against one of our direct rivals means that the team loses confidence, and loses momentum.

In short, a win against the Scousers would be fantastic. It would cement our place at the top of the table, and put a lucky Liverpool side back in their place. A draw wouldn't be a bad result either - nothing much would change though.

A loss would not be good. It would have the potential to stop our momentum that we have built up with good wins and good football recently. It would also give the scousers the confidence that they might need to be something more than also-rans this season.

At this stage in the season, its all about momentum. The points don't really matter, as both us and the scousers are going to drop a lot more than 3 points over the course of the season to come. Its a lot more about confidence and momentum.

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It all depends on the time of the year, but yes they are important. however, the media will spin each match up as if it is armagedon for the premiership. They will, undoubtably, talk ad nauseum about if liverpool beat us this weekend it'll be the end of the home record, that we took from Liverpool. And, they will talk about this being Liverpool's year!

If you want a good example of us against top competition, look at our 2-1 over Liverpool the year before Roman took over. In hindisght that was massive!

Anyway, it's a long haul, so these games are not overly important right now, they are just intriguing match ups. Every 3 point loss is important, as is every 3 point gain regardless of oposition

Scott

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Time to revisit this one.

So far this season we are 1 point out of 6. Not good when you consider both matches were at home.

One word - Shocking!

Especially when you consider the performances we put in for those 2 games. Both teams played with the same tactics, one up front, close down our full backs to stop them getting forward, which narrows our attack. Squeeze the play further so Lampard doesn't get any time on the ball, an play 2 banks of four to mop up any second balls. Spurs played exactly the same once they equalised.

These tactics will be employed by every other visiting side to the bridge this season, we need an alternative plan B as the only one we have has been easily dealt with by the opposition.

During both these games no real change in formation or personel has had an effect on the result - Big Fil, this is where you've gotta start earning your corn.

I must admit, in big games, big Fil has been more Avram than Jose !!

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One word - Shocking!

Especially when you consider the performances we put in for those 2 games. Both teams played with the same tactics, one up front, close down our full backs to stop them getting forward, which narrows our attack. Squeeze the play further so Lampard doesn't get any time on the ball, an play 2 banks of four to mop up any second balls. Spurs played exactly the same once they equalised.

These tactics will be employed by every other visiting side to the bridge this season, we need an alternative plan B as the only one we have has been easily dealt with by the opposition.

During both these games no real change in formation or personel has had an effect on the result - Big Fil, this is where you've gotta start earning your corn.

I must admit, in big games, big Fil has been more Avram than Jose !!

unfortuntely the players we needed to change the tactics and game were unavailable for both these games. the best way to have changed would have been to go more direct, but without drogba it isnt possible (especially wth anelka being sh*t).

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Time to revisit this one.

So far this season we are 1 point out of 6. Not good when you consider both matches were at home.

It's not a good return, but that said our home form has not been that great. We're better away at present - played 4 won 4 - scored 11 & let in 1. We have every chance of going to Anfield & Old Trafford and taking all 6 points. NOT of course if we have to rely on the lacklustre 3 of Malouda, Kalou and Anelka.

It is still the depth of the squad that concerns me. I don't know how the bookies can still make us favourites for the league when you compare our strikers to the others. Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal all have better attacking options than we do and that is the worry.

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unfortuntely the players we needed to change the tactics and game were unavailable for both these games. the best way to have changed would have been to go more direct, but without drogba it isnt possible (especially wth anelka being sh*t).

I agree the bench had little to offer but we do only have 1 forward injured though. It was the managers decision to let Sheva SWP go and to loan out Pizzaro with no cover, even while Drogba was injured! I understand others sides would be crying from the roof tops if they had the injuries we have at the moment, but you cannot just play out games when you don't even look like scoring.

Bring on Alex, sling him up front or move JT upfront for the last 5-10 mins. Take of Ashley Cole, let Malouda cover the left back slot and introduce Sinclair earlier. We may have injuries, but in the dying minutes of games is where manager should make the match winning decisions or at least try to change to outcome of the game.

I don't really want to compare the 2 managers but a 'Mourinho side' would have at least pressurised Liverpool towards the end yesterday, but we didn't even muster a shot!

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I must admit, in big games, big Fil has been more Avram than Jose !!

I think you're not giving enough to credit to your all time "favorite", Bluenut.

I won't count last season's loss against mancs at OT, Jose was gone and Grant was yet to start. Since then, under his reign the club lost to Arse at the Emirates (Cech's blunder,should have been a draw), beat Arse at the Bridge (great comeback and timely subs by the Clueless One), beat MU at home, knocked scousers out in CL semis and came within one penalty kick of winning the CL final against mancs.

You can argue about who was the real reason behind those results, but Grant's record against the top teams is nothing to sneeze at.

Big Phil is yet to prove himself in that respect at Chelsea.

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I think you're not giving enough to credit to your all time "favorite", Bluenut.

I won't count last season's loss against mancs at OT, Jose was gone and Grant was yet to start. Since then, under his reign the club lost to Arse at the Emirates (Cech's blunder,should have been a draw), beat Arse at the Bridge (great comeback and timely subs by the Clueless One), beat MU at home, knocked scousers out in CL semis and came within one penalty kick of winning the CL final against mancs.

You can argue about who was the real reason behind those results, but Grant's record against the top teams is nothing to sneeze at.

Big Phil is yet to prove himself in that respect at Chelsea.

I meant from the point of view of not changing a game when it's crying out for it. The only time Grant did that to the best of my memory was in the Arsenal game when he went with 2 up front. Oh and he brought on Sheva against Manu to clear one off the line in the dying moments, but I think everyone will agree that was more luck than judgement. He sat on his hands during the CC cup final, after picking the wrong team to start the match.

Credit where credits due though......Grant was the best runner up we've ever had an one of only 2 managers in the clubs history not to lose a home match in the league, how many he drew is another matter :D

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i think its a bit harsh to start thinking scolari isnt up to the job, hes only had 10 games in this country and is new to the league, club, country and way of playing over here. and bear in mind this is a new way of playing for the established chelsea players and hes not had anywhere near a full squad to pick from. in the two games v the top teams we havent exactly been outplayed though we havent played too well ourselves. weve been without 2 of our most influential attacking players from last season in the games too. lets not have knee jerk reactions please, theres a long way to go this season.

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i think its a bit harsh to start thinking scolari isnt up to the job, hes only had 10 games in this country and is new to the league, club, country and way of playing over here. and bear in mind this is a new way of playing for the established chelsea players and hes not had anywhere near a full squad to pick from. in the two games v the top teams we havent exactly been outplayed though we havent played too well ourselves. weve been without 2 of our most influential attacking players from last season in the games too. lets not have knee jerk reactions please, theres a long way to go this season.

It's not a knee jerk reaction, I've read all the 'Shoot Anelka' post's etc (I reserve the right on calling Kalou ''spoon boot Maginty'' though, as it's something he's been fondly labelled as in the bluenut household for some time :D ).

But I do think it's fair to critisise the lack of a back-up plan when plan A simpley isn't working, and other sides now know how to stop or stiffle us.

I know LFS new to the EPL and has alot of players injured, but if Grant would have had these results at home there would be people calling for his head, me probably leading the line.

Grant didn't lose a home match as Chelsea manager. LFS has, who would I prefer as Chelsea manager ?.....LFS is my answer, and yes I do think he is up to the job, but he's not above critism, world cup winner or not.

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It's not a knee jerk reaction, I've read all the 'Shoot Anelka' post's etc (I reserve the right on calling Kalou ''spoon boot Maginty'' though, as it's something he's been fondly labelled as in the bluenut household for some time :D ).

But I do think it's fair to critisise the lack of a back-up plan when plan A simpley isn't working, and other sides now know how to stop or stiffle us.

I know LFS new to the EPL and has alot of players injured, but if Grant would have had these results at home there would be people calling for his head, me probably leading the line.

Grant didn't lose a home match as Chelsea manager. LFS has, who would I prefer as Chelsea manager ?.....LFS is my answer, and yes I do think he is up to the job, but he's not above critism, world cup winner or not.

im not saying hes above crticism, but i do think we should hold judgement until at least the end of the sesason. some are saying hes not upto it, yet last week we were going to go the season unbeaten. and i think your being kind to kalou, i usually call him "for f**ks sake kalou"

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The thing about comparing the last two managers and the current one is as I said last season the opposition has improved,

Last term Grant done well in the big three match ups with the players availlable taking into account the way the others had improved their squads and we had not (IMO)

This term we see UTD have improved and so have Liverpool, Arsenal always look good at the start and its anyones guess if they can keep playing well but we have only added Boswinga and Deco....although with all our players fit we still have as good a squad as anyone (if Drogba wants to play) we at this moment have not improved that much.

Scolari must take some blame for this as it was obvious from last season with the way Drogba and Anelka played in the CL final that we needed another striker...instead of getting one we let Sheva Pizzaro and SWP go,

I have not seen anything mid game from Scolari that says he is anything special but I hope to be proved wrong, that said I believe he is good enough with our squad and a couple of additions to have a decent career here with decent returns in the trophy cabinet as I believe any decent manager would.

Lets just hope we can get a couple of worthy additions in January as if the long wait for Drogs return yeilds a Drogba with the wrong attitude we will be looking back on last years runners up spots as what they were..pretty good under the circumstances.

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Scolari must take some blame for this as it was obvious from last season with the way Drogba and Anelka played in the CL final that we needed another striker...instead of getting one we let Sheva Pizzaro and SWP go,

Could it be that Scolari was just too obsessed by lurking Robinho to the Bridge? From what could be read in the papers one could imagine that he wanted to have him at all means for the team and didn't even think about losing him. But what the papers tell are not the way it happened in reality, but that's just an impression.

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