Arsenal boss understands how Jose Mourinho sets his team up to be stringent in defence but there's a Blue lesson Arsene should learn from…
One of the criticisms long-reigning Arsenal managerial incumbent Arsene Wenger has had to face in the latter part of the current Premier League season is that, in the bigger matches in the division, he has been tactically deficient and has selected the wrong players.
Two weeks ago, when Chelsea hosted the Gunners at Stamford Bridge, Mathieu Flamini was bizarrely left on the substitutes bench while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mikel Arteta got the nod it may have been wise to field the Frenchman as the midfield is not only a terrier hell-bound on retrieving possession but he is also a superb organiser of men.
Behind Olivier Giroud, Arsenal had Tomas Rosicky, Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla, Oxlade and Arteta. All competent passers of the football but none are renowned for their ability to break opposition play.
Contrast that to how Blues boss Jose Mourinho set his Chelsea team up that day and, in the "2" of a 4-2-3-1 there was mid-season acquisition Nemanja Matic and Brazil international David Luiz - two players renowned for their defensive focus.
It is this section of the midfield that Wenger has highlighted in his blog for Eurosport when previewing Chelsea's quarterfinal clash with Paris Saint Germain at the Parc des Princes this evening, Wednesday.
"Chelsea defend quite deep… they have two players in front of the defence who are really strong defensively in Matic and Luiz. Sometimes [Frank] Lampard plays, sometimes it’s [John Obi] Mikel, but they form a block of six lateral players who never really go past the halfway line.
"This block of six players defends well," he noted. "If they were individually exposed, they would be as good or as bad as any other defence but their block of six players is constant, and strong. Then they have four players in front of this six who look to run behind the defence.
"They are all very dangerous, and can individually make a difference due to their pace."
While Wenger has understood the foundations of Chelsea's success this season, while they continue to campaign on two fronts in elite competitions, is there anything the Frenchman can learn from this in regard to how he sets his own team up?
A side who, let's not forget, failed to top their Champions League group, were eliminated in the Round of 16 and were effectively knocked out of the Premier League title race after Chelsea battered them in the middle of March.
If Wenger wishes to be in the position Mourinho and Chelsea find themselves in, perhaps he should take heed of the defensive focus of the "2" in his own 4-2-3-1.