Chelsea took one step closer to the Premier League title on Tuesday night with a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
With second-placed Arsenal going down to a surprise 2-1 home defeat against Watford, Antonio Conte’s side extended their lead at the top to nine points with 15 games remaining.
Despite being as resolute and organised as ever, Steven Gerrard spotted one flaw in Chelsea’s tactics that could be exploited against them.
Speaking in his role as an analyst for BT Sport’s coverage of the match, the new Liverpool academy coach explained that the Blues’ defence can be susceptible to crosses – as evidenced by the home side’s second-half equaliser.
The leveller came about as a Jordan Henderson cross found an unmarked James Milner in the area, and the left-back was able to square a ball that eventually went in courtesy of a Gini Wijnaldum header.
Gerrard referenced Henderson as someone in particular whose crosses were giving Chelsea a number of problems in the box, saying:
“What I will say about this Chelsea team is they’ve got a lot of strength and a lot going for them going forward.
“But they are vulnerable to crosses, we’ve seen that against Tottenham a few weeks ago with the two Dele Alli efforts.
“And we’ve seen it again today – Jordan Henderson has put two or three wonderful balls in and that’s how I think you catch this Chelsea defence out.”
The Tottenham game that Gerrard was referring to came last month, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side ended Chelsea’s winning run with a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane. Dele Alli scored from two headers in moves that seemed to badly expose the visiting defence.
All of this could have been seen as good news for Arsenal, who are Chelsea’s next opponents on Saturday. However, given the fact that Arsenal are among the lowest crossers in the league according to Whoscored (14th out of 20 with 3.8 accurate crosses per game, well below Manchester United’s 6.3), then Wenger may consider altering the game plan somewhat.
Spurs, for example, statistically have even less accurate crosses per game than their North London rivals but Pochettino adapted accordingly. Flexibility, however, has rarely been Wenger’s strong point…