What a refreshing change, not just because of the result but also seeing Rafa try something a little different.
Benyoun< <Kuyt Riera
I like what he has done here. It encourages our two attacking full backs to push forward in support, because of the strong midfield. Having Lucas back there, is probably best if we are going to keep him. He can relax and feel less pressure to be a provider and the key to unlocking a defense, which may well let us see his more natural game of ball winner and Midfield pest (just like Masc). Lets face it they both do not really flatter in and around the box.
The Yossi, kuyt and Riera trio is awesome. All unpredictable and capable of setting Torres off, or getting on the end of some Torres showboating. Plus the fact all 3 can play in each others areas and have real big engines for getting around the pitch. Even Babel could play in this system, as a replacement for any of these 3. All 4 of these guys benefit from this more inside position. Though my only doubt is we may not see as many crosses. But a plus could be that we may have more attack in and around the box for when Johnson and Insua get forward. They are also all in an ideal area of the pitch to receive searching balls from the back and from Stevie G.
Stevie G back central is good, as he is more mature these days and will know when to go bombing forward. But having him there means we have real quality passing the ball up to the front 4.
With this formation there are options to change tactics. Such as going to 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1, if we are lacking width in our attack. Also seems to help us make use of the players we have this season, eg Babel more central in the 3 behind Torres and when Masc and Aquilani are back they can be the 2, or one of them and Lucas, with Gerrard going up into the 3. As we know Stevie can play anywhere, also in that 3.
I would have liked to see Kyrgiakos have at least a second half today, as I still feel uncertain about Skrtle and his ability to keep his concentration, as well as his lack of pace, (eg first half Skrtle gets caught out and Carra comes across and thumps it out for a throw.)!
In conclusion I feel this formation gives so many options to us, especially when all fit, but also gives us that midfield presence we sometime loose, when Gerrard is forward. Also a formation I would be happy to see used so we could maybe rest Gerrard one week and then Torres another, or if they are injured of course. Best thing is though, Lucas looks a lot more comfortable in front of the back four, rather than behind the front two. maybe that is where he can mature and come on as a player? Did look like the guys took 10-15 mins to get used to it today, but when they did, boy did they do the business. This could be the key to winning those few extra points, that otherwise may have been lost!
Still think my Gran could score more goals than Voronin!!!