Avram Grant and the Importance of Tactical Substitutions

Osahon AbbeCorrespondent IApril 9, 2008

Substitutions play a vital role in deciding the outcome of most football games.

Coaches are under scrutiny for the errors made in substitutions and lauded for their acumen in effective changes. This is why changes have gone from mere bringing on fresh legs to the tactical approach.

But how tactical should substitutions be?

Personally, I do not expect over analysis of a game from a coach during the game irrespective of what is at stake. If you need a goal, throw in a forward. If you are under pressure bring on a defender. These are basic instincts any coach should already posses.

Last night we saw coaching at its peak when Arsene Wenger brought on Theo Walcott in the 72nd minute in the tie against Liverpool. Less than fifteen minutes later, the winger drove the ball almost hundred yards and hooked up with Adebayor for their second goal of the night.

However, that moment of brilliance was marred by the penalty call given on a very weak foul that occurred outside the box. I sympathize with the Gunner nation but in sports all calls have to be respected. My point here is to shed light on the fact that changes are meant to create impact on the game.

Also last night we witnessed I would say one of the worst substitutions I have seen in a while. Many if not all did not catch this near failure because the team in question came out winners. It happened in the 58th minute of the clash between Chelsea and Fenerbache.

Juliano Belletti for Salomon Kalou.

Let's examine this tragedy.

First of all its too early in the second half to start playing defense on a team who you know can score at anytime and this is your second change because you lost your goalie to an injury.

This change was followed by possession football by Fenerbache and brilliant saves from stand-in goalie Hilario. Chelsea got lucky and finished the game with an insurance goal from Lampard via an Essien hard fought cross and without any injuries.

I am concerned about the future of my beloved Chelsea under this coach becuase if substitutions have gone twenty years more tactical than it was in the eighties, our coach is still in the eighties.