Featured Matches
Previous
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Slovan Bratislava
Sheriff Tiraspol
6:15 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Debrecen
BATE Borisov
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 1
Game Details
Wealdstone
Wycombe Wanderers
2:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Frickley Athletic
Scunthorpe XI
6:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Exeter City
Swansea City
6:15 PM GMT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Rotherham United
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Derby County
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Mansfield Town
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Newport County
Coventry City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Notts County
Birmingham City
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Portsmouth
AFC Bournemouth
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Stevenage
Reading
6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Altrincham
Accrington Stanley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Milton Keynes Dons
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Bristol City
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Concord Rangers
Dagenham & Redbridge
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Dumbarton
Carlisle United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Hyde
Burnley XI
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Shrewsbury Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Queens Park Rangers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Luton Town
Colchester United
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Margate
Barnet
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Preston North End
Burnley
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Huddersfield Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Southend United
Ipswich Town
6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
7:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Valerenga
Stabaek
5:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Nacional
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Náutico
Icasa
10:00 PM GMT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Alianza Lima
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Next
Aug 18, 2009

Diamonds are forever, insists Chelsea's Ballack

Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has insisted Chelsea will stick with the new diamond formation despite needing an injury time goal to beat Hull City at the weekend.

New manager Carlo Ancelotti has abandoned the 4-3-3 formation made so successful under Jose Mourinho, which saw two wingers deployed in support of a lone striker.

The Italian has preferred to play with two strikers, with a midfield diamond in behind.

Ballack is confident that, given time, the Chelsea players will grow into the change of style.

Chelsea travel to Sunderland on Tuesday and will again be expected to come away with three points, and the German international sees no reason to go back on all the work done in pre-season.

"Everybody is a little bit expectant about what we can achieve this year,'' said Ballack. "We have a new manager and we play a new system.

"We played it under Jose Mourinho when I arrived and it feels different not to play with wingers and to play with two strikers.

"So tactically things will be different for us but it depends how you implement it, by which I mean you can play any system with good players and they have to show their ability.

"It is not about the system, it is about how individuals perform on the pitch and whether they do the right things, so it is not as simple as just picking a system.

"In a diamond your attention is more on controlling the play, you have more ball in midfield and one more man there as well.

"So you gain a small advantage through the centre but there's more hard work for the four midfielders because they have a lot of work to do on and off the ball in this system.

"But there are many ways to win, there's not just one way to play football and you can have success with any system if you play it right.

"It is not all about the system we play, that's just a new thing for us that we have to adapt to.''

Coach Ancelotti himself believes there were positive signs that his players could fit into the system, and there would be no need to splash out on any new faces before the transfer market closes.

"I have seen them playing in the system we want to use and I have options with so many great players to choose from,'' said Ancelotti.

"We have not had to spend lots and bring in many new players because we are happy with our squad.''

Chelsea are unlikely to have any of their injured contingent back in time for the trip to Sunderland. Juliano Belletti (Achilles), Alex (groin) and new signing Yuri Zhirkov (knee) are almost certain to miss out. Joe Cole and Paulo Ferreira are also sidelined with knee injuries.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.