By Richard Clarke

There is no perfect marking mechanism, according to Arsène Wenger.

Traditionally, English teams defend man-for-man at set-pieces and corners but zonally in open play.

Chelsea tweaked that tactic in midweek against Southend in their FA Cup Third Round replay and it appeared to cost them a goal.

Adam Barrett was allowed sufficient space to power home a header from a corner and give the home side the sniff of a cup shock.

Wenger is flexible on tactical matters these days. For the first decade of his Arsenal tenure he stuck almost entirely to 4-4-2 however in the last few years has adapted his formation to circumstances. Although there has been no change on his policy on man-for-man marking at set-pieces, he is open-minded about the best system to use.

“I always prefer the one which is most adapted to your team,” he said. “Every system has advantages and disadvantages.

“Man-to-man marking has more individual responsibility but is less rational because your opponent can take you anywhere.

“The zonal system has more team responsibility, and is linked more with the position of your partners.

“So it depends what is the best for your team. There is no ideal system.”

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16 Jan 2009