What is the right formation for Chelsea?
Howwill Chelsea line up?
The new coach at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri is renowned for his free-flowing, high press attacking football on the heart of which lies the 4-3-3 formation in which each player has a specific role assigned to him.
Watching Chelsea pre-season games, it's not hard to notice that he is trying to bring that idea of football to Chelsea, but is 4-3-3 the right formation for Chelsea with its current set of players?
The Kante conundrum?
Sarri's formation will need Kante to play as a right central midfielder and press high and take part in the link up play. Though as gifted he might be as a footballer, attacking play is not his best virtue.
The best position for him is right in front of the defender, as a traditional CDM where he acts as a protective wall for the central defenders, breaking play with him excellent recovery and positional awareness and recycling ball to other more attacking players in his team to start a counterattack.
So by playing him as RCM, we will find him in a more advanced position which technically will not get best out of a world-class defensive midfielder.
The defensive dilemma
Chelsea previous manager, Antonio Conte liked to play with a back three which provided Chelsea with a solid defensive foundation which was then complemented with quick and efficient counter-attacking moves.
The three-man defence along with Kante playing in front of them hid individual flaws in the player and allowed them to work as a better collective unit. Three men defence which relies on the wing backs also meant that we are now left with players who are more of an attacking wing backs, then traditional right/left backs who are defensively sound and can provide extra width when required.
This defensive fragility has already been exposed in the game against Manchester city in community shield.
The solution: 4-2-3-1
The answer to Chelsea present problem lies in a formation which one of their previous managers implemented efficiently to win 2014-15 premier league title.
Yes, I am talking about the 4-2-3-1 formation.
One look at World cup winning France side this year and you will notice when implemented properly with a right set of players, how effective it can be.
The back four will consist of Christensen and Antonio Rüdiger duo, Rudiger providing a more of traditional center back calmness while Christensen bringing a bit of passing and creative flair.
The right-back role should be played by Azpilicueta who has been Chelsea most consistent and versatile defender since the time he signed and is considered one of the best defender in one vs one situation in the Premier League.
The left-back will be played by Marcos Alonso whose attacking ability will allow Sarri to implement his philosophy of overlapping left back thus adding width and more creative opportunities on the other side of the pitch.
The Two CDMs should be Kante paired with either Jorginho or Kovačić. Again the French side in World Cup showed that pairing creative players like Pogba with Kante can get best out of them allowing them to free roam the pitch and create havoc.
Jorginho traditionally likes to play in front of back four where Sarri has also been using him since his time at Napoli but playing with World class CDM like Kante will allow him to move into more advanced position and with his wide range of passing abilities, he can be the heart of Chelsea attacking moves.
Hazard and William, undoubtedly, will play as Left and right midfielders respectively with rotating there position with Pedro and Callum Hudson-Odoi thus providing the team with extra depth and in the process allowing Chelsea Academy Players to break into the first team
Central attacking midfield can be occupied by either Kovacic, Loftus Cheek or Ross Barkley- all of who are equally adept to play in that position. Sarri should rotate the players in this position to give equal opportunities to three players so that no one is overworked and all players are content.
Morata or Giroud will spearhead the attack though Morata would be preferred as he is better than Giroud in every aspect except maybe physicality.
4-2-3-1 should be the formation with which Chelsea start there new season adapting as the season progress.