Conte's New Formation is a Huge Dilemma for JT & Cesc
Conte's New Formation is a Huge Dilemma for JT & Cesc
With a 3-4-3 formation in place, will JT and Cesc be able to adapt?
With a 4-0 win against Manchester United’s José and a 2-1 loss to our local rivals (West Ham United) with some idiots for fans, it was bittersweet five days of football which left us with a lot of questions unanswered and a lot of opinions flowing around so let’s look at some of the things going on in the mind of us Blues for quite some time (at least in my head).
Opinion Number 1: JT -- Captain Leader Legend!!
John Terry: the name is common and unique, at least for the Chelsea fans. Sure there have been legends at every club and there certainly have been one-team players at clubs who came from their academies, but what makes John Terry special among those players is being the only academy graduate in their most successful era and this fact in itself makes him a special entity in the world of English football. Loved by us hated by many, he is certainly one thing - a damn good defender. True, he is not fast, but he never was and to get in the FIFPro Team of the Year 5 times and UEFA Team of the Year 4 times. There must be something that pulls him apart from the league class and makes him world class and to say two words for it - his brain.
The organization, the anticipation, the tough-tackling no-nonsense attitude is what sets him apart and quite simply in these areas he is still the best in the league. But with time comes change and we have changed for good. We are now a 3-man defense team that plays quite a high line. There is no doubting his quality of ball delivery or playing the ball from the back, he could very well teach John Stones a thing or two in those areas, but his speed and the ease with which Azpilicueta has slotted into the back three raises the question on his end. Is he finished?
Most certainly not.
With two fast defenders in kurt Zouma and David Luiz on either side of him and a certain N’golo Kanté and a resurgent Matić in front of him, he should be very much protected and do his job pretty admirably. And c’mon, a back three of Zouma-Terry-Luiz has got to be the best in the league (at least on paper).
But this could very well be a Cahill-Terry-Luiz trio. Irrespective of the fact whether it is Cahill or Zouma, it puts our beloved Dave out of a position. This creates two positions for him – RWB and LWB, but seeing as how well Alonso has played in the LWB position and our desire of having a player on the left side that could deliver quality crosses, I will give it to Alonso. Dave being a natural at any defensive position that he plays should slot easily in the RWB position even though Moses has performed greatly in the last three matches.
If it comes to choose between Dave, Terry and Moses, I see Moses as the man missing out (at least in the beginning). But seeing as no coach wants to break a winning formula, this could be an interesting dilemma for the coach (assuming Terry gets in the team) and a very welcome one as we have all seen the dilemma in regards to the now infamous 4-2-3-1.
Opinion Number 2: Cesc Fábregas -- Pirlo or gone??
Oh, the creator himself is on the bench. Isn’t this an irony that the player who has almost 100 assists has not played 100 minutes in the league? Capable of breaking defenses with a single pass, players of such quality and such creativity in today’s game are very hard to find. With Xavi, Pirlo and Scholes gone, Fábregas could very well be the no. 1 succesor to that role. Sure there is Xabi Alonso, Santi Cazorla, and others, but to say Fábregas isn’t one step ahead of all of them would be an insult to a player who has given more assists than anyone in the league since the year 2000.
The question still remains upon his defensive capabilities and with the formation preferred being 3-4-3, his chances of making the first team becomes very less. However, a player of his quality creates divided opinions among fans and coaches alike. He is too good of a player to be left on the bench and if anyone remembers the last 7 years, it used to be Pirlo and Xavi used to control the match. Opposite teams would dedicate a defender specifically to block them out, as such was their influence.
And after seeing what Conte did with Pirlo at Juventus and having a player of the same caliber within our ranks, it certainly fills my mouth with water. With this new 3-4-3 formation giving us 3 wins (and not to forget the demolition of Mourinho’s United) has become the favoured formation at the Bridge. But scrutiny will follow the success of this formation with the managers most certainly paying more attention to it.
The smaller teams would try to grind out a draw and the greater minds of Pochettino and Guardiola would find out a counter system. And to be completely frank, even with Matić at the top of the assist table and Kanté swiftly passing the ball into attack, we haven’t faced an elite team like Tottenham or Manchester City who would most certainly provide sterner tests. Keeping those two teams aside and taking in the factor of us being in Europe the next season, we will most certainly need a creator in chief to carve out defenses and distribute the balls from deep and currently there is no one better at that than Fábregas.
But with all this, the question also arises where will the Spanish maestro fit on this team? It certainly isn’t the second midfielder alongside Kanté in the 3-4-3 formation. There is no denying that unless Fábregas becomes a changed man, the formation has to be changed to accommodate him. There could be a Pirlo-esque situation with Matić and Kanté providing cover to Fábregas in a 3-5-2 formation. This system would then require Hazard to play as a striker alongside Costa.
A 3-5-1-1 formation with Hazard playing as a secondary striker would be even better providing Hazard to wreak havoc from behind Costa and would make him central to the attack, but this would give rise to another set of problems. Firstly, with no wingers in the system and full backs not advancing up the pitch all of the time, it would limit the passing range and the width of the pitch to be used by him to stretch the defense and be more effective. Secondly, with his inclusion in a team with 3-man defense it would most certainly see the wingers sitting out.
A player with the caliber of Fábregas doesn’t sit on benches and on his day the midfield genius would break any team apart, but his inclusion in this Chelsea team would certainly see some key names sitting out and only he can show whether he is worth it. One thing is for certain, in the long run, either Fábregas will change for the team or the team will change for him and time is running out for the maestro.
About the author
I am Ritwik Mishra and this is my first article. I try to do a lot of things but only thing I do well is procrastinate.