Despite the disappointing sixth place finish in the Premier League, the silverware won in the form of Champions League had erased the negatives of Chelsea side last season.
Roberto Di Matteo, who took the reins as Chelsea manager in between the two leagues of Round of 16 phase in the Champions League last season, had played with adrenaline-related tactical moves which helped the Blues to win Europe’s biggest prize.
Di Matteo re-invented the Catenaccio style of play-the Italian art played with majority of players packed on the back, in his years at Chelsea. The outcome of winning Champions League and FA Cup had rewarded the interim manager to become the permanent manager, where the Italian penned a two year agreement last summer.
However, the reign of Di Matteo had lasted for only 262 days as the Chelsea’s lose at Turin in the game week 5 of Champions league group stages piled up Abramovich to sack the Italian on immediate reaction. Former Liverpool and Internazionale manager, Rafael Benitez was appointed as the interim manager in late November and since then, the Spaniard has been on constant pressure of getting sacked at any point of time due to the poor run of Chelsea.
Rafael Benitez has guided Chelsea in 14 Premier League games in this season so far winning on only 7 occasions, losing 4 and obviously, drawing 3. Before the Wigan game, Chelsea were without a win in the past three games of all competitions and so, the question is raised whether Rafa will opt plan B of three man defense- the trending topic of modern football?
Three man defense style of play needs influential wing-backs, an impressive defensive midfielder with an astonishing box-to-box midfielder. If a three man defense will be opted at Stamford Bridge, then how the players are packed in the formation of the same? Let’s have a brief discussion here.
David Luiz, who has been spending his time in the midfield in recent days under Rafa, has to return back to his original favorite position to form partnerships with John Terry and Gary Cahill at the back. Wing-back roles will be provided to overwhelming full backs, Branislav Ivanovic and Ashley Cole as both of these players can cause serious vulnerable problems to the opponent defenders during Chelsea’s attack and at the same time, having the spectacular tendency to take up a valuable role at defense when the emergency cover is desperately needed.
Frank Lampard and Ramires will be taking up their roles at centre-midfield just behind the attacking midfielders, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata. Lampard, whose contract extension is in doubt with Chelsea, has been in spectacular form in recent days. Till December, Lampard had featured 11 times for the West London side and out of those 11, Chelsea had won 10, drawing once. Speaking about the present, Lampard has scored 4 times in his last 4 appearances for both his club and country.
Juan Mata is leading the assists chart this season with 20 assists for both his club and country. The unselfish Spanish attacker is in the best form of his life as his contribution is not limited only with assists.
The goal scoring abilities of the 24-year old has been considerably increased this season. Demba Ba or Fernando Torres will be solely leading the Blues attack. However, based on current form, Ba will start the majority of games.
With Lampard and Mata serving as the creative sparks, Ivanovic and Cole instrumental on the wings, and Demba Ba who can convert the majority of the chances leading up front, the 3-4-2-1 formation can certainly reduce Chelsea’s woes.
Written by Raghuvarman Sampathu
Follow Raghu on Twitter @Crazy_LFC_Fan
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