I love Juventus' formation, and in particular, how it accommodates Andrea Pirlo and his immense talents. So I decided I'd have a look at how Chelsea could work in such a formation. While the 34-year-old is probably defensively underrated, he's hardly a midfield destroyer, and in most other formations which have one man sitting in front of the defense, he'd be a defensive liability. I'm talking about, for example, a Chelsea midfield 3 (in a 4-3-3) of Oscar-Mikel-Ramires where Mikel was replaced as the lone holder by Pirlo.
However, Juventus circumvents this problem by surrounding their deep-lying playmaker with two defensively sound, high-stamina, box-to-box centre-midefielders. One of which, is Arturo Vidal. The closest we've got to that is Essien.. 4 years ago. Seeing as he is now post-op Ramires steps up for that role; while he doesn't have the strength to match Essien or Vidal, he's faster than both and has the stamina of the Bison of old and Vidal of today. So, it's Essien and Ramires in those two CM slots, they'd be nightmare to play against for opposition; both of them playing a pure box-to-box role (I know Marchisio plays slightly further up than Vidal), harassing their opposite numbers out of possession, alternating in adding to the attack and both being capable of breaking up plays and starting counter attacks with a quick pass to our 'Pirlo'.
Which brings me on nicely to who I think should play that role. Someone with a fantastic passing range, vision and ability to dictate the play with the whole game spread out in front of them. Like I said, they don't need to be a play-breaker, but I think they should have good defensive positioning and be solid enough in the tackle. It's Oscar! He has he passing range and the creativity to go with it, he's aware enough with his positioning, and, most importantly, he's clever enough to play such a mentally demanding role.
I've gone to the liberty of throwing together some Chelsea 3-1-4-2s, although they're more like a 3-1-4-1-1s, imitating Juve:
-I believe this is best for all of our centre-backs; Terry's pace is exposed less often as he has two men to cover for him, Luiz and Ivanovic can use their relative pace for CBs to greater effect on the edge of a back 3.
-I've explained the midfield 3.
-Schurrle and Moses bomb up and down the wings providing width, I chose them for their defensive work rates but for true wing-backs use Cole and Azpilicueta.
-Mata has a free role supporting Lukaku and roaming around the final third.
-Lukaku is the focal point for attacks, a target to knock down for Mata, a target for the wingers'/wing-backs' crosses, and welcome to run in behind with pace, he can do whatever, really.
The next formation is a 4-1-4-1 inspired by Guardiola's preseason use of Thiago Alcantara as the man in front of the back four. As this has a four-man defense, we can be a little more aggressive in our choice of wingers. The Essien-Oscar-Ramires 3 remains, it's just the current Chelsea defense, and Lukaku's up top.
-While Hazard's hardly a good defensive winger, he, at least, makes an effort. The same cannot be said for Mata, but we love him anyway. Ramires, with his extra mobility over Essien would be on the right so as to provide cover in front of Azpi when Juan idly stands by.
-This is for both formations, I think Lampard should be able to play the playmaking role effectively enough should Oscar need a rest. Also, I think Kevin De Bruyne could play it, I think he may have a slightly better passing range than Oscar but I've not seen enough of him to know, really.
Well there it is, feel free to improve the two formations/add your own,and let me know if you think it's actually work, hope you liked it!