None of us know what the brilliant Jose Mourinho is planning for the season ahead, he’s a tactical genius and a brilliant motivator, but everyone has different opinions of what we could expect and what we want/need to do this summer. With the signings of Schürrle and Marco van Ginkel already confirmed, we have two players who provide depth and potential in their respective positions. So as I’m a little bored I thought I’d put something together to compare the options we have remaining. In my opinion we should be looking towards a 4-3-3 formation, purely because anything else doesn’t utilise Ramires to his full ability and he is arguably our best midfielder when used right. However the 4-2-3-1 formation also suits the calibre of attacking midfielders we have at the squad, so I’m going to look at the potential signings we are linked with and where I think they would fit.
With a 4-3-3 formation we could easily fit every player we have in the squad and barring CB+GK have two teams of 11 players which could comfortably challenge in all competitions (one is obviously better than the other).
With this lineup our weakest position is CB, Ivanovic is by no means a bad player but he is not World Class by any stretch, for this reason in this situation a young CB in the mould of Zouma would be ideal, allowing Ivanovic to also cover at RB with a bit more depth at CB. In Lukaku we have a very good striker with huge amounts of potential, but it’s an area in which we really need some consistency.
While horrendously overpriced (not overrated) he would be ideal to become the talisman in this system, with his insane defensive workrate, composed finishing, and target man ability you couldn’t wish for a better signing who is available. Questions have been raised about whether he would be worthwhile, to those people I say go home, you’re drunk. As far as the market goes there is nobody who would be a more worthwhile signing in that position. The only argument against this is the highly unlikely concept that should PSG buy him, Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be available, although his wage costs would likely be astronomical, his usefulness to the team in the short term would be worth it, while providing a mentor (on the pitch) for Lukaku, and not stunting his development long term.
Over the past couple of seasons we have become very used to seeing Chelsea line up in a 4-2-3-1. While overall the formation is a tactically sound one it relies on one very important thing...
Can he play in the pivot?
With the midfielders we currently have available, the short answer is no. With the exception of MIkel we have no players who are suitable for the deep midfield part of this formation. Marco van Ginkel I hear is acceptable but having not seen him much other than highlight reels I am not in a position to answer that. Regardless, he’s a player whose main concern would be playing time, so I very much doubt that this formation is the way to go. However Jose used a 4-2-3-1 to great effect at Madrid but that relied on having a plethora of creative, disciplined midfielders who have fantastic positional sense (see Modric, Xabi Alonso & Khedira for details). Although the criticism aimed at our own Fernando Torres last season was fair, the team did not lack for goals; our main issues were defensive ones and a lack of creativity against teams who shut up shop against us. With this in mind I would argue that the purchase of a striker is not of paramount importance, but more importantly a
World Class defender and an experienced midfielder who can play in the mythical pivot.
This is how I think the team could line up in a 4-2-3-1. Without spending a huge amount on a striker, we would be able to buy a World Class defender and pivot midfielder. The issue here is that Lampard and Ramires are ineffectual in this formation, I for one don’t want to see Rami languishing on the wing or endangering our side in the pivot. I think we can all agree that while Lampard’s renewed contract was necessary, he will not be playing a huge role in the forthcoming season, especially not in this system.
In terms of the signings made, De Rossi is a quality midfielder who can make a quick pass and defends very well, while Subotic is the perfect yang to David Luiz’s ying, I’m sure many people share the opinion that he could be the JT to Luiz’s Carvalho.
Another issue with this is that I feel a lot of our attacking band players are nowhere near as useful when playing on the right, KdB can cross and Moses has an engine, and if we are going to have a no.10 as a role both Mata and Oscar are wasted being on the right, we especially don’t want to stunt Oscar’s growth as a player by playing him out of position.
I know in the 4-3-3 Mata plays on the right in my world, but that is because I have this idea in my head of Oscar receiving a simple ball from a Mikel interception, playing a quick through ball down that right wing for Mata to simply touch inside for Lukaku to hammer home, all in one touch football. Who wouldn’t want to see that sort of stuff happening week in week out.
There are obviously other signings we are linked with: Fellaini, Gomez, Higuain, Thiago Alcantara, Bony etc. But if we aren’t going to buy a truly World Class striker and we aren’t going to offload one then there is no point buying another decent one, Fellaini doesn’t bring anything new to the team other than brute force in defensive midfield (which I think we can get and more from de Rossi), and Thiago is seemingly on the way to Utd, although I for one would not complain if he rocked up in Blue.
I’m sure everything I’ve said here has simply reinforced what most people think themselves, but I just wanted to personally sit down and write everything I’ve been thinking about the coming 2 months, and where better to write it than here right?