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Midfield depth concerns — what could Chelsea do should either Kante or Matic not be available?

Box-to-box fun.

Chelsea v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In our recent midfield review of the Chelsea squad, the WAGNH community came to a clear conclusion: in N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, Chelsea have the best pair of all-action midfielders working together in the game at the moment. Obviously, this is a biased assessment, though that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong. The cause for concern, however, is that the squad contains no clear replacements for either player. What could Chelsea do should squad rotation become necessary to due injury, suspension, or some other unforeseen circumstance?



Cesc Fabregas and Oscar are both excellent players, but they perform better in a midfield trio. The 3-4-3 formation Chelsea currently use could be slightly adjusted to a 3-5-2 — i.e. Conte’s system at Juventus and with the Italian national team — and this could be a useful option to have in our locker. Or we could switch back to the 4-3-3 seen earlier this season, though that would risk bringing back the defensive instability as well. Obviously, this is contingent on Oscar and Cesc staying at the club beyond January.

(As pointed out in the comments, Mikel is also an option, but we’re assuming the Chelsea legend will be moving on soon...)


Youth players Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been kept in the first-team squad for good reason, though that reason primarily is for them to learn and improve. Then again, getting thrown in at the deep end would force them to either sink or swim. Nate in particular has impressed so far, though it must be said that’s been mostly in non-stressful situations. Chalobah starting against Tottenham Hotspur or Manchester City may be a significantly tougher task, as we saw when he started against West Ham in a serious cup fixture.


Our dreams and speculations about midfielders involve the likes of Verratti and Koke joining Chelsea. Those two could work wonderfully in our team, although sitting on the bench until game time becomes available is not a situation befitting their talents. When Chelsea do return to the Champions League however, midfield enforcements along these lines will be needed.

Italy Training Session And Press Conference Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images


For the short term, we may have a perfect wild card solution in David Luiz. He has power and stamina, he passes wonderfully and has a dangerous long range strike; add to that his defensive ability and we realise (or remember) just how suitable Luiz could be for such a midfield role. Chelsea will need to sign another genuine, quality box-to-box midfielder to complement Kante and Matic, especially if we do indeed return to European football, but until then, David Luiz could serve as an emergency option.

However, the problem then would become what to do in defence...

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