Chelsea have taken to playing in a 3-4-3 system like a fish to water, but Blues boss Antonio Conte has revealed that the formation was only his plan D as he tried to get his side firing again, report chelseafc.com.
When speaking to the club’s official website, Conte outlined how he initially planned to setup the team: “We started the season with another system because the idea in my mind was that I wanted to play with the 4-2-4.”
Perhaps the idea of playing with a two striker formation was why the club opted to sign Michy Batshuayi in the summer. Unfortunately for him, the prospect of Chelsea playing with two up-top was scrapped, as Conte continued to tinker with the team.
Conte revealed to chelseafc.com that the next step was to test out formations similar to how his players had played before: “then we switched with 4-3-3 and we played also in the same way like last year, 4-2-3-1.” It was, however, not getting the desired results: “I noticed in some circumstances we didn’t have the right balance.”
Every man and his dog could see that how Chelsea were playing wasn’t working for them. There were warning signs during the three-minute capitulation against Swansea, where but for Diego Costa’s heroics Conte’s side would have fell to an embarrassing defeat.
Their shortfalls were exposed for the world to see after being picked apart by both Liverpool and Arsenal in consecutive games. Chelsea had no control in either game, rarely looked threatening and their defending was a throwback to the disasters of last campaign.
In a desperate attempt to stop the rot, Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation. It was a system that we had seen him use at Juventus and with the Italian national team. He told the Chelsea website: “We switched to the new system of 3-4-3 and I think this is a good fit for our squad.”
Though 3-4-3 was essentially his fourth choice, switching to it has paid dividends. Chelsea have won all of their last five Premier League games, scoring 16 and conceding zero. In that period they outlined their title credentials and now sit just one point behind leaders Liverpool.
It has also got the best out of Eden Hazard, who has been handed more freedom than he was ever allowed under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho. There appears to be a direct correlation between Hazard’s form and Chelsea’s, he is very much their star man.
If Chelsea continue to play the way they are currently, they will be right in the mix at the top of the table come the end of the season.