Why Chelsea should switch to a 3-5-2 formation

Chelsea lost 3-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. They have now lost each of their last four league matches and are languishing in the 12th place in the league table with 39 points from 33 matches. That is exactly half the points Arsenal have accumulated having played one more match. Even Chelsea’s unreasonably high spending has failed to produce the desired results thus far. To make matters worse, they are scheduled to play heavyweight teams such as Manchester City and Manchester United this month.

At this rate, the Blues are going to finish inside the bottom half this season and Frank Lampard is certainly not in an enviable position at the moment. His second stint as the Chelsea manager has proved to be disastrous. Hence, he probably needs to go back to playing with a back three as Thomas Tuchel did during his tenure with the Blues.

Chelsea should accommodate Thiago Silva as the sweeper

The 38-year-old Silva seemed to enjoy playing as a sweeper between other two center-backs under Tuchel, and Chelsea should provide that opportunity to him once again. Wesley Fofana and Cesar Azpilicueta should play as the two centre-backs alongside Silva in Kalidou Koulibaly’s absence. Graham Potter started playing with a back-four but Chelsea’s performance has plummeted since making that change.

Switching to a back three will allow Chelsea extra cushion in their defensive set-up that is necessary for them at the moment. Their defence has leaked goals profusely over the last few months and Lampard should take steps to reinforce it.

Their two full-backs Reece James and Ben Chilwell enjoy playing as wing-backs and playing with a three central defenders will allow them to do just that.

Playing with a 3-5-2 instead of a 3-4-3

However, Chelsea cannot afford to play with the 3-4-3 formation Tuchel used to prefer. Instead, they should switch to a 3-5-2 to have an extra player in the midfield. With attacking full-backs like James and Chilwell in the side, they can afford to play without any wide players.

This should also allow them to play with a three-man midfield of N’Golo Kante, Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic. Both Kante and Kovacic are quite adept at venturing forward and Fernandez’s passing abilities should come in handy as well.

Additionally, the Blues should start with Raheem Sterling and Mykhailo Mudryk as their two strikers. Sterling prefers to play as a winger, but has played as a center-forward before. Mudryk has impressed with his work-rate and link-up play and should provide good assistance to Sterling.

The Ukrainian forward also has the ability to drop back and defend, and that is a quality Chelsea need at the moment. Lampard can probably salvage some pride for the Blues by adopting the above approach to see out the remainder of the season.

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