4 Players Who Will Thrive With Chelsea’s Change In Formation

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Antonio Conte’s Chelsea have been victorious in their last two Premier league games and a change in the formation seems to have done the trick. Prior to the Hull game, Conte stuck to a back four for quite a few games. The results were quite mixed. Conte first experimented with 3 at the back in the Arsenal game when Fabregas was brought off for new signing Marcus Alonso and that seemed to stem the tide against an Arsenal side that were purring and raring to punish Chelsea after racing into a 3-0 lead before half time.

Conte has previously utilized 3 at the back at both Juventus and the Italian National team to great effect. It was mainly to accommodate the iconic defensive trio of Leonardo Bonnuci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. Chelsea might not be blessed with the same defensive gems but in Conte, they have a man who can make the most with what he has at his disposal.

The Blues have lined up with this formation for two games in a row now, during which they scored 5 goals. They haven’t let a single goal in during this period, a remarkable recovery considering they had lost 2 games on the bounce before that, which was preceded by a disappointing draw to Swansea when their defense fell apart.

Defensive stability was much needed at the time and Conte seems to have rung in the changes that have benefitted Chelsea as they have defeated Hull 2-0 and last season’s Champions Leicester City 3-0 in what was a dominant performance. All of Chelsea’s star players seem to be firing at the right time.

Here are 4 Chelsea players that will significantly improve following Chelsea’s change in the formation to 3-4-3

Gary Cahill

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The England stopper looked to be in shambles as his error-prone defensive style was beginning to get horribly exposed. His most treacherous moment came in the draw against Swansea when he indecisively gave away the ball under pressure from Leroy Fer who ran through and beat Courtois. Ever since Chelsea have switched to a back 3, Cahill has been good playing alongside Azpilicueta and David Luiz. His errors are no longer shown as much as before. Having 2 alongside him is also giving him more time to react to situations which he has done fairly well in the past 2 games against Hull and Leicester.

Eden Hazard

Marcus Alonso arrived from Fiorentina this summer and the Spaniard, who has prior experience in the Premier League, has fitted in Conte’s team effortlessly on the left-hand side. His presence means that Eden Hazard has more of a free role up-top. In the past 2 games, Hazard has been quite influential and has gotten on the ball a lot more. The Belgian seems to be brimming with confidence and the change in formation seems to have helped his game. He now plays close to Costa as part of the attacking trio upfront. In Chelsea’s previous formation, Eden Hazard or any wide player had a lot of defensive work to take care of. But in the formation employed by Conte off late, this is taken care of by the 2 midfielders and wide-defenders.

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N’golo Kante

The Frenchman arrived from Leicester in the summer with a bulging reputation as a midfield workhorse and a change in the formation has certainly put a lot more responsibility on Kante’s shoulders which he seems to have thrived upon. He has also joined in on the attacking front ever since Chelsea changed how they line up. Kante dominated the midfield in the game against his former employees and was seen getting forward a lot too and thus it would disservice to call him a ‘holding midfielder’. Kante is much more than that.

Diego Costa

The former Atletico man has been on fire this term. He currently leads the Premier League scoring charts with 7 goals to his name. Something has been different about Costa this season, as he has looked more menacing and in some of the initial games, he carried the team on his shoulders individually. Another thing that will please Conte is the amount of service the Mercurial frontman has received. The presence of 4 wide-men has had a big impact on how the team plays.

There’s no doubting that Chelsea are thriving under their new coach. They seem to have taken to Conte’s tactics like fishes to water. Conte will be looking to continue with this fine momentum and ensure his team end the season in the Champions League places, at the very least.

Written by Vamsi Krishna

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