With Chelsea travelling to face London rivals Arsenal on Saturday on the back of two disappointing Premier League results, Antonio Conte will be considering making a change to his line-up to face the Gunners.
Although a personnel switch could well be in the offing, turning to a 3-5-2 formation that the Italian trainer has used with devastating effect at former club Juventus could well be the masterstroke that sees the visitors escape the Emirates Stadium with a positive result.
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While his side were winning using their longstanding 4-2-3-1 system at the start of the campaign, it was understandable that Conte didn’t want to rock the boat.
However, with the Stamford Bridge side not at their best in their last two league games, now is the time to change to a three-man defence for a number of reasons.
- John Terry’s return from injury gives the visitors their leader back and the Blues an extra central defensive body.
- Branislav Ivanovic’s lack of pace could be exposed by Alexis Sanchez at right-back and as such tucking the Serbian into a more central role makes more sense.
- A three-man central midfield would allow more attention on Arsenal danger man Mesut Ozil, with potential for the German to even be man-marked.
- A double-pronged attack of Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi would give the home side real problems, while the option of playing Eden Hazard off the Spaniard is also available.
- The introduction of Marcos Alonso at left wing-back, who has been signed to offer width and a specialised left-footed player on that flank, would allow Cesar Azpilicueta to revert to his natural position on the right side.
It could well be that the formation change gets the best out of Conte’s Chelsea side while simultaneously making it harder for Arsenal to find their rhythm.