Chelsea are purring again after Antonio Conte switch
“It is a good system for Chelsea.” If Eden Hazard is happy with it, Antonio Conte must be getting something right.
The Belgian No 10 led the praise of Conte’s 3-4-3 at the weekend and as a team Chelsea look altogether more comfortable after their new manager’s switch-up. Three at the back and three at the front, it seems, is here to stay.
To put it kindly, Chelsea were in something of a mess. Owner Roman Abramovich had already been making trips to the training ground following a comprehensive defeat by Liverpool before another at the hands of Arsenal.
Conte had already been experimenting with playing three at the back at the Blues’ Cobham base but it was their troubles on a match day that brought it into the public eye. At 3-0 down and with little to lose away at Arsenal last month, the manager withdrew Cesc Fabregas to latch new boy Marcos Alonso on to the left side of his midfield.
It seemed to stem the tide at the Emirates somewhat, although how much of that was down to Arsenal taking their foot off the gas is certainly debatable.
A week later at Hull City it was used from the start and has been stuck with since. Chelsea have scored five without reply since their change in formation.
Much of the system’s success is owed to the two wing backs who provide wider options in attack while allowing the forwards to wreak havoc in the middle.
The central midfielders are given plenty of ground to cover and when going backwards Alonso frequently drops into the backline to return to a more familiar back four.