Chelsea - Formation Alternatives - Part 1
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Formation Alternatives - Part 1

I am writing this because it is something that has really made me worry and despair.

We have some of the best players in the world but we are struggling badly and have been outsmarted and thwarted on numerous occasions, results which have divided the Chelsea faithful mostly on match days and all.

I think that apart from the madness of firing and hiring of the coach and with the lack of perceived qualified personal among our board of directors, what we need to look at his our formation and persistence of using it.

The 4-2-3-1 formation is a formation that is thought by football lovers as a complete and balanced formation that deals with attack and defence, but we all know that it is not the case where Chelsea are concerned, we have been unlucky with the pivot and our striker has made it more difficult than usual.

Here I propose the first alternative to the 4-2-3-1, bearing in mind the players we have to be using 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, the 4-4-2 can be a balanced formation if the players have positional discipline and follows the coach's instructions to the latter, combining with their individual skills it can be profitable.

Cech-Cole-Terry-Cahill-Cesar-Rammy-Luiz-Oscar-Hazard-Mata-Ba are the personnel.

Rammy will sit beside Luiz, with Luiz making the pass to Oscar and Oscar with Hazard orchestrating the flow of attack, Rammy will be the hard tackler while Luiz will help and to a degree Oscar, but the creativity would fall on both Hazard and Oscar as they switch, while Mata can play behind the striker to pounce on loose balls and setup Ba sweetly for a finish.

The advantage of this formation is that Mata can switch with Hazard to cause confusion as either Hazard can be deadly feeding off the main striker or any of these diminutive men can cause the opposition loads of problems with their trickery and understanding inside the box, this formation though will be perfect with a combative defensive midfielder and central midfielder.

But Luiz and Rammy can do a decent job of it with their defensive, aggressive abilities, what Oscar needs to do is be the schemer in the middle, use his skill to create space for both Hazard and Mata to do their thing.

I'll continue this with the 4-3-3 formation tomorrow.

I'd like to see what you think of this formation, if it can work or if it can't, but one thing is sure guys, we need an alternative.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: dessydore Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 22 2013

Time: 4:39PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
To me 442 can really work.but use torres/hazard behind Ba,as they are stronger than 442 will be cech azpi cahil iva cole.ramirez oscar luiz mata.Ba Torres or Hazard.
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22/01/2013 17:21:00

I am not a fan of the direct 4-4-2 (thats my view)..I feel it leaves too much gap in the middle as well as too much work for the central midfielders especially when the players on the wings are not very hard working which is the case for us...also against other formations...(3-5-2,..4-4-1-1, or even 4-2-3-1)...4-4-2 formation can be easily exposed by being outnumbered in the middle of the park and that is why I think most teams have stopped playing it as their key formation......may be we could set up as a 4-4-2 looking more like a 4-4-1-1...with a player like mata/hazard or even torres sitting in the hole...but your personnel for the 4-4-2- above kinda make sense...good thinking...
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22/01/2013 17:34:00

@mzee69, I understand why u prefer torres, but why I talked of mata is bcos, if mata play in that role behind the striker, he'll be very deadly there and would put so many players in trouble, torres can be used as sub. @layorh, if u noticed, I said something about combative midfielder, a no nonsense DM, but with the personnel in our team right now, we can make it work, I am not saying we should scrap 4-2-3-1, but we should have one other one that will maximize our attacking threat,
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22/01/2013 17:48:00

@merlin, if u are reading this, when next u get a message from that email, it is from me, I am sorry I did not send u a mail to explain it, I have a account validation problem with my previous one(
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22/01/2013 17:50:00

Dear dessydore,i share your view that we should depend solely on the 4-2-3-1 formation as it often stagnates our game plan when opponents figure it out. I have severally advocated for dynamism in here and anytime i engage in football debates with my friends. I believe switching formations and game plan will make us less predictable among other things. Coming to your recommended 4-4-2 formation,the much i know of it is that it requires two skilful and speedy wingers on either flanks who are capable to track back and defend effectively. Alot of people now see it as an outdated or obsolete team shape. In the present BPL,ManUre is the one team that uses it more and as you can see,they dont do without wingers. I am of the view that we dont have such wingers,Hazard and Moses comes a bit close. Also the CM we have doesnt really fit the pattern. Mata for example can play behind the striker but not as a partner. He is good at through pass delivery,i doubt he will survive the hassles in the front 2 given his meagre built. But Luiz and Oscar can work as the central mids to some extent going by their ball playing . In all,we might give it a try if we want to,but some players,like Mata will be sacrificed.
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22/01/2013 18:09:00

*Typo* ....we shouldnt depend.
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22/01/2013 18:18:00

@Ohans...I am not sure even Hazard has the defensive strength to play in a 4-4-2...moses will probably be good in a 4-4-2...for chelsea with the current players we have...I still dont think 4-4-2 is the way to go....4-3-3 or to a lesser extent 4-1-3-2 and 3-5-2 (since we have plenty AMs)..are the other patterns I think might soothe us
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22/01/2013 18:30:00

Sorry Desmond, didnt know its you,about the formation,our squad doesnt also support it given our obvious lack of squad depth mostly in the attacking department. These means we will run out of options in the attacking 2. Another striker or two is necessary for it. Although players like Hazard or Moses can serve as makeshift partners to the outright center forwards,that will also mean vacancy on the flanks. For us to adopt that system,radical changes and precise inclusions will have to be made.
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22/01/2013 18:32:00

Yes Layorh, was coming to that anyways(the preference of 4-3-3 or its compromise), but feel it will be better discussed when the author brings on the later part of the piece in which,as he says, the system will come under focus.
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22/01/2013 18:42:00

Souns crazy but what about 1-2-3-2-3; cech cahill ivanovic ramires Luiz bertrand Lampard oscar Mata ba hazar this way luiz has a free defensive role in front of the centre backs, and can sweep or protect. Ramires and bertrand provide width in attack and dynamism, whilst dropping back into fulllback for defence. Oscar slightyly advanced of lampard and they will dictate play in deeper role, mata and hazard have free rolenas stikers so few defensive duties and can run beyond ba who will be great for crosses and general play (it would suit torres more also. Not luiz is basically part of back 3 but can free role within defence
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22/01/2013 18:43:00

@Chelsea_pass...i can only are soo funny...1-2-3-1-2-3??....loooooool.....and you even tried to explain it...lmao....anyways..thats the beauty of was very hilarious read...@Ohans...yes you are right ..we'll see what @Desmond's ideas are...but if I was a chelsea coach I wont even play the traditional 4-3-3...'ll play an altered suites the players we have now perfectly,imo.
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22/01/2013 18:57:00

play 4 1 2 3.....cezar iva cahill cole....luiz as dm should be sitting abive the back four....oscar and mata as no 10 behind ba...both can change position and one can play little deep to interact the link up between attack and defence.....Hazard and Marin on wings you can use the width very welk with both of them...with ba as striker he can hold the play also....for me a better and can vary our game the way we want....
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22/01/2013 19:01:00

I dont really understand your definition of 4-4-2 and the players you made mention of are not really suitable for the setup.
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22/01/2013 20:35:00

I think 4-4-2 could be diamond or flat. Ancelloti loved the diamond 4-4-2 setup but it left our flanks exposed and our play became very narrow.
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22/01/2013 20:38:00

Moses is our only natural winger. Marin can also provide width but he will have to play on the RW to do that effectively, he will also need to track back and help the fullback. Hazard can also do it if he is instructed to provide width and not cut in.
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22/01/2013 21:01:00

SirAlex is a huge lover of 4-4-2 flat. His wingers must be hardworking and provide width with quality crosses into the box. Though he is gradually falling in love with the diamond system as it gives him the oppurtunity to play his 4 strikers more and he can play his deadliest attacking trio (Kagawa,RVP & Rooney) at the same time.
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22/01/2013 21:29:00

@Layorh, i can remember posting a system like that in one of the previous threads. A compromise of 4-3-3 and 4-1-3-2. I suggested a system where we will line up like this: ................Cech................ Azpi.....iva...cah.........cole ...............luiz.................. Moses........oscar........mata In order to maintain balance btwn attack and defence in this system,5 players will be allocated to both attacking and defending each,the back 4 will be less adventurous than usual. And the man in front of them(luiz or rami) wil be somewhat stationary,aggressively challenging opponents attack to form a defensive shield for the back 4. The man in the middle of the pack,(like Oscar) will be drifting between both sides,creating a link for the attack and defense and dictating the tempo and rythm of the play. Mata occasionally will slot into the middle esp. when Oscar goes defensive. Moses or Marin wil always hug either flanks while Hazard will be switching in and out of the flank and the attacking pair. Another suitable forward,Torres or any other available striker can be used in Hazard's position while Ba will be the major arrow head. The system,though complex and complicated will make for adequate utilization of available talents.
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22/01/2013 21:31:00

If he goes with the Diamond against Madrid, United will be totally destroyed as their flanks will be left exposed for DiMaria and Ronaldo to exploit, Evra & Rafeal cannot stand those 2. Rio is now very slow and Vidic is far from what he used to be. It will be an interesting tie.
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22/01/2013 21:39:00

@Ohans..thats some good tots there...although Luiz's role weill b very crucial to the entire set up...and he'll have to show a lot more discpline for it to work...definitely worth a try though....
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22/01/2013 21:46:00

Hi Desmond - Cant agree with you on a natrual 4-4-2. B & Torres are the only natural striker we have. No depth there playing 2 strikers give our options. Your 4-4-2 described sounds more 4-4-1-1 which is possible, and when you view our formation in defence, we actually resemble this already alot of the time. I personally think the 4-2-3-1 formation currently in use is the best formation for us given whom we have atour disposal. 4-3-3 being the other, however Im of the belief that Mata is so much better centrally rather than on the wing that I struggle to see where he fits into 4-3-3 and be the most effective..
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22/01/2013 21:47:00

I dont thnk formations have been our main issue, more which personal have been picked, and how often.
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22/01/2013 21:48:00

Thanks layorh 12- my point is that we all recognise that luiz is a fantastic defender in that his man to man defensive skills and pace are top notch, and in that formation he could use those skills to our advantage without being placed in a particular cb or cdm role which may highlight his poor positioning. Ramires and bertrand have buckets of pace to defend vs opposition wingers but also attack and stop us from being so narrow- this takes the burden off hazard and hazard to stay wide so they can influence attack more centrally. Playing wingbacks was crucial for juventus when they beat us 3-0, it seemed like they had 2 extra players in attack that we couldnt handle, but they still lokked defensively solid. Watching oscar for brazil he just moves round the pitch keeping possesion ticking over and so he may be an option in center mid without tom much physical defence- hence lampard/ other to help. Hazard played in the front 3 for lille last year, and looked like he scored alot more and created more in a forward position than he is now playing as a okaymaker- and mata and hazard shouldnt be played where they have dfensive responsibility as that isnt their game (man city played 3 across midfield last year- milner played as a defensive minded winger) so mata and hazard have free roles in the front 3 to exchange positions and work in the final third
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22/01/2013 22:02:00

Sorry layorh 12, cant read comments coz phone messing arouns
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22/01/2013 22:08:00

I keep seeing luiz name pop up as the DM, in a million years luiz is not as good as mikel in that position. Mikel still our best DM in the team.
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22/01/2013 22:22:00

@chelsea_pass i support your formation but it looks so funny LoooooooooooooL
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23/01/2013 00:42:00

@chelsea_pass - soundsvery 4-3-3 to me ( 2x CBs, LB+RB being your wing backs, a CM being Luiz, CAMs being Oscar/Haard, front 3 of Mata/Ba/Hazard. Im not trying to have a dig at your suggestion but its sounds like you have just overcomlicated a normal 4-3-3? Ramires would be far better centrally for me in place of either Lampard/Oscar in your formation for me..
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23/01/2013 05:30:00

@pila12, I know that but since mikel is away and moses is also away that is the main reason I omitted them, if I added mikel in the 4-4-2 set up, it will make more sense than it is with luiz there, but I just wrote it so if it is possible, we can just switch to it in a second half game and confuse the teams that I primarily set up to play against our natural 4-4-2, as I said, it can be a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, and need I remind u guys that even this formation can be stretched as a 4-4-2 can be stretched to a 4-4-1-1 as someone said up there, samex, shlok27layorh, ohans,bluekiwi, chelsea pass I get u guys on what u are saying, and it gives me more insight
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23/01/2013 06:27:00


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