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Antonio Conte Must Play This Striker In The Camp Nou

Antonio Conte Must Play This Striker In The Camp Nou

Alvaro Morata is clearly feeling the pressure of not having scored a goal since Boxing Day in the 2-0 win over Brighton. It`s a prerequisite for a striker to score and at the moment the Spaniard is sadly, literally, not hitting his targets.

Even more worrying is his propensity to lose his head and get himself booked. We saw him pick up two yellow cards, in a short space of time, in the FA Cup tie against Norwich. The second of which was for dissent after which he was senselessly sent off.

He came on during the second half of yesterday`s game against Palace and he very nearly repeated the whole stupid process. On a another day with another referee and he would have had to have walked.

Yesterday Olivier Giroud, was unlucky not to have scored. He did everything but hit the back of the net. At the moment, he looks the better of the two on all fronts. He must start the game against Barcelona.

If Chelsea are to get through the tie, they need to score at least one goal, probably two, better three. It`s going to be incredibly difficult. European referees won`t put up with any of Morata`s nonsense, and these games against the Catalans have historically ended with a Chelsea player picking up a red card. This team are not capable of repeating the heroics of that 2012 team that delivered a result in the Nou Camp with 10 men.

Starting Eden Hazard in the false nine role won`t provide the goals that we`ll need to progress either. It has to be Giroud. We saw how ineffective and isolated the Belgian was against Manchester City. I`m sure Antonio Conte would argue there was a method behind what I perceive to be his madness.

This Barcelona game is different though, we can`t just shut them out for ninety minutes, we need more. We`re asking in our current front page poll who you think should start the game on Wednesday. What we do know for certain is, it`s going to be a very tense night.

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

Date:Sunday March 11 2018
Time: 7:28PM


Even though I am only a lowly fan ( and a layman at coaching), the more i think about it, the more it becomes clear that our best chance to get something from camp nou, surprise barca and maybe get a result is to play a target man while at the same time be a strong defensive jugernaut. I have tried every back 3 formation and honestly I cant see a single one that allows for a target man while at the same time brings the type of balance defensively to get a result at camp nou which gives me an idea of how conte thinks and why he favors the false 9 approach. It does look like the limitations he sees in this squad especially in these tough games ( e.g city and barca) is a little tainted because he has not looked beyond a back 3 system. I do think the best set up for the barca match is a narrow back 4 with wingers playing as part of a very strong 6 man defensive line when we are not with the ball. We used this approach in our 2-2 draw at the camp nou the last time we won on aggregate ( with a man down at the camp nou) and Mou uses this approach against the top teams all the time (he even used it yesterday against Liverpool where he surprised and played Mata as one of the defensive wingers in front valencia and Liverpool just refused to capitalize because Mane was consistently drifting inside) and we have players perfect for the system away from home on a tough ground. Tibo Azpi AC Rudiger Alonso Willian Kante Cesc/DD Pedro Hazard/Cesc Giroo/Hazard I put the / sign there to kinda show other options especially if Conte still wants to go false 9 which I do not really like and i dont think will bring the best out of the formation. Truth is the system is most effective when it uses a target man to relieve pressure since the team will tend to hoof the ball a lot. We have an added bonus that we currently have the perfect target man in Giroo and a special player in hazard. We will cause them a lot of problems. Although while Giroo lacks the pace to press aggresively, i still think that flaw will be more than covered by the 2 high energy and pacey wingers who will spread out a little bit once we lose the ball This formation pretty much congests the center of the pitch and the 18 yard box and forces play wide where i think barca’s play is the weakest especially since iniesta will likely miss out and they do not have a typical tall striker to take advantage of crosses. And Even when play goes wide it will mostly be a 2-2 situation because Willian and Pedro are high energy players that can run a lot and something defensively and offensively. If there is one match to ditch a back 3, it is this one imo.
11/03/2018 20:43:00
In hindsight, looking back at the city match and the injuries we had, we could have lined up like this with this defensive 4-4-2. Tibo AzpiAC Rudi Alonso Pedro DD Cesc Willian Hazard Giroo Maybe we would still have lost, but we would have given them a lot more problems with better football. I dont necesarily mind the back 3, but with the way football as evolved, sometimes we have to play in another way and have different tactical approaches depending on opposition. Conte is almost making it look like this team can only play a back 3 formation and I think this is not correct, again I am only but a lowly fan. Just my view
11/03/2018 20:44:00
Lowly fan, or just being modest :-) , those were really interesting & though provoking views, layorh12 ...
12/03/2018 03:21:00
I concur. Our best bet is playing Giroud. His hold up play and presence in the box is crucial. We lack an aerial threat without a striker.
12/03/2018 04:32:00
Posting the following quotes from Conte because I feel that this is a positive turn of events (hopefully)
12/03/2018 04:33:00
“In every game I have to decide the starting XI and not the players, because the players are the players and the manager is the manager. But sometimes, before this type of game, it is more important to involve totally the players and then to listen. This tie seems close and, for this reason, I think that we have to try the best plan for the game against Barcelona.”
12/03/2018 04:33:00
A good teacher is not only willing to teach but also to learn (listen)
12/03/2018 04:34:00
Well latest comments from Conte not encouraging at all. ----
12/03/2018 08:21:00
Having seen how conte setup held barca at bay in the first leg, it would be quite hard for me to suggest a different approach. However, its an approach that requires alot of committment and mental readiness from the players. This is where Conte's comment about meeting with the players to suggest the best way to go into the game comes in handy. If the players agree to being ready to put in the same shift as in the first leg so be it! The system worked perfectly the last time and if they don't show a readiness to it, Conte is best finding another system or way to get us through. Regarding the matter of experience, we haven't been so good in the champs league for sometime now. We've lost many personnels that won us or were there in our hay days in the champs league while most of our recruiment don't have such great experience in the tournament too. Thus, the coach is not totally out of place saying we don't have that much experience as Juve. We will have to qualify using committment, desire and grit.
12/03/2018 11:36:00
We need 11 players to be at their best on wednesday for us to have any chance-it is possible we get a result with the right selection & tactics.. I agree with Layorh12...we need to try a different system, but not only the 3 @ the back system which our opponents are always prepared for. I think we should try a 4-3-2-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation. (4-3-2-1)...... Court/Caba, Zappa, AC, Azpi, Alonso......Rudiger, Kante, Emerson.......Hazard, Willian,..... Giroud/Morata. ( 4-2-3-1)...Court/Caba,....Azpi, AC, Rudiger, Alonso....... Kante, DD.... Hazard, Fabregas/Pedro, Willian... Giroud/Morata.Giroud/Morata.
12/03/2018 13:12:00
But i know Conte will go with his 3-4-3 or 3-5-2........ then my line up would be------ Court/Caba... Azpi, AC, Rudiger..........Moses. Kante, DD, Alonso,........Hazard, Giroud, Willian OR Court/Caba... Azpi, AC, Rudiger, ......Moses, DD, Kante, Emerson, Alonso......... Hazard/Willian, Giroud/Morata.
12/03/2018 13:20:00
Syed the Mail's comments are highly selective, you need to read the whole thing elsewhere
12/03/2018 14:59:00
Another issue is the ref, and various Barca players diving like Suarez and Busquets. We should really have a plan for playing with 10 men .Ref gets intimidated by the crowd at the Nou camp, and becomes Barca's 12th man .
Michael Reid
12/03/2018 15:54:00
I would also suggest Zappa over Moses plz. We need to make use of the chances we get, can’t have Moses constantly ruining attacks.
Pavel Alexander Perm
12/03/2018 18:38:00
whatever the team they need heart...i kinda wish luiz was fit we just dont seem to have a leader ! ..i think city will be the harder game as they know us..! i think the players minds over the last few weeks have been on this game...! its a daunting task ? ......KTBFFH
12/03/2018 21:33:00
Of course this team are capable of repeating the heroics of the 2012 team in my opinion. After all we almost embarrass them in the reverse fixture. Our problem is always selection. Fabregas and Pedro shouldn't start this match otherwise we will be in for a long night.
13/03/2018 18:08:00
Our problem is a defensive manager, who snivels to the media and puts his own team down .
Michael Reid
13/03/2018 22:00:00
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