Chelsea should stick with back four – Talk Chelsea

Chelsea beat Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday evening after going a goal down early in the game.

It was yet again another new formation from Graham Potter, lining up with a back four. This has and always will be my preferred line-up, and I really hope that Potter has seen the benefits of this formation and continues with it now and in the future.

Potter lined up with a 4-3-3 variation. It looked more like a 4-3-1-2, like this:

Chelsea Back Four Line Up

This had many positives, most notably for Rahe​em Sterling, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Kai Havertz, more protection for Jorginho, Mason Mount, and better defensive stability. I think Cesar Azpilicueta has his limitations, but he is always going to be more comfortable in a back four. It’s the way to go for us for now, until we can make further signings.

Sterling was good, much more involved, and much more dangerous being in and around the box more. This is his best position for us, and this formation allows it. He needs to be advanced.

I loved seeing Aubameyang wide on the left, he presented different problems and I actually think the second half was the best we have seen so far from him in terms of team play and ball contributions. I loved seeing him play more as a winger, facing up defenders and playing towards the goal. He was cutting in on his right foot and looked really dangerous.

Havertz was given a free role and was able to drift wherever he wanted to go. He was playing in the ten role I guess, and this allowed him to be the connector between midfield and attack, and he did that very well. This position suits him.

We played a midfield three, meaning Jorginho had Mount and Denis Zakaria playing very close to him and this allowed him to be able to have more time on the ball to find passes, and also more cover and help to track runners and bodies to defend. I’m always picking a midfield three with this current setup. But the way Potter positioned this midfield three I think was key; Mount and Zakaria were like half 8s, they weren’t full 8s bombing forward all the time, they both stayed very close to Jorginho.

I always want to see Mason play deeper, that is where you will always get the best out of him, and it was proven once again last night. He was hungry and always positive and progressive with the ball. Must keep playing as an 8, no debate.

Having a back four with full backs largely defending over anything else, gave us numbers whilst defending, and also allowed for those further forward to concentrate on attacking. Mount and Zakaria, playing as part of that well positioned midfield three, were able to help out the full backs as well defensively, meaning that all the likes of Havertz, Aubameyang, and Sterling had to do was attack.

It wasn’t perfect, we should have scored more and struggled again to make that final decisive pass at times. Another team could have punished us for not finding that third goal. The opposition gave us plenty of time on the ball, so we were not fully tested. However, the positives I have drawn upon above were all really from tactical decisions from Potter, and once again, he has always proven to be a top tactical coach. We saw that again last night. He is always prepared to be flexible, and I really liked how he setup last night. I just hope that now he has seen that this is what we need to build on and perfect, rather than a 3-4-3 and using wingbacks (that aren’t wingbacks).

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