Date: 6th March 2018 at 8:43am
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After Sunday`s heavy 1-0 defeat against City it`s easy to look back with hindsight and right the afternoon`s wrongs. But maybe from Antonio Conte`s point of view the game went to plan.

My thinking prior to the game was, if nothing else, playing the free-flowing Pep Guardiola side would allow Conte the luxury of a free hit in terms of team selection and his possible formation looking towards the game next week.

Whilst Chelsea don`t have to win in the Nou Camp to proceed (a draw greater than 1-1 would do), they will need to put in a performance and score goals.

It would appear, that the Italian`s tactic against City was to try and keep the score at 0-0 and hope to grab a goal on the break late-on. It didn`t work against City, and it won`t work against Barcelona.

I can`t buy into this belief that Conte is deliberately plunging Chelsea FC into freefall just to spite Roman Abramovich because he didn`t buy him the players he wanted. I think, and what do I know, that Conte`s best chance in the Nou Camp, is to revert back to the kind of formation he had at Chelsea when he joined back in much happier times.

For me a 4-3-3 formation could be the way forward. With Andreas Christensen starting to buckle under the pressure of a heavy workload, surely playing a back four would benefit the young Dane. Christensen has been brilliant since taking over from David Luiz, but it`s been a tough season for him. Playing either Luiz (unlikely) or Gary Cahill alongside him would take some of that strain off.

I’d keep Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in their usual positions. Free-kick king Marcos Alonso would be playing on the left of the three man midfield. Obviously in the centre of midfield it would be N`golo Kante with Danny Drinkwater to his right.

The front free would comprise Willian, Eden Hazard and Olivier Giroud. Willian would have to work hard covering a lot of ground, but he can do that.

That just leaves the goalkeeper position, that I would give to Willy Caballero, just because I’m fed up with hearing Courtois mouth off. Plus Caballero is good penalty stopper, something which could well be needed. My eleven for the Nou Camp would be

Willy Caballero
Antonio Rudiger
Gary Cahill
Andreas Christensen
Cesar Azpilicueta
Marco Alonso
N’golo Kante
Danny Drinkwater
Eden Hazard
Olivier Giroud

We’d love your views on line-ups and formation ahead of next week`s big game. Please use the comments facility below to outline them.


23 Replies to “Conte Must Use This Formation At The Nou Camp”

  • Think I agree with you. Except the Marcos Alonso part. It’s time we give Emerson a good chance to prove himself. Alonso is too slow and I’m fed up with him

  • Luis is out for yet another month with knee and ankle injuries, with only two league wins all year we now do not have the luxury of resting players all year. If both Conte and the players were scared against City, they are going to wet themselves against Barca, no matter what the formation .

  • The Author is right when he said the idea against Man city was to keep it 0-0 then nick a goal towards the end of the match (it is a very popular Italian tactics, anyone that watches the Serie A will see quite a number of small teams using this approach to win against the big boys a lot of times). While Conte’s approach did not work out as planned, again we conceded a stupid goal (regardless of how awful Conte’s general approach was) which should bring shame to the players individually if they have any iota of pride left. That is the 3rd straight match we lost due to stupid errors owing to a mix of immaturity (Christensen) and just awful positional play (Alonso against City, Cesc, Azpi and Christensen against Barca, Christensen (again) against man untied). With that said, while Conte’s changes were just too late and reactive against city, I find the 4-4-2 we played in the last 10 minutes of that match very interesting. I really do feel we could have got something from that match if we had started with that formation. Itlooked like a defensive 4-4-2 with Moses and Emerson as defensive wingers, back four of Azpi-Christensen -Rudiger – Alonso, middle two of Cesc and DD, and Hazard and Giroo upfront….For me though, against Barca, if we want to progress, we simply have to score. So our best approach imo should be a similar flat defensive 4-4-2 that will get the very best out of Hazard. It would have to be a back four of Emerson-Rudiger-Christensen-Azpi, middle two of Kante and Drinkwater (or Bakayoko if he is fit), Two defensive wingers in Willian and Pedro and a front two of Hazard and Giroo. Even if we hoof the ball to Giroo to beat their first wave of aggresive press, He can either hold it up and earn a freekick or give Hazard a chance to run at people from deep, same with Willian and Pedro when they are able to joint the attack…..I believe even a similar approach against city would have got a result…or lost by the odd goal but with a more bold and positive performance. The memory of Sunday’s game is still hurting me. I wish I did not watch it to be honest. In over a decade of watching chelsea teams play, I have not seen a more horrible performance. Even Jose’s performance in the CL against PSG which was totally abject, was better than this one…I understand Conte was trying to stifle space and hoped to keep things tight at 0-0 until later on in the game, but he has to lift up his hands to admit that did not work out at all. Of course we conceded a totally avoidable goal, but Conte still has to carry the bulk of the blame and that is the truth. Maybe he would have felt better if we got a point, but we did not and he should know he has to take full responsibility. Tough end to the season for us all the way meen, I hope we somehow manage to finish top 4, this should be our most important objective imo, even if it means crashing out to Barca. We 100 percent need to try our utmost best to finish top 4.

  • Layorh a lot of truth there, but when you say your team “is not good enough “at every presser, you can hardly expect the team to fight for you . We have won only two league games this year (2018) . Reports came yesterday of the hostile atmosphere at Cobham, Conte only speaks to his own staff in Italian. This is not the Conte of last season, and i agree the players are also at fault, many need to go in summer. But for now its about damage control. The only positive thing is we cannot finish below sixth . If he was removed we could still have a good FA cup run and maybe top 4.

  • Tech i would play Morata at Barca, every Madrid fan and his old team mates will be supporting us , i too would favor the 442, Giroud wants to play for the national team . Honestly if we had another manager that was more open i could see us going through, but we have a man who waved a white flag at City during the presser, unlike Wigan who beat us .

  • Michael the thing is players also have to be accountable and keep professional because they are payed to perform. Even if the coach doesn?t think they are good enough, their contract is with CFC. As much as Conte?s tactics and attitude are at fault, so are the players half ass effort. Matter of fact the player power and half ass effort attitude is an ongoing issue here as much as the revolving door of coaches who go bonkers before the sack.

  • Conte is giving certain snowflakes a field day with his recent attitude and his lack luster tactics/ambition vs City. It makes people want to equate that to some of our terrible losses this season against the minnows, or Roma, which is very evident the players sulking was the problem.

  • Pavel i totally agree on the players, moreover many of this lot are serial offenders, and after seeing off two managers now(inc Conte), some of this lot should be shown the door in summer .This was the problem when Jose was shown the door, the players got a free pass, now its happening again, because they got away with it before . Conte also has mentally gone . Its really about trying to salvage what is left .However as we know the problems start at the very top, and you cannot keep putting band aids on to fix things .New manager, good season, season 2 players down tools, manager sacked .We are like Hamsters on a wheel .

  • @Michael I will not start Morata against Barca, the guy is currently lacking confidence and he is just as annoying as it gets. What guys have not noticed is that Morata falling down all the time actually affects our on field performance a lot more than we can imagine. It pretty much kills the teams psych and momentum and also sulks confidence out of the team. The more he falls down, the more disjointed our play gets (just try to observe it). Even though I know he might be the better fit in terms of pure talent, but I will not start him against Barca. He needs to learn how to play men’s football, this is chelsea football club. Maybe he should be given a video compilation of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Drogba and DG19 bomber. There is a way chelsea strikers play football and there is a reason why players like Torres never succeeded here. The team needs to start strong, not start with a sisi who will continue to fall down knowing fully well that lot of decisions will not go for us at Camp nou. We are effectively playing against 13 men. 11 Barca players + “uefalona” refeeree and + the crowd who will do all they can to influence the referee decisions and put him under extra pressure (if you watch Barca’s come back against PSG in the CL last season, you will know what I am talking about). I will start with Giroo to brutally knock over their 2CBs, then introduce Morata on the 60 – 65 minutes depending on how the match unfolds… Yes Giroo is a lot slower, but at least I know what he will bring to the team for sure and he will not disappoint…With Morata, even he does does not know what he will bring. Maybe his anger at not starting the game may make him play like a wounded lion when he eventually comes on LOL

  • Good point Layorh, i thought maybe trying to impress his Madrid buddies would make him man up, but he is more likely to get a red.With Chewy Louis throwing himself down in the penalty box and biscuits acting like he has been shot we have to be really careful .

  • I think the players have been more professional and reasonable than Conte. They’re doing their best on the pitch. How are they supposed to perform well when the manager is undermining their efforts. Did you not read Hazard’s comment that even if the game went on for another 3 hours, he still wouldn’t have touched the ball more due to the overly negative tactics. Do you think footballers are magicians. There’s a reason why top clubs, even with world class players, still hire top coaches and pay them a lot…

  • @Michael, I don’t agree that the players got a free pass after Jose was sacked. We’re not going to just sell the entire squad because Jose decided to go into self-destruct mode. Moreover, most of the players here when Jose got sacked are already gone. Players like JT, Ivanovic, Mikel, Baba Rahman, Oscar, Zouma, Traore, Kenedy, Matic, Costa, Remy, Falcao, etc… are no longer here, thus, I don’t see player power as an excuse here. Plus, we have added about 10 new players to the team we had last season. If a coach is reasonable enough and has good man management skills, he will outlive any player power. Zidane almost got fired, but he’s now gradually turning things around. He was picking silly fights with top players in the team, players who have been at the club before he arrived. Do you think Zidane would still be at Madrid if he was stupidly making players like Ramos and Ronaldo unhappy. Conte’s has only been here for less than 2 years, we’ve already sold top players like Costa and Matic just to please him, so what player power are we talking about. I don’t expect the club to sell all its long standing/committed players just to please a mercenary like Conte…

  • Conte tactics worked well with barca. Truth is our way of playing football suit the barca system for us to hurt them but that system took alot of work from the players. Players must be ready mentally to effect this type of job to the letter. I thought it was a wrong decision to have chosen this system for use against City, reason being we had just had a demoralising loss against united and i doubt the mental preparedness of the players to want to do this type of work at such a low morale. Coupled with the fact City are a more physical side than barca which will make the system harder. We should have approached the barca second leg game same way as the first but after such an abject performance against City, Conte might have to think of another way. I hope he comes up with something that will get the team back on its feet.

  • On paper, i do not see much difference between citey and our team. We should have taken the wounded lion approach by close marking and getting physical afterall we wont play another match till another week. Anyway…i still think a 433 or 352 should do the trick against Barca.


  • Latunvic not defending Conte i am sure his agent is talking to PSG already, but players like Cahill, even though he is not playing, he is still the captain .Its his job to rally the troops, not cry to the media about his England place, next Fabregas walking around the pitch again like he did in 15/16. Pedro has already announced he wants a move to Atleti . Courtois is well documented, his heart is in Madrid .That is four,more than enough to affect a whole team .Imagine we are heading to the Nou camp with a manager and 5 players (inc Hazard) that do not want to be here ?. I do not blame Conte for Costa (who totally went missing, during the Atleti/Barca game )and Matic, both wanted to leave anyway, and Costa before Conte even arrived . Zidane does not have players like Moses to work with luckily for him to be fair, he has a squad full of world class players, proven winners, Hazard, Azpil, Kante, Courtois and Willian are our only WC players , you never see Real players walking around the pitch and not tackling like Fab, and Zidane is still feuding with Asensio and Isco, which may really benefit us if Hazard and Courtois leave .

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