Antonio Conte led Chelsea to the Premier League title in his first season in England, and he will be hoping to execute a perfect title defence in the 2017/18 season.
They set a new trend in English football last term as they chose to play three at the back with two energetic wing-backs. Conte decided to play with three central defenders after Chelsea were embarrassingly beaten 3-0 away at Arsenal.
This saw Chelsea go on a winning run of 11 games, which made them the first team in the Premier League era to win 9 or more consecutive games on five separate occasions.
Their competitive season kicked off on Sunday with their FA Community Shield defeat against Arsenal on Sunday at Wembley.
They have made three big signings so far this summer: Antonio Rudiger (from AS Roma), Tiemoué Bakayoko (AS Monaco) and Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) and each of the acquisitions could make their competitive debuts for the Blues after featuring during pre-season.
Morata will be expected to play a large part in Chelsea’s success this season, especially if they want to retain their league title. But Michy Batshuayi is likely to play more than the 236 minutes he managed last term.
Eden Hazard will feature heavily this season as well and could be used on either wing or behind the striker. The Belgian mostly appeared on the flanks in 16/17 with Pedro on the opposite wing, either side of a certain Diego Costa, who is in the process of moving away from Chelsea.
Nemanja Matic and N’Golo Kante occupied the two central midfield spots. The departure of Matic to Manchester United has already been covered by the arrival of Bakayoko. Cesc Fabregas will be knocking on the manager’s door demanding more appearances after rarely featuring in the last 12 months, and he could form part of a three-man midfield.
Support was provided on the wings by Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses in the wing-back roles but the marauding full-backs may no longer be required for the London side. Without these, it gives a wider scope for Conte to alter the formation.
In my opinion, it would be best if Antonio Conte chose to set his Chelsea side up in a 4-3-3 or a 4-3-2-1 formation. Thibaut Courtois is undoubtedly the best goalkeeper at the club and will definitely play number one.
It is understood that the Italian boss is still looking for a new left-back, but Alonso will fill that spot for the time being while David Luiz and Gary Cahill should take the two centre-back spots. Cesar Azpilicueta should get his right-back role back after a season at centre-back.
Fabregas, Bakayoko and Kante should be part of Chelsea’s three-man midfield with a perfect mixture of pace, power and precision. Then the attack should be made up of Hazard, Morata and Pedro who are looking to fire their side to yet another Premier League trophy.