After a disastrous opening day, Chelsea will desperately be looking to put things right this weekend against last year’s runner-up Tottenham. The monumental clash comes so early in the season as every team is still adjusting to the new climate of the league. The bout has come particularly early for Chelsea as they’re facing an injury crisis.
First team members like; Timeoue Bakayoko, Pedro, Eden Hazard are all out injured, on top of that, Gary Cahill and Cesc Fàbregas are now suspended due to their red cards last weekend. Let’s not forget that Diego Costa is refusing to play for the Blues and that Nemanja Matić was sold behind Conte’s back. Something is happening at Chelsea, and a defeat at Wembley could spell catastrophe at the Bridge.
Here’s how Chelsea could tactically approach Tottenham.
Revert to a 4-2-3-1
In times of crisis, it’s always best to revert to basics. Regardless, Chelsea do not have enough players to fill up their regular 3-4-3, as the personnel is not available. A 4-2-3-1 would allow the Blues to try and overload Tottenham’s 3-4-3 through the middle, as well as the flanks. This system would also allow both Michi Batshauyi and Alvaro Morata to play together.
The change of tactics would perhaps throw Mauricio Pochettino off his game as I’m sure he’d be preparing to go man for man with Chelsea’s back three again. Four at the back gives Chelsea the option of having a spare man in the build-up from the back, thus allowing them to pass around Tottenham’s high press.
Sit deep and counter-attack
Tottenham operate best when there’s space to exploit, they overload teams and force them into making mistakes. If Conte’s men were to figuratively park the bus and hit on the counter, they could damage Tottenham at their new home ground.
Wembley is considerably wider in dimensions than White Hart Lane, meaning Tottenham’s high press will now leave more space to exploit behind them. This will allow the likes of Willian & co. to counter Pochettino’s men when they overcompensate in the initial press.
Spurs are a team that play with intensity at a fast pace, they go at teams at a 100mph in the first 20 minutes, hoping for a collapse. If Chelsea were to stand firm and withstand the initial onslaught, they could then pick holes in a weary Tottenham side.
With Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier not available, Spurs are particularly weakened in their full-back areas, meaning Chelsea should double up in those areas. A focus on Chelsea creating chances from the wide areas significantly weakens Tottenham’s ability to commit down the flanks like they usually do.
All in all, this will be a difficult game for Chelsea to approach on a normal day, let alone with all the injuries & suspensions they have. Antonio Conte must find a way first to neutralise Tottenham’s strengths while simultaneously exposing their weaknesses. Only a tactical masterclass from the Italian will be enough to get any points from this Sunday’s 4’o’clock kick-off.