Antonio Conte appears set to bring about some positive change at Chelsea following the team’s faltering campaign last season and massive expectations have been placed on the Italian tactician going into the new term.
Conte’s preferred tactical approach has sparked a few controversies to say the least, with football supporters across all of Europe eager to see how he utilises the expected 4-2-4 system in the Premier League.
The general perception about the formation is that it leaves teams vulnerable in the middle of the park, hence, there’s no way it will be successful in a competition such as the EPL.
But what most people fail to understand is that the 4-2-4 system can be used as a slightly more fluid version of the classic 4-4-2 tactic, where the wingers play higher up the pitch while central midfielders sit deep in an attempt to control the flow of the game.
Conte’s aim is most likely to get Chelsea playing fast-paced and fluid football which is quite hard to defend against especially with the sort of players within Chelsea’s ranks.
The 4-2-4 tactic features an attacking duo spearheading the attack (probably a combination of Costa and Batshuayi) in addition to a double-act on the flanks (possibly Willian and Hazard) while two players take up the roles in the midfield. It’s important to note that to maintain the right balance; both the midfielders have to have different roles and mentalities with one of them being a box-to-box type of player (Kante or Matic) and the other being more of a playmaker than someone who makes tackles and interceptions ( Oscar, Fabregas or Loftus-Cheek).
By the looks of things, the first team slots in Conte’s formation are quite limited with some players set to be on the fringes this season, though everyone is likely to get a chance to impress before the Italian tactician makes his final decision about which of the players will feature on a consistent basis.
Conte is highly skilled in tactical warfare and is just what Chelsea needs as a result. He tweaks his tactics in a similar vein as Mourinho in a bid to secure results against top opposition. The battle between Conte and Mourinho is in fact one of the most anticipated matches of this season, and it will be interesting to see how Chelsea will shape up when they take on the Red Devils.
Conte was unable to bring in Leonardo Bonucci and by the looks of things, Kalidou Koulibaly’s proposed move to Chelsea is still uncertain at this stage with speculation pointing towards multiple different outcomes.
As things stand, Chelsea’s back-line is expected to be made up of Cahill, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic and Matt Miazga (who could be rotated with John Terry should Chelsea fail to bring in another centre-back).
It’s quite evident that Conte’s 4-2-4 isn’t as complicated as many people think, but Chelsea fans would welcome anything that can lead their team back to top three. A change from the usual 4-2-3-1 employed by the majority of Premier League sides is also likely to be welcomed as a risk worth taking.