Every football loving fans know that Conte’s change to 3-4-3 last season following a humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of Arsenal was a key factor in Chelsea, inspiring the West London side to lift the Premier League title. But the Conte’s most recent tactical tweak has gone significantly more under the radar.
Chelsea’s win over Atletico Madrid in Wednesday Champions League saw Antonio Conte conveyed in a 3-5-2 formation and not for the first time since resuming the role as the Blue’s coach.
The strategic system is rapidly turning into the club’s go-to option in defining big games where control of the midfield is strictly important and on a close inspection, it seems to tick a lot of boxes.
The new tactical formation came up trumps in Madrid, with Chelsea putting on one of their best performances in Europe in recent memory as they reversed an almost lost match to win Diego Simeone -stubborn side
It is particularly an instance of advancement rather than revolution, all things considered, the 3-4-3 formation was sufficient to win the Premier League title slow and steady last season.
The three centre-backs and the making use of wing-backs continue as before, but the key distinction comes in midfield, where an additional body is incorporated.
Conte’s tactics permit Cesc Fabregas to drop into a profound deep-lying playmaking part, leaving the Spaniard free of defensive responsibilities and enabling him to concentrate on making and dictating the midfield from deep while his colleagues deal with the hard legwork.
In N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko, Chelsea could scarcely have two players more suited to the undertaking.
The duo are loaded with apparently limitless vitality, fit for disturbing the flow of the opposition’s and scratching the ball to spring a counter-attack in a moment.
Bakayoko’s arrival in place of Nemanja Matic has added fresh vim and vigour to the Chelsea midfield, with the France international able to cover the distance at speed and stride forward with the ball in a way that Matic simply could not.
Interestingly, it was Conte who oversaw Andrea Pirlo’s switch to a deeper position and it appears that he may now have a similar move in mind for Fabregas.
Eden Hazard also benefits from the new formation, with him finally being given the free role behind the striker that he has been craving for years.
The Belgian is able to use his creativity and exquisite close control, in tandem with the movement of Alvaro Morata to find gaps in opposition defenses, with the pair appearing to be starting to dovetail in recent weeks.
Should that continue, there will be a lot of very worried defenses in the Premier League and beyond, especially when you consider that the ‘Blues’ also have Pedro and Willian in reserve.
Conte is expected to deploy his side in a 3-5-2 for this weekend’s heavyweight clash against Manchester City, with both sides facing arguably their toughest challenge of the campaign so far.