Last season, Frank Lampard deployed a 3-4-3 system in the clubs biggest games such as the FA cup semi-final and final, both games against Tottenham and the final two league games that secured champions league qualification. The system brought some of the blues best performances of the season, both games against Spurs and Wolves and the FA cup semi against Manchester United, but, it also had its fair share of poor performances such as Southampton at home and Arsenal away until it was changed. With Chelsea signing so many attacking talents this season, will playing five defenders still be a good option for Frank’s blues or would it hamper them throughout the campaign.
Due to the lack of sales this summer, Chelsea have 5 first team centre backs in the squad with Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori still at the club with the option to use Cesar Azpilicueta and new youngster Xavier Mbuyamba as well. This would make the system easy enough to implement with many of the defenders comfortable with the formation and the availability to rotate if needed. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta played his best football in a Chelsea shirt in this system under the stewardship of Antonio Conte and it could be an effective way of getting him and Reece James in the same team, which Frank would want to do as he rates both very highly. However, only 3 of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount can be played rather than 4 or 5 in the four at the back formations that Lampard regularly deploys.
The 3-4-3 was brought in last season to help with Chelsea’s defensive issues, but, this season they seem to be a lot better with the addition of defensive coaches and structure. This is why I don’t think deploying this system in the future will be any benefit for Chelsea going forward. This is due to the attacking approach we want to see as a fan base and a club. The development of the attacking talents is also crucial for Chelsea’s future and having expansive 4 at the back systems will allow them to flourish and play in their more natural positions. However, Lampard may use it now and again if he sees that it will produce the result he wants but that won’t happen more than 2 or 3 times this season.