Chelsea face Wolves away on Sunday afternoon in the 1pm kick off, and it’s a game that is really there to be attacked from the off and for Chelsea to go on the front foot.
We have absolutely bossed our last two games, with 78% possession against Newcastle, and the same percentage against Sheffield United.
Wolves are unlikely going to be matching up to Chelsea’s possession, but they have certainly been a side who do like to try and be on the ball as much as they can be, and this might open the game up for Chelsea.
In our last game we all saw how much of a difference that natural full backs made to our performance and the end result. I fully believe that it was Malo Gusto who was the key to us getting the win on Tuesday night.
I understand why Pochettino has been going with centre backs as full backs though. With Levi Colwill, I simply think it’s a case of just wanting to have him on the pitch but also wanting to start both Thiago Silva and Benoit Badiashile, and also highly favouring Axel Disasi.
The other reason is because he wants height all overt the pitch as well as physicality.
Ian Maatsen is very small, and Malo Gusto is not the tallest. Gusto has also been injured.
But with all that said, against Wolves, I fully believe we should take the game to them by using natural full backs. I think our attack needs it to be cut-throat. If you look at all the top sides, they will utilise full backs as attackers, and that’s what we have been missing by using centre backs there.
It presents a risk of course of being a bit more open to the counter attack or losing numbers from the back line, but that’s why the 4-2-3-1 setup using a double pivot to cover full backs bombing forward, can really be the answer.
Some of you have suggested we use wingbacks and a back three whilst we have the injuries, and that’s something I am not against as a temporary measure either. I can really see the pros to that as well.
I’d love to see this against Wolves (I know we wont):
This could also work in a 3-5-2 and adding an extra centre back.
I think Armando Broja is MUCH better than what we have seen in the last few games and even he has admitted that. But he still brings ball retention in advanced areas and also a physical presence in the box. He’s a must start for me.
Nicolas Jackson I have always said would be much better as a wide or second striker, so give him that role and lets see what he can do coming in off the left a bit, and linking with Mykhailo Mudryk. This would also free up space for Mudryk to operate in and really bamboozle the opposition (they’d have no idea who to mark).
Cole Palmer on the right but floating inside. Both Palmer and Mudryk would need to be disciplined and defensively aware as well, and offer cover to the full backs.
Full backs overlapping and bombing up and down gives us more of an attacking threat, more options, crosses into the box for TWO strikers, and the ability to overload when Wolves switch to a low-block.
Conor Gallagher and Moises Caicedo would be our two most important players in this setup (Enzo Fernandez appears to be injured) and would have to have their minds on the defensive side first and foremost. If they are not disciplined and prepared to cover the full backs, then it could go very wrong. But they’ve both got that in their locker, without a doubt. Two top ball winners and interceptors in there.
Benoit Badiashile starts ahead of Levi Colwill just for his height, and I just don’t think you can take Thiago Silva out of this team yet as he continues to be one of our better and most consistent performers, and his influence is needed.
Raheem Sterling comes out for me because he’s been poor, and very frustrating. Earlier in the season he was very good, and I will always give props when they deserve it as I did at the time. But his recent performances really do need to see him dropped in my view.
Mudryk is another must-start as we start to see a much more confident player, so we need to keep that momentum going for him.
I just think we need to go there on the front foot and with confidence now, it’s really the best way to approach this game. Use our momentum, setup in an offensive way, and lets see what we can do. If we get one or two early goals then we can switch the formation and personnel if needed.
I’m also not saying we should setup like this every game, but against Wolves, a team who just lost 3-0 to West Ham and are lower than us in the league, we should be looking to take the game to them and be devastating in attack.
I’ve also just deeped it that Tuesday night was the first time Pochettino has ever picked Maatsen, a natural left back who got player of the league last season playing as a left back, AT left back!! Wow.