Transformation is imminent at Chelsea with Antonio Conte inheriting the reins at the club this summer. As regards tactics as well as personnel, the squad looks set for a face-lift.
One formation the Italian could look to implement proves the unorthodox 4-2-4 set-up he adopted during his Bari tenure. It certainly appears bold, but may deliver the shake-up the west London side is crying out for.
The Blues have been struggling in the final third this year, so such a swashbuckling approach could be the answer.
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Although Conte proves most famous for his exploits pulling the strings at Juventus, he should equally be commended for his rise through Italian football.
The unusual 4-2-4 saw Bari race to the Serie B title in 2009 by the 46-year-old’s design. Moreover, it was also deployed during his successful spell in charge of Siena between 2010 and 2011.
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Consequently, the Italian has history implementing the system and would thus be more than qualified to transfer it to Chelsea.
It also underlines how much of an innovator Conte proves. In a footballing nation renowned for its defensive style, he unleashed a formation that saw opposition defences bombarded with relentless waves of attack.
While it may not have suited Juventus and the style of talisman Andrea Pirlo, the Blues squad proves far better suited.
In being so boldly attacking, the two holding midfielders must be strong and consistent. If Radja Nainggolan were to join Nemanja Matic over the summer in this position, Chelsea would have two perfect candidates for the job.
Possessing such ruthless defensive midfielders would protect the back-four as the attackers raced forward.
The two wingers would likely prove Eden Hazard and Willian- a pair of athletic and mercurial talents that could work the flanks. Importantly however, both have a keen eye for goal and thus could make the formation worthwhile.
The only major alteration that would need to be made for this formation would be the purchase of a forward. Neither Loic Remy, Alexandre Pato nor Radamel Falcao have been able to vaguely match the goal tally of Diego Costa this season.
Consequently, the Stamford Bridge side would have to invest in a partner for the Spaniard. However, with the club already linked with big names such as Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain, it seems this issue will soon be resolved.
Chelsea certainly possess the players to make the 4-2-4 worth the effort, but why should the Blues implement it?
Firstly, there’s simply nothing like it in the Premier League. As far as predictability goes, opposing teams will likely be bamboozled and caught off guard by the system.
English football is also renowned for its pace and flooding the attack could see Chelsea abuse this. Any team such as Everton that enjoy passing out from the back would see their approach muffled by the high pressing offence.
It’s certainly bold but in an unpredictable league, it’s often a case of who dares wins.
With the right manager to make the transition and with the squad just a couple of signings away from being perfect for it, 4-2-4 could suit Chelsea down to a tee. Besides, after the debacle of this season, Blues fans deserve to be entertained next year and such a lucrative system will guarantee it with goals in abundance.
What formation do you think Chelsea should use next season? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!