This time Blackpool were the visitors to the home of the champions. Their fans, superbly painting Stamford Bridge with an unfamiliar orange, sang heartedly throughout the match but could not help their side's efforts as they became yet another victim of the Chelsea juggernaut succumbing to a 4-0 thrashing.
If the score line had an all too familiar look to it, so did the score sheet. It was Chelsea’s front three once again that did the damage as the in-form duo of Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda were ably assisted on this occasion with the ever alert Salomon Kalou, who came in for the absent Nicolas Anelka.
This Chelsea side is full of fluidity – sheer pace and movement courses through the side as they continue to bamboozle opposition defences, as mentioned after their win over Wigan a few weeks ago. It’s the versatility of this team, however, that gives them an edge over the rest.
Chelsea’s flexibility comes in many forms but is probably best illustrated with the different formations and players that Ancelotti has at his disposal. The Blues have tended to favour the 4-3-2-1 system under the Italian which played a huge role in landing them the double last season but they have also played the 4-4-2 ‘diamond’ with Lampard just behind the front two and the 4-3-3 so brilliantly established and displayed under Jose Mourinho.
The key to these different formations is the adaptability displayed by the players to take advantage of the freedom bestowed upon them by the astute Carlo Ancelotti. This ‘adaptability and freedom’ was summed up articulately by Didier Drogba in the match day programme.
“The fact that this team has won many games 1-0, where we were finding it hard to make chances, and we have also won games easily - scoring five or six goals – gives us confidence in any situation.
“I think it also scares opponents because we feel more freedom going onto the pitch when we know we can adapt to any game,” he said.
In addition to the difference in formations, Chelsea also have a squad blessed with different qualities allied with experience and youth. As shown in most Premier League games this season, Ancelotti has favoured the ‘tried and tested’, players with experience in the form of Drogba, Terry and co.
However, he has also given the likes of the young but extremely talented, Josh McEachran, Gael Kakuta, Daniel Sturridge and Patrick van Aanholt the chance to shine in their recent Champions League win over MSK Zilina.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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