Antonio Conte could use a 3-5-2 formation at Chelsea without signing anyone

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Antonio Conte is expected to ring the changes at Chelsea once he takes over during the summer with tactics being near the top of the agenda leading up to his arrival.

The 46-year-old has developed a reputation for his tactical ingenuity, leaving Blues supports dreaming of the all-conquering formations he might come up with.

However, it could well be a simple matter of Conte tracing the famed 3-5-2 system he used at Juventus onto the whiteboard at Stamford Bridge.

Numerous members of the exisiting Chelsea squad are capable of filling the specialist roles within Conte's revered formation, so here is one way he could line up his Chelsea team next season.


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Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois

Courtois is all but certain to retain his first-choice status between the sticks under Conte next season.

That is, unless the Belgian elects to follow up his reported interest in leaving for Real Madrid during the summer.

Centre-back: Kurt Zouma

It’s hard to disagree Zouma had been Chelsea’s best defender this term until a serious knee injury cut short his breakthrough campaign in February.

The 21-year-old is prone to the odd lapse in concentration, but Conte will greatly value the brute strength and handy recovery speed he would bring to his three-man defence.

Centre-back: Branislav Ivanovic

Despite an upturn in his form during the second half of the campaign, Ivanovic clearly no longer has the legs to carry out the attacking and defensive duties of a swashbuckling right-back.

However, the Serb remains a world-class player in the heart of defence and would thrive having the insurance of two athletic colleagues alongside him.

Centre-back: Gary Cahill

Completing the back three, Cahill is comfortable on the ball and capable of driving into midfield and executing splitting passes.

The England international would be a crucial member of Conte’s 3-5-2 system, providing an alternative source to launch attacks from deep if the primary creator in midfield is man-marked.

Right wing-back: Juan Caudrado

Cuadrado has rediscovered his best form playing on the wing for Juventus this season, but he may land himself a starting berth as a wing-back if Conte is to translate his trusted formation from Turin to London.

The 27-year-old has previously operated in similar roles for Udinese and Fiorentina, utilising his speed, energy and crossing ability to great effect at both ends of the pitch.

Left wing-back: Baba Rahman

Like his Colombian teammate, Rahman has all the makings of an attacking wing-back: pace, stamina and a wicked left-foot delivery.

The former Augsburg defender earned a reputation in the Bundesliga for his charging runs into opposition territory, and would flourish if he is given license to do the same under Conte.

Centre midfield: Cesc Fabregas

Fabregas would play the instrumental ‘Pirlo role’ that made Juventus tick throughout their three title-winning campaigns under Conte between 2011 and 2014.

Similar to the Milan and Bianconeri architect, Fabregas would need the muscle of two hard-working and imposing teammates to protect him while he operates as the Blues’ chief creator from a deep-lying role.

Centre midfield: Nemanja Matic

Speaking of powerful midfielders, Matic would be the ball-winning general tasked with relieving Fabregas of enough defensive responsibility to allow him the freedom to launch Chelsea attacks.

The former Benfica anchorman is quite handy with the ball himself, but his primary aim would be to break up play and get up and down the pitch in an effort to free up space for his more inventive teammate.

Centre midfield: Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Conte will demand tireless workers all over the pitch, and nowhere more than in the heart of midfield. While Oscar is certainly willing to put in a shift, he lacks the stature and defensive prowess to compete in the hustle and bustle of a Premier League midfield.

Loftus-Cheek, on the other hand, has proven he can hold his own at the highest level in terms of fitness, strength and skill despite having less than 15 top-flight appearances under his belt.

The 20-year-old is considered a future star around Stamford Bridge, and would excel in a role that allows him to combine graft and craft in central areas.

Second Striker: Eden Hazard

Without traditional wingers, the 3-5-2 formation cannot accomodate Hazard in his favoured wide-left position.

But assuming he rediscovers his talents next season, the Belgian could instead be deployed behind a main striker in a role he often carried out with huge success during his time at Lille, setting up teammates and finding the net himself at will.

The position change would certainly invite closer attention from opposition defenders, but his elusive style and ability to beat markers in tight spaces is sometimes impossible to contain.

Striker: Diego Costa

Unless Conte sees fit to bring another top-class forward to Stamford Bridge, the fiery Spaniard should resume his duties as the Blues’ number one in attack next term.

Costa, a useful striker for any manager, is something of a hybrid; he can act as a poacher and seek to get in behind defences, or play with his back to goal and bring teammates into play like a conventional target man.

Should Chelsea play in a 3-5-2 formation next season? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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