- TalkChelsea consider three ways Conte can get his Chelsea side scoring again.
- Blues have found the back of the net just once in their last three games.
- System and personnel changes all proposed as ways to improve fortunes.
In recent weeks, Chelsea have been increasingly wasteful in front of goal. After three 0-0 draws in the space of a week, Antonio Conte will undoubtedly have been looking to see his side comfortably despatch Championship outfit Norwich City in front of his home crowd. However, all did not go to plan for the Premier League champions…
Norwich took the Blues all the way to a penalty shootout. We scored just one goal in 210 minutes of action against a side who sit 13th in England’s second tier. That is, quite frankly, abysmal.
Conte needs to find a spark from somewhere in order to rejuvenated his stagnating side. He may well look to use the transfer market in order to spice things up, but there may be ways that he can halt the slump from within. Here’s a few changes that we believe Conte needs to make in order to improve Chelsea’s fortunes.
Ditch the back three
Switching to a 3-4-3 system was the foundation of Chelsea’s success last term. After doing so following the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates, we equalled the Gunners’ single-season Premier League win streak of 13 games.
However, despite attempting to mix things up in order to become less predictable and experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation, Chelsea are still struggling.
Alvaro Morata is not the dominant force upfront that Diego Costa was and Eden Hazard does not have the physical attributes to help fill the void. Our midfield also lacks any real creativity, bar Cesc Fabregas. We are frequently seeing Tiemoue Bakayoko or Danny Drinkwater looking sideways or backwards rather than searching for an incisive forward pass.
The players Conte has at his disposal appear to better suit an archetypal 4-3-3 setup. We could see a midfield held by N’Golo Kante with Fabregas and Barkley either side. Fabregas would act as the creator, a la Michael Ballack, Barkley could play the Frank Lampard box-to-box role, and Kante could look to replicate compatriot Claude Makelele.
With Hazard on the left-flank and any of Willian, Pedro or Charly Musonda on the right, Morata would hopefully be provided with better service from the wings and midfield. This could be the way to get us scoring again.
Trust the youngsters
Musonda has already gone a long way to proving he is ready for a genuine chance in Conte’s side. He marked his first start for Chelsea with a goal against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. He has since struggled with injuries, but when fit and firing he deserves a shot to impress.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has also been on fire for the Chelsea youth team. He is a threat from virtually any position in the opposition’s final third. He is full of confidence and would grab a chance in the first-team with both hands. It’s hard to believe that he could do any worse than Michy Batshuayi or Alvaro Morata right now – let’s give him a chance.
Not to mention Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham out on loan. Chelsea drafted in both Drinkwater and Bakayoko in the summer, Loftus-Cheek has outperformed the both of them during his first season as a regular starter in the Premier League. On Thursday night the Telegraph linked us with a move for 36-year-old Stoke City striker Peter Crouch. What sort of message does that send to Abraham?
Focus on Hazard
Eden Hazard is, by some distance, our best player. He is the man who continually finds that extra 10% within himself to drag us through difficult moments. Hazard has been influential in two Premier League title triumphs since his arrived on these shores in the summer of 2012. If we are going to be successful this season, he will need to be at his very best.
Hazard has been most dangerous during his time in the Premier League out wide. When he is able to isolate his opposing full-back, there’s only going to be one winner. We need to get him back into the areas he is most dangerous in. As mentioned previously, let’s push him out wide in a 4-3-3, or similar, system, let’s get him scoring again.
Hazard had his highest scoring Premier League season last time around from out wide. Having him in central areas is beneficial when his teammates are on song and linking with him efficiently, but that is not the case at the moment.
We need Hazard to be driving at defences and doing what he does best, at least until the rest of our attack are able to rediscover their form. Conte has all the tools to fix this mess without looking to the transfer market, but he needs to act, and fast.