branislav ivanovic, liverpool
Two goal Branislav Ivanovic

As Chelsea fanatics, we all have our views and opinions. They’re not always going to be the same, and we’re always going to have debates on the matter. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we say or think, the decisions lie with Roberto Di Matteo and his staff, he picks the squad, and he chooses the tactics.

Having said that, I thought it would be really interesting to get the fans view on a subject that is probably the most debated between fans. We’ve all sat for hours on end playing games like FIFA and Football Manager, attempting to guide our Chelsea side to Premier League and European glory, we’ll all flirt with different tactics, try and sign Messi, put the club in to millions of pounds worth of debt, end up getting sacked, and then managing Carlisle!

It’s not easy to manage a football club, especially one that has so many expectations and ambitions. The pressure must be phenomenal, Chelsea go through managers like they do hot dinners at the moment, so you must always be on edge. With that in mind, with the current crop of players we have, if the Premier League started tomorrow, what formation and tactics would you use?

We asked this question to a few of our readers on Twitter, and here are the responses –

Darren Gormley (@Pateramore) has a very interesting idea here. He decided to roll with a 5-3-1-1 formation using wingbacks. He’d have the following line up – Cech in goal, 3 central defenders of Luiz, Cahill and Terry, two wingbacks of Cole and Ramires, Mikel and Lampard in the middle, with Mata just ahead, a free role for Hazard in the hole, and Torres up front. I personally like the look of this formation, it will allow for David Luiz and Ashley Cole to push forward more whilst leaving protection behind them with Mikel, Terry and Cahill. It will also be a quick, effective counter attacking team, and Hazard will enjoy a free role, as will Mata.

Ellis Farley (@ellisfarley) would prefer to go with Di Matteo’s favoured formation of 4-2-3-1. Again, I do like the formation and it would work, the only danger is that it might mean some of our creative players being stuck out wide, and not making the most of their abilities. Ellis would like to see – Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz and Cole at the back, Mikel and Lampard playing the deeper central roles, Hazard just in front in the hole, Ramires on the right wing, Mata on the left, with Torres up top. This is quite a popular formation, and is the one that Robbie will most likely use.

Mata and Torres
Mata and Torres

Another option using the same formation has been bought to our attention via Niall McCreanor (@Niall_mcC_97). He would go with Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole, with Ramires and Lampard in the centre, Hazard in the hole, using Marin and Mata on the wings, with Torres up front. This would mean either Ramires or Lampard playing in the holding role. You all know that I believe Lampard can be adapted to that role this season, with Ramires doing his running just in front of him, that could be successful. This formation also see’s a starting role for Marko Marin, which I also agree with, he’s far too good to sit the bench.

If you have read my recent article entitled ‘David Luiz – time to re-invent his position’ (link here – /?p=14682) then you will see how keen I am to get David Luiz playing in the holding role, so I was delighted to see this formation from George S (@eidur) who again wants to see 4-2-3-1, but with a slightly different line up – Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Luiz holding, with Lampard ahead, Ramires and Hazard wide, Mata in the hole, with Torres up front. I totally agree with Luiz in the holding role, the interesting debate seems to be which one out of Mata and Hazard, should play in the hole?

Torres9_S1G (@Torresfactss9), hyacinth amapadu (@joe8ones), .(Deif_CFC), ChelseaFanSA (@ChelseaFanSA), and chelseaextra (@chelseaextra) all chose the 4-2-3-1 formation using similar players, the debate remaining who would be the main centre backs out of Luiz, Cahill and Terry, and who would play the central attacking role out of Mata and Hazard.

Joe Hunter (@Joe_Hunter) has provided us with a slightly different line up going for 4-1-3-1-1 – Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Mikel as the lone holding role, Ramires, Lampard and Mata in midfield, with Hazard in the hole, and Torres up front. This is using a more compact version of the 4-2-3-1, and could possibly beused to play against more attacking teams.

Jordan Drury (@jordan_drury) would like to see us playing ‘The Spanish way’ with no centre forward. He says he wants to see a 4-6-0 formation using – Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Cole, Mikel and Lampard holding, with Ramires, Hazard, Mata and Sturridge in front of them inter-changing and floating in free roles, with I assume Hazard being the most advanced. It would have to be one brave manager to use that formation with Chelsea, but I’m always interested in the ambitious!

AVB, Petr Cech, Everton
Petr Cech, the only guaranteed starter?

Finally, Blue Lantern (@BlueLantern4) would use a 4-1-2-3 formation, which is different to the pre-mentioned. Another interesting one this, he’d go for – Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Luiz, Cole, Mikel holding, Mata and Hazard in front, Marin and De Bruyne out wide, with Torres up front. Initially to me, that looks very attacking and could work against lower opposition, but it could be dangerous against the better sides. It is refreshing to see someone picking De Bruyne though.

To conclude this report, I think it is safe to say that the only player guaranteed to start currently would be Petr Cech! I believe the formation will be 4-2-3-1 will be used, as agreed by the majority. In my opinion it should be Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Luiz and Lampard/Ramires deeper, Marin and Mata on the wings, Hazard in the hole, with Torres up front. But at the same time, I do like the idea of freeing up both Mata and Hazard, allowing them to create and attack. If we weren’t to use 4-2-3-1, I would definitely use Darren’s formation, the first one we covered, it really appeals to me the more I think about it, and could produce a good outlook for us with different options.

The fact of the matter is, things could change over night. We are heavily linked with Oscar, Schurrle, Maicon and Hulk at current, so if any of those do sign with us, I’m sure the formation and line-up will change again. One thing for sure is, Roberto Di Matteo has the best possible headache to deal with already, a hugely talented bunch of players who will all want to play as much as possible, and this season we will see an attacking, exciting Chelsea team, that’s one thing I am sure of.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

Simon Phillips – News Editor

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