Chelsea have an embarrassment of attacking riches at their disposal following a hugely productive summer transfer window which saw three attack-minded stars join the ranks at Stamford Bridge.
It is inevitably taking boss Frank Lampard some time to fall upon a system and attacking shape that works best for the Blues and gets the most out of their forward players.
Last season, Christian Pulisic burst onto the scene at the club with his dynamism, directness, skill and incisiveness in the final third of the pitch. He got into double figures for goals – a particularly impressive figure as his participation was limited by injuries, limiting him to starting just half of the Premier League games.
Pulisic is a versatile player who is capable of playing in a fluid attacking system, but his success last season came on the left of a front three which often had one of Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud in the middle and Willian on the right.
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Much has changed this campaign with Willian now at Arsenal and both Giroud and Abraham also having to contend with the arrival of Timo Werner, while Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech are also being integrated into an attacking system. Then there are the contributions of Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi to factor in.
Not only has it been a question of finding the right combination of playing personnel – several signings were not made with a long-term vision or strategy in place, but rather as the players represented unique market opportunities – but also finding the right shape.
As per Whoscored.com, a 4-2-3-1 has been used four times this season, while 3-4-1-2 and 4-2-2-2 have also been deployed by Lampard. However, they have slowly reverted back to their 4-3-3 shape which was preferred last season – which has been started on five occasions, including in the comfortable victory over Sheffield United last time out.