Thomas Tuchel has instigated much change at Chelsea since his arrival a little more than a week ago. The most obvious of which is the shape of the Blues side.
Under Frank Lampard, Chelsea were predominantly set up in a 4-3-3 system, although it was shifted to a 4-2-3-1 in the dying embers of the club legend’s reign at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel quickly did away with that. During his first training session, which took place mere minutes after his appointment was confirmed, the Blues worked on a 3-4-3 formation and that was used against Wolverhampton Wanderers the following day.
It resulted in a 0-0 draw, no great surprise given the lack of preparation time, but worked to far greater effect against Burnley at the weekend, a match which Chelsea won 2-0.
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Tuchel has an abundance of attacking talent at his disposal. Come match-day there will be players left disappointed not to be included in the Blues side.
At the weekend, that was Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccon international was omitted from the squad entirely to face the Clarets, a decision taken to limit the risk of the 27-year-old suffering an injury.
“Hakim has been in a bit of overload for five weeks so he has a bit of a risk getting injured if he plays more than 30 minutes,” Tuchel told Chelsea’s 5th stand app. “For that we decided to [give him] a break now to go out of the risk zone.”
Ziyech should be fit and fresh to take on Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow. And if he starts against Jose Mourinho’s side, he will likely occupy an inside forward role.
The width in Tuchel’s 3-4-3 shape comes from the wing-backs – Callum Hudson-Odoi has particularly impressed – and that leaves those in the attacking line to create overloads centrally.
Ziyech has the intelligence, guile and technique to thrive in such a role, and…