The esteemed Mr. Scolari has encouraged his players to “find their creative spark”. A 2-nil win over a dismal West Brom and a somewhat unfortunate 2-2 draw with Fulham may have resulted from Big Phil’s slight alteration in formation, but certainly it is time for LFS to be bold himself.
It is time for Chelsea to roll the dice and step out on the field in a 3-5-2. Undoubtedly, Phil is more than familiar with the intricacies of Latin America’s favorite formation. A recent case in point would be the Copa Sudamericana title won by Internacional FC, using the 3-5-2.
At this point in the Premier League season, Chelsea has become far too predictable. With just a few notable exceptions, the quality of play has gone downhill since the opening day drubbing of Portsmouth. Opposition teams have shown a not-so surprising ability to stifle Chelsea’s tactics. Time to try something new to catch teams on the back foot; here’s a few reasons to roll out the 3-5-2:
- For crying out loud, get two forwards on the field. Yes, Drogba has the ability to hold the ball when he’s up front and he’s more than a handful for two central defenders. Perfect opportunity for Anelka to sulk around and pop up unexpectedly, running with pace at defenders when he manages to pick up the ball in open areas. Both Joe Cole and Kalou also fit the bill – able to play on the left or right and in dire need of having their creativity unleashed.
- Playing two forwards will also allow the attack to create more decisive and dynamic forward movement as the wide players (Cole and Bosingwa) deliver the ball from the sidelines. The number of crosses Bosingwa has sent in unmet by Anelka this season is staggering – we need players attacking those crosses with commitment and pace.
- A 3-5-2 still allows us to play three central midfielders; Mikel has been Chelsea’s most consistent player this season and can anchor a midfield triangle more than competently. Allow Lamps, Deco, and Ballack to fight it out for the two attacking midfield spots. Frankly, the three are appearing complacent and need some competitive fire stoked under their rear-ends. The “untouchable” concept needs to go! It will also give the central midfielders a little more space to dribble, as Big Phil is looking for. A healthy Essien will make the midfield even more dynamic.
- Bosingwa and Ashley Cole will be given the freedom to play as true wingers in a 3-5-2. Free license to roam the sidelines with pace will cause massive concern from opposition defenders, particularly with both Anelka and Drogba already pestering the defense. When Chelsea does go a goal or two up, Bosingwa and Cole can drop back into defense and seal things up. And like the midfielders, this allows Phil to throw Bridge and Malouda in to compete for a spot.
- Lastly, why is English football so stuck on the four-man defense? Carvalho’s speed and game-reading ability at sweeper, and Terry and Alex (or Ivanovic) at the stopper positions would be a handful for any attack, particularly a team with one forward as most do when they come to Stamford Bridge. Bosingwa and Cole have more than enough mobility to get back and help, as they have shown in the traditional 4-4-2 formation.
It seems as though even the Chelsea-haters find it hard to dislike Mr. Scolari, but many Chelsea fans are growing impatient with the season’s progress. The English game is not going to adapt to Mr. Scolari, he will need to adapt his continental style to the English game, and as Alex Ferguson has shown time and time again, a manager needs to adapt formations to his opponents and develop varying tactics to keep his opponents off-guard and unbalanced.
Time to be creative Big Phil, get some English guts and throw your world-class stars out in a 3-5-2!