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As there seems to be no page dedicated to formations, I thought I would set one up as they appear to pop up all over the place otherwise. Anyway, when looking at our squad for the upcoming season: 

GK - Kepa, Willy, Cumming

CB - Luiz, Rudi, Zouma, Christensen 

FB - Dave, Zappa, James, Alonso, Emerson 

CM - Kante, Jorgi, Kovacic, Barkley, RLC, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Mount

AM - Willian, Pedro, CHO, Pulisic, Kenedy

CF - Giroud, Bats, Tammy

The biggest problem is goals. As the only players you can see definitively getting more than 10 goals each are; Pedro and Willian - however, even then Willian would be have to hit one of his best seasons for us. That for me means we could end up with only 50 goals scored in the league campaign. For me, that leaves us with having to go for a non-lose attitude. As a result, I feel we should go to a 532 as this would allow us the most defensive stability, it would also allow Alonso to become an offensive weapon again and Luiz would have the protection he needs to play his expansive style. Additionally, with Zappa and James at RWB they could also be told to be more direct than when we saw a similar formation under Conte as this would allow the CF to have more crosses into the box. 

Kepa 

Zappa Dave Luiz Christensen Alonso 

Jorgi

Kante Kovacic 

No.10 Giroud 

Personally, I am not sold on any 4 at the back formation, especially with Rudi out, as:

a) Zouma cannot pass whatsoever so will get the Cahill treatment of everyone pressing his out ball so he either lumps it away or gives to it someone who will have to try and protect the ball to a high standard. However, when it comes to defending he is better than Christ and Luiz so would probably have to play.

b) Luiz, Dave and Alonso are not great in such a formation so we do not get the best out of them. 

c) Even in a 442 or 433 the CM's and AM's are still not going to score many, by this I mean 15+ goals. 

d) If we go down a 442 diamond formation we will be very very narrow and easy to defend against and open to the counter. 

 

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Jasonb   

We might go as a 4-2-3-1, with wide attackers with a goal minded midfield player (Mount) behind a lone striker such as Abraham or Giroud. 

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bert19   

Personally, with everyone fit, I wouldn't mind seeing 4-2-1-3 

Kepa 

Azpilicueta  Rudiger  Luiz  Alonso

Kante  Jorginho/Kovacic

RLC 

Pulisic  Giroud  CHO 

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Jasonb   

I would think we will start with Mount as an attacking Midfielder with the likelihood of RLC replacing him later in the season.

We saw last season that Jorginho, Kante and Kovacic gives us too little goal threat. 

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Sciatika   

I think we will go four at the back and the formations in front to be fairly flexible. I think we will start with two in front of the defence but pushed a little further up the field and with one or other slightly in advance. I think the front four will operate as a 3-1 but with the wide players advancing or retreating depending on whether we have possession or we are playing a more compact, defensive style. So, I imagine use playing 4-2-3-1 which can morph to 4-1-4-1 to 4-1-2-3. Sometimes, when we are chasing a game we may go to a diamond 4-4-2. I would also expect to see quite a lot of lateral changes in the forward line (e.g. Pusilic playing on the left and then swapping with Willan on the right. I can also see the frontman dropping deep and the #10 moving up into the box. In all cases the purpose if to stretch opposition defences to make space. This is because I think we will be looking to play through the middle.

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paulw66   
3 minutes ago, Martin1905 said:

Anything but 5 at the back.

6?

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1 hour ago, Sciatika said:

I think we will go four at the back and the formations in front to be fairly flexible. I think we will start with two in front of the defence but pushed a little further up the field and with one or other slightly in advance. I think the front four will operate as a 3-1 but with the wide players advancing or retreating depending on whether we have possession or we are playing a more compact, defensive style. So, I imagine use playing 4-2-3-1 which can morph to 4-1-4-1 to 4-1-2-3. Sometimes, when we are chasing a game we may go to a diamond 4-4-2. I would also expect to see quite a lot of lateral changes in the forward line (e.g. Pusilic playing on the left and then swapping with Willan on the right. I can also see the frontman dropping deep and the #10 moving up into the box. In all cases the purpose if to stretch opposition defences to make space. This is because I think we will be looking to play through the middle.

This is what worries me. Playing through the middle in the PL is very tough unless you have amazing AM's and a clinical CF, neither of which we have, as all teams will sit two banks of four outside their box and try and counter us with the two up top with our lack of pace back there. This goes double as, with a back four Luiz is liable to get pulled out of position and Dave is still likely to start at RB which gives us no outlet on the right. As for the left Alonso is a proven goal scorer/assist maker as a LWB but bang average at LB. Emerson is a bit better at LB but isn't exactly amazing. Additionally, if you put Zouma in to add more pace, other teams will just pull a Cahill on him and let him have the ball and press all his out balls so he either has to lay it off dangerously or lump it out. Further to this, he is not the greatest reader of the game so is also liable to get pulled out of position, which then means he has to pull off 'recovery' tackles which I am wary of in the new VAR system.

Do not get me wrong, I am not a massive fan of a back five but with it allowing us to have Alonso play his best position, Dave to slip back into rcb, where he is probably best and then allow us to have either Zappa or James push up at get balls into Giroud, I personally think it is our best option both offensively and defensively. With 442/4231/4141 I just do not see who is unlocking the other teams defenses or getting us goals.

Edited by Conte Kante

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Alonso is not a WB.  Any more than Ballack was a box to box midfielder.  Ballack was box or box, and Alonso is the same.  Quite decent at either end of the pitch but not a player to be quantum leaping from one end to the other every few seconds (Essien, Kante, Ashley Cole, even Moses).  Nor does he have the fine judgement that Ivanovic had about where exactly to stand at any moment.  Alonso was much better at WB in 16/17 than as FB in 18/19.  But then he was just as bad in 17/18 as 18/19.

So we don't have the option of 352 or 343 as "3 at back" is usually played.  We don't even have the Conte version of 3CBs, 1 WB (Moses) and one FB who is often pushed forward.  Our current option would be 3CBs and 2FBs, with either or both FB sometimes pushed forward.  532 or 532.

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chelboy   

I worry a bit with the 4231 because it is best suited for sitting back and counter attacking. But we seem to want to play high pressing attacking football. I think in the long run we will adapt to a 433 especially when RLC is back.

442 diamond is an interesting one because with the right personal you could also switch it to a flat 442. For example if Pulisic and Mount were playing Cam and LCM you could switch them to LM and RM if we become to narrow. Full backs are very important to that formation because they would need to stay very wide. It is best suited to Zappa and Emerson. Possibly James too. These are the best full backs at making the pitch wide. 

5 at the back is not the worst formation but  I don’t  think we have good enough wing backs to really benefit from it. Alonso scored goals but I felt he lacked some things needed for that position . He is a player who lacks the pace and directness of a wide player but has the goal scoring awareness and instincts of a striker. Very awkward that he ended up being a LB. Should have been a supporting striker or something else. 5 at the back is mostly useful when we need to park the bus. Against the average team it should  be a back 4. 

 

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