Table-topping Chelsea showing early title credentials
It has not taken Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel long to right the ship at Stamford Bridge and push the club far beyond the level found under former midfield icon Frank Lampard in just a little over half a season.
Fresh off a top-four finish last term and an unexpected Champions League win against Premier League rivals (and Sunday opponent) Manchester City, Chelsea have once again strengthened in the summer transfer window and entered the 2021-22 campaign as arguably the favorite to go on and top the league come May.
Thus far that prediction is proving to be correct as the Blues currently sit at the Premier League summit, level on 13-points with both Liverpool and Manchester United while having the joint-top goal difference (+11). Tuchel’s men have allowed just a single goal across their opening five fixtures as well, a feat only equaled by City and the Reds, which sets up a massive 6-point clash that could see Chelsea push ahead of Pep Guardiola early on in the campaign while keeping pace with their closest rivals in the table.
Back under the lights in SW6 tonight! 🌌 pic.twitter.com/X3q6DBb9Io
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 22, 2021
As Chelsea are set to clash with Aston Villa in the third round of the Carabao Cup tonight, the question of how Tuchel might deploy his troops to bag all three points at Stamford Bridge at lunchtime on Saturday is already on the minds of many. Here are three possibilities.
The Tuchel go-to
The tried and tested 3-4-2-1 that has been on full display in every single Chelsea fixture this season, this is a deployment that is hard to argue against given the results it has garnered since the German tactician has taken up the Stamford Bridge touchline. The only question could come by way of whether N’Golo Kanté or Mateo Kovačić would start, but this XI would hardly shock anyone when the team sheets are released.
Chelsea firepower on full display
Bold, and meant to push City early and control proceedings on the scoreboard, there is a massive element of risk to this and the likelihood that Tuchel would put faith in it is rather slim. But the potential to tap into the hopeful budding understanding between Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner would be at the heart of this deployment in a bid to hit City on the break while offering multiple creative avenues through Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, or the ability to bypass midfield via Jorginho or a diagonal ball from one of the wing-backs.
A conservative Chelsea approach
Maybe a bit too conservative for even a pro-active tactician like Tuchel, this deployment would look to really hunker down the center of the park and disrupt City’s ability to operate in central areas while highlighting the box-to-box capabilities of both N’Golo Kanté and Mateo Kovačić. The defensive stability offered by Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta would hopefully off-set City’s penchant for focusing on wide areas to create chances.
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