Chelsea FC: How Blues Can Get the Best out of Eden Hazard
Two things have become almost a guarantee at Chelsea in recent years; a change in manager and a change in players.
The revolving door on the manager's office at Stamford Bridge has forced the squad into changing their playing style on several occasions.
This season has started in much the same fashion, with a different manager to the one that started last season and new players already purchased.
The most high-profile of these signings so far is Eden Hazard, the 21-year-old Belgian winger.
After impressing in his last few seasons at French club Lille, he has been tipped to be one of the best players in Europe in the near future.
He is not the only player that Chelsea have in his position, and despite his £32 million price tag, he may not necessarily be guaranteed a place in next season's starting XI.
Roberto Di Matteo now has a dilemma on his hands; how he is going to juggle all of his superstar midfielders and forwards to craft the best team he can?
Hazard is an exceptional talent, and a player any team would love to be able to utilise, but what is the best way to get 100 percent out of him?
When Andre Villas-Boas was in charge of the Blues, he began his reign with a 4-3-3 formation, playing a ridiculously high defensive line, but then altered this formation slightly and dropped his defense back.
But unfortunately for Villas-Boas, Roman Abramovich wasn't impressed and wielded his axe ruthlessly and showed the Portuguese door.
Then Roberto Di Matteo took over and began his miraculous spell at the club.
Di Matteo didn't tamper with the formation and tactics too much, which was probably wise considering Chelsea were midway through a crisis season.
He did keep pretty much the same formation as Villas-Boas' Chelsea, but he made sure the defensive line wasn't too high up and had the striker role as more of a solo job, making the formation a 4-3-2-1.
Should Di Matteo continue this formation next year, then there will be a lot of competition for the positions either side of the striker.
Daniel Sturridge, Juan Mata, Florent Malouda (if he isn't sold) and new signing, Marko Marin will all be fighting with Hazard for a place on the Chelsea wing.
Di Matteo may consider a shake up of the formation and try different combinations during preseason to accommodate Hazard because Abramovich isn't going to be best pleased to see his big-money signing warming the bench.
Hazard is a creative and skillful player, but he will need service to the wings to begin his runs at defenses and create chances.
A 4-4-1-1 formation would allow all of Chelsea's stars to be effective in their own area of the pitch.
This system isn't too rigid and is like an old style 4-4-2 but with fluid movements between the midfield and forward players.
Hazard would fit on to one of the wings; he can be effective on either as he is capable of creating magic with both of his feet.
Juan Mata would be drifting across the pitch in behind the striker to provide passes to both the wingers and the front man.
Hazard could play on either wing allowing him to cut inside to shoot, cross the ball or pass to any teammate in a better scoring position.
Di Matteo will of course look at all options when he assesses the squad in training and preseason. He shouldn't aim to build a team around Hazard, but rather create a side that gets the most out of all of Chelsea's stars.
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