Picking a Chelsea Starting XI to Include Both Radamel Falcao and Fernando Torres

Max TowleAnalyst IOctober 1, 2012

MONACO - AUGUST 31: Falcao of Atletico Madrid celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the UEFA Super Cup match between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid at Louis II Stadium on August 31, 2012 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Rumours of a potential move to west London have been growing in momentum for world-class striker Radamel Falcao, who may be the subject of a £45 million bid from Chelsea once the January transfer window opens (via Daily Mail).

Considering the financial concerns at the Colombian's current club, Atletico Madrid, and the buyout clause in his contract, such tabloid fodder is easily believable.

Though Fernando Torres gave a man-of-the-match performance Saturday against Arsenal, the Blues' biggest weakness at present remains the lack of depth in true forward options.

Daniel Sturridge and Victor Moses have never looked comfortable playing in the traditional No. 9 role, both have been kept in wider positions when played.

For those familiar with the playing styles of both Falcao and Fernando Torres, the mere concept of both lining up in the same team is a relatively novel one.

They come under the category of the archetypal lone striker, who, until now, always plays their best football when handed the reins of their side's attack.

Though both Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo were occasionally willing to include both Didier Drogba and Torres in the starting XI last season, it was a partnership that never really clicked into gear.

It would be too easy though, to draft an article with the headline: "Picking a Chelsea Starting XI to Include Radamel Falcao." The only task there would be to substitute Torres for the Colombian using the Blues' existing lineup—hardly difficult stuff.

But it is a given that Di Matteo's preferred formation has always been 4-2-3-1, a structure that would have to be abandoned if both were to be included.

The conventional, traditionally English 4-4-2 would not suit the abilities of Blues midfielders Juan Mata or Eden Hazard either, the former would be restricted in his central roaming capabilities, the latter too, who would be unable to drift inside as often as he would like.

I would then suggest a more flexible 4-1-3-2 setup, with Torres sitting off the shoulder of Falcao in attack.

The formation certainly favours Falcao over the Spaniard, but as previously mentioned, there can be no easy fix to the question of how to include both in the same XI.

John Obi Mikel would naturally be the deep-lying midfielder, with Hazard, Mata and Ramires forming a three-man attacking midfield in support of the forwards.

The obvious weakness of this lineup is undoubtedly that the team loses one of its two holding players, perhaps leaving Mikel exposed on quick counter attacks.

Ashley Cole and Branislav Ivanovic might also be restricted in the number of times they are able to bomb forward down the flanks in support.

In defence, Juan Mata and Ramires will fall back to assume a Cover 3, essentially creating a 4-3-3 formation. Such a role wouldn't exactly suit Mata, but again, this was never going to be an easy task.

Of course, if Chelsea still lie in first place come January, with Torres having banged in 15 goals, Roman Abramovich may think twice about making a big-money move for Falcao.

But for now, Blues fans are allowed to dream.


Do you think Falcao and Torres can play in the same team?

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