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Are Chelsea best suited to playing all three of the 'Amigos'?
The 4-2-3-1 formation is football’s new sophisticated fad and one, which on the face of it, seemed to suit the new-look Chelsea.
With strikers at a premium the ‘1’ up-front was a necessity rather than a choice, but again, that married in with the idea of a nimble attacking trio floating around behind.
Initially it worked a treat but although Chelsea’s play over the opening weeks of the season was fluent, their tactics soon proved to be flawed as Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Shakhtar brutally demonstrated.
The pairing of John Obi Mikel and Ramires as the two anchor men has had its issues with the Brazilian’s penchant for bursting forward, too often leaving the Nigerian exposed. With Frank Lampard sidelined, neither Roberto Di Matteo or Rafael Benitez have had the resource to alter that equation, and then there is the on-going conundrum of how to fit Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata into the same side.
Again, it all started out rosy for the Blues as they led the table up until the end of October, but their last seven Premier League games have yielded just seven goals—including three against Sunderland with Oscar dropped to the bench.
Part of the problem is that the "Three Amigos" like to occupy the same central space through the middle, too often condensing and congesting Chelsea’s play and allowing opposing defences to defend narrow and restrict the space in between them.
Against Nordsjaelland and Sunderland, Chelsea looked more threatening with Moses always hugging one touchline and less could be more in terms of the Mazacar dream.