5 Things Chelsea Will Change Tactically Under Jose MourinhoJune 7, 2013
5 Things Chelsea Will Change Tactically Under Jose Mourinho
The return of Jose Mourinho to the Premier League has been confirmed, but the uncertainty surrounds what comes next for Chelsea.
It seems that the Blues will opt to splash out this summer as the Portuguese tactician arrives to take over for his second spell as manager, with Edinson Cavani the latest player to be linked with a big-money transfer to Stamford Bridge, per Sky Sports.
But one must consider whether Mourinho will seek to tear up the tactics put in place last season under Rafael Benitez, and mark his own stamp again with a new lineup.
Either way, it promises to be an exciting season, and here's some tactical changes that we feel the 50-year-old may make ahead of the 2013-14 campaign. Be sure to let us know your thoughts and opinions as always.
Something Benitez got right this season was the balance of the setup at Chelsea, which his predecessor Roberto Di Matteo failed to establish.
With the attacking trio of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar playing further upfield, the Blues were left short at the back when defending against the opposition. Benitez solved this problem by selecting either Ryan Bertrand or Ramires to play as a defensive winger when required.
Under Mourinho, however, the formation is likely to undergo more renovation.
During his first two seasons in charge, an extremely effective and disciplined 4-3-3 formation was the ideal setup for the squad at the time. Depending on what players they purchase in the summer, Mourinho could revert back to his favoured setup.
With talks ongoing regarding the transfer of Andre Schurrle, per ESPN, there's every chance that he could line up on the right side of a front three, with Eden Hazard on the left.
The question remains who would spearhead the front line, with reports of interest in signing Napoli striker Edinson Cavani.
If that bid fails, with the improving Fernando Torres available for selection, the switch to the 4-3-3 would be ideal for his front line. It's similar to the 4-2-3-1 setup, except the fluidity of football is played at a higher tempo. The back four, of course, would remain the same.
There would be hardly any change in the midfield; Frank Lampard and Ramires would be able to sit deep, and Juan Mata could be deployed in the playmaker role behind the striker.
It's incredible to think that a team could go unbeaten for an entire season, but Arsenal did it in the 2003-04 campaign.
But to go through a 38-game season and concede just 15 goals, win 29 of those 38 games and secure the highest ever points tally of 95? That's something special.
Sure enough, in Mourinho's first season in England, that's what Chelsea achieved. Petr Cech, the 22-year-old Czech Republic goalkeeper who was signed for £7 million, was between the sticks.
In front of him was the rock-solid back four of Paulo Ferreira, Ricardo Carvalho, John Terry and Wayne Bridge, who went beyond the call of duty to protect their goal. And although only Cech and John Terry remain from the heroic quintet, a return to that defensive discipline would be an added bonus.
If anything, the back four has improved. Ashley Cole replaced Bridge in 2006 and has gone on to become the world's most consistent left-back in recent years, while David Luiz has shown signs of rapid improvement this season, and is a similar style to the erratic Carvalho, who is now at Monaco.
With Mourinho very strict on keeping the goals conceded to a minimum, the Portuguese's methods will hopefully see the Blues return to the days of having the best defensive record in the division.
Return of the Wingers
It's been a long time since Chelsea had the devastating duo of Arjen Robben and Damien Duff (pictured above) on the left- and right-hand side of attack.
Since their respective departures to Newcastle and Real Madrid in 2006 and 2007, Chelsea have tried and tested many players out on the wing. Oscar, Victor Moses, Marko Marin and even Ramires have all had a go at trying out the new position.
But now Chelsea have talented winger Eden Hazard on the left, who can fill the void on the right-hand side of attack? Enter Andre Schurrle.
The Bayer Leverkusen forward can play anywhere around the attacking midfield, including as a second striker, and definitely has the pace to play on the wing. When playing for Germany, he is used as a left winger, but is equally adept on the right, too.
Combining the pace of Hazard and Schurrle for next season is a frightening prospect and one Chelsea will be looking forward to setting up next season.
A Target Man with Both Power and Pace
Jose Mourinho loved Didier Drogba for many reasons, and it's not just his goals that tickled his fancy.
The work rate, the aerial brilliance, the amount of physical strength he possessed ticked every single one of the Portuguese tactician's boxes of what he likes in a striker.
But now the Ivorian has gone, there is a void to fill. Of course, Chelsea have been blessed with some lucrative striking options in Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku. You get the feeling that despite having those three available, Mourinho could look for another forward to sign.
Edinson Cavani has been mentioned, per Jeremy Wilson and Luke Edwards of The Telegraph, as a possible marquee signing to give Mourinho some more options, and again, he fits the bill. With tremendous power and pace, Cavani has been proven to be one of the most clinical strikers in Serie A.
He scored 38 goals in 43 appearances, which means he has now scored a total of 104 goals in 138 games for the Partenopei. With that record, one can understand the €63 million price tag slapped above his head.
If he was to join the West London club next season, you can list them as surefire contenders for the Premier League title.
Jose Mourinho is a manager who gives motivation to his players, and as a result, likes them to press the opposition.
In order to that, the players must be at a high fitness level and durable enough, so they can maintain a solid, high-level work rate throughout the game.
You'll often see that he will prefer players such as Ramires or Eden Hazard because they cover so much ground, and especially with the unlimited stamina from the Brazilian, Mourinho will look to utilise this in the game.
In addition, he'll hope to get all the players in tip-top shape from preseason up until the new seaons begins, and hopefully, challenge for the Premier League title.
It will be up to Chris Jones, the club's first-team fitness coach since 2009, to get the players on some gruelling work schedules throughout the summer, as they look to secure their first Premier League crown since 2011.