Is this now Chelsea’s best starting XI?

Paul Macdonald
Paul Macdonald
  • Updated: 17 May 2021 22:30 BST
  • 3 min read
Is this now Chelsea’s best starting XI?

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has been asked to accommodate a whole host of players following the Blues’ aggressive summer transfer business.

After spending big in the summer on the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Edouard Mendy and Thiago Silva, it was important for Lampard to find the right balance as well as retaining his desire to give young players minutes and grow their own developed talent.

There’s no doubt that there a few of those who will be given more than their fair share of minutes; Lampard has a lot of time for Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.

But has Lampard finally decided how to fit them all in? Let’s have a look.

Chelsea v Sheffield United

Chelsea v Sheff U - Football tactics and formations

  • Chelsea were excellent in this contest, and didn’t panic even when going a goal down
  • Kante’s protection in the 4-3-3 and the intense energy and provided by Mount and Kovacic gave Chelsea more balance
  • Even at 36 Thiago Silva’s organisational skills and vertical passing are the best at the club
  • Chilwell and James have the engines to get up and, crucially, back to defend when necessary
  • Werner is getting better off the left and Ziyech is already a clear star
  • Abraham provides a clear focal point for the team

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  • The fundamental problem with this formation is that Kai Havertz is missing. The German has been after testing positive for coronavirus and in his absence, it has to be said, Chelsea have looked a more fluid unit. So how could Lampard change this to get his £80m transfer back into the team?

    Chelsea with Havertz

    Chelsea with Havertz - Football tactics and formations

    • Havertz struggles to play deeper as he isn’t a player designed to ‘get up and down’
    • He works best when he can create in and around the penalty area and be within close proximity of his team-mates
    • Therefore he isn’t a direct replacement for Mount as they perform different roles
    • Lampard is leaning towards the 4-3-3 as his preferred formation
    • Therefore we can expect Havertz to slot in at CF but to rotate as part of a fluid front three.

    Chelsea have numerous options but it’s more important to achieve balance than to squeeze in every superstar. Lampard looks close to finding it.