Pochettino eyes new Chelsea formation switch to save season

Mauricio Pochettino is considering a switch to a three-man defence in a desperate bid to salvage Chelsea’s season.

Mauricio Pochettino has now come under increased pressure after Sunday’s 4-2 home defeat by Wolves after he admitted “nobody is safe” at Stamford Bridge.

With Chelsea languishing in 11th place and another season in danger of petering out, Pochettino is weighing up a move away from his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. It is felt that a three-man defence could provide greater defensive solidity to a team that has conceded four goals in successive Premier League defeats by Liverpool and Wolves.

The system change would also offer more protection to veteran defender Thiago Silva, who was left badly exposed as the Wolves players ran riot at Stamford Bridge.

Struggling midfield duo Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo, both under 6ft tall, are being dominated physically and would also get more cover with an extra defender behind them.

Fortunately for the Blues’ manager, Silva, Levi Colwill, Benoit Badiashile, Axel Disasi and Trevoh Chalobah all have experience of playing in a three-man defence.

Have Pochettino ever played A Three-Man defence?

Pochettino has experience of playing a 3-4-3 at Tottenham. He could also use a 3-5-2 and either system would also give Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto more license to go forward as wing-backs rather than full-backs.

Chelsea have excelled with a three-man defence in the past, winning the title under Antonio Conte in 2017 and the Champions League under Thomas Tuchel in 2021 while using the system.

Graham Potter and Frank Lampard also used the formation but with less success. Pochettino hinted that changes were needed after Chelsea were blown away by Wolves.

“We can’t give up and we are going to work hard to try and change, maybe take some decisions to find a different way,” he said.

“If it is not working this way, we need to move on and try to find a different type of solution.”

If Pochettino does make a change, it would be a departure from his favoured four-man defence which he has used for most of his managerial career at Espanyol, Southampton, Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain.

How Pochettino can line up in a 3-4-3 OR 3-5-2 formation

It can be either be 3-4-3 with the wingers tucked in and the wingbacks providing width for the side going forward.

The formation can transition into a 5-2-3 off the ball with Chelsea having conceded 39 goals this season already. Players stay in close proximity, both in attack and defence and it reduces the lines between the lines.

3-4-3's Mauricio Pochettino


or 3-5-2 with Palmer as the roaming ’10’ which he seems to excel at. A lot of the fundamental remains the same but it can be utilized in big away games to crowd the midfield and prevent the side from being overrun in the midfield.

3-5-2 Mauricio Pochettino

Season-defining set of games ahead

Chelsea next face Aston Villa in an FA Cup fourth-round replay at Villa Park on Wednesday before a trip to struggling Crystal Palace next Monday.

The Blues then face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium before the Carabao Cup final against Liverpool at Wembley at the end of the month.

They also face a tricky March, when they play Brentford, Newcastle and Arsenal.

Chelsea targeted Champions League qualification before the season started but the Wolves defeat means they have now fallen 15 points behind the top four.

Pochettino said after the Wolves defeat:

“We’re all not good enough. The players need to take responsibility like I take responsibility. At the moment, we are not matching the history of the club.”

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