Chelsea play their first pre-season fixture today as the Blues take on newly-promoted Championship side Peterborough United at Cobham. And Thomas Tuchel has made an intriguing decision over the formation he will use for the friendly.
After taking charge at Stamford Bridge at the end of January after Frank Lampard’s sacking, the German coach instantly implemented a 3-4-2-1 system and rarely deviated away from it.
That certainly paid off. Not only did Chelsea rise up the Premier League table and eventually finish in the top four but the Blues would defeat Atletico Madrid, Porto, Real Madrid, and Manchester City on their way to winning the Champions League.
Yet there was a belief that Tuchel would look to change things up during pre-season, that he would work on a formation that utilised a back four rather than a back three, something he discussed with certain players as far back as February.
That, of course, may still happen. Chelsea’s makeshift senior squad only started work on the training pitches at Cobham on Monday and there are still more than 15 first-team regulars absent they competed at the European Championship and Copa America respectively.
When stars such as N’Golo Kante, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner return later this month, Tuchel may opt to focus on the shape of his side. A system overhaul, or at least an effective alternative formation, could still be worked upon and honed.
Yet for the clash against Peterborough at Chelsea’s training ground, football.london understands the Blues head coach will go with the tried and trusted.
Chelsea are expected to play the same 3-4-2-1 shape they used last term, although the personnel within that will be very different.
While the likes of Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi should get some minutes under their belt, the match will predominantly be an opportunity for a number of returning loanees and players coming from injury and ilness to try to impress Tuchel.
As first reported by @CarefreeYouth, there will be a different side used in either half of the game, which will be played in the evening as the first-team players are still expected in for a training session this morning.
The match is the first of Chelsea’s pre-season, which got underway at the start of the week. Following the clash with Peterborough, the Blues will have the day off and will then prepare to fly out to Dublin on Tuesday for a week-long training camp.
Tuchel and his squad will then return for a friendly against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium before taking on London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham in the Mind Series during the first week of August.
Chelsea’s 2021/22 campaign gets underway on August 11 with the UEFA Super Cup clash against Villarreal in Belfast.
Three days later the Blues kick-off their Premier League title bid with a clash at Stamford Bridge against Crystal Palace.