Why the 3-5-2 is a winning formula for Chelsea

Chelsea’s recent games have shown that they struggle to create chances to score enough goals. This is because they lack the risk-taking ability near the opposition’s box and lack the creativity from midfield. The recent matches against Man City, Juventus, and Aston Villa showed us that Chelsea lacked someone who could become the connection between the midfield and the attack. As witnessed against Southampton that Chelsea deployed a 3-5-2 formation in the 2nd half that worked flawlessly. It means that as we have already seen in the past that Tuchel has used Havertz and Werner as front two, he might want to try out the same with Lukaku and Werner.


Such a system means that Chelsea would need a defensive midfielder who would fill the job of a deep-lying playmaker in front of their rock-solid defence. The performance of this vital role could be fulfilled by none other than Jorginho as he is very calm on the ball. The main objective of this system is to create an overload against the defence of the opposition. The overload is a relevant part of the attacking phase as it provides support to the striker as he often drops between the defenders as forwards. The arrangement allows the midfielder to make runs between the defenders and often acts as a forward on the blind side of defenders. A player like Mason Mount suits perfectly in this role as he is often used to make runs in the box and put the crosses into that 12-yard zone.

The other midfielder in this role has to play a bit deep to exchange the ball from one side to another and produce enticing balls from the position. With Ruben Loftus Cheek playing so frequently, he can take on opponents with ease and provide something different as he has that risk-taking ability. His physicality is something that Chelsea lacks in the midfield, which Loftus Cheek can comfortably fulfil. Rotation in that midfield might be the key to success for Chelsea, as they have plenty of players for that position. Chelsea often struggles to use their player’s attributes to their fullest, which leads to a lack of a certain number of goals.


Timo Werner is used to exploiting the spaces with his acceleration which we have already witnessed in the games against Manchester City and Southampton. This kind of system will allow a great link-up between Werner and Lukaku, as both the players are used to exploiting spaces behind the defenders. Such a system works amazingly against teams that have dedicated their tactics to an expansive style of play to threaten them on counterattacks.

Such a system also has flaws, as this wouldn’t allow the team to create several chances. Chelsea needs to improve on their finishing as they do lack a sense of finishing touch. The role in this setup might perfectly suit Lukaku as he is next to perfect when it comes to making runs in the box and holding the ball off defenders. Also, the system allows more freedom to Lukaku as he wouldn’t need to stay centrally as players like Werner and Havertz could cover those spaces.


The defence of this style of play is also crucial for the team as it plays immense importance while playing from the back. While playing from the back, the defenders often find the midfielders or forwards as they have a clearcut advantage in the central areas. This system will allow Chelsea to be more fluid as the wing-backs will bomb forward as soon as the team beats the press. As the midfield will have a numerical advantage, Mount could release players like Werner or Havertz, who have the speed to attack the backline. In the attacking phase, the wing-backs usually try to hug the backline in the opposition’s half as the team often tries to create a shape of 3-3-4.

The defensive aspect of this style of play is crucial as the team act as a unit while defending. The defence and the midfield allow space on the wing up to a limit as the team stays compact. Pressing is something that is not too aggressive and does not allow more than two midfielders to leave their half. With Edouard Mendy at the back, he qualifies the role of a sweeper keeper and prevents Chelsea from counter-attacking threats. It would be an understatement to say that Chelsea’s defence is good as they have conceded the least amount of goals in the league since the campaign has begun.


The recent performances have clearly shown us that Chelsea haven’t used the attack up to their full potential. This only meant that Tuchel would want to try out a few things a bit differently so that Chelsea doesn’t lose out on the title contenders in the long run.

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