Report: Tuchel has already considered making a major change a Chelsea, but he’ll need new players to do it

Thomas Tuchel reportedly contemplated switching formations during his first season in charge of Chelsea.

According to the Telegraph, the German coach had debated shifting from a back three to a back four at certain points throughout the 2020/21 campaign.

Three is a magic number

Pretty much from the word go, Tuchel has used a 3-4-2-1 system, or a slight variation, with generally great effect.

Chelsea’s defensive record improved dramatically after this implementation, conceding just twice in the manager’s first 14 games at the helm.

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This approach allowed players who had previously been overlooked by Frank Lampard a chance to really flourish.

Marcos Alonso, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Antonio Rudiger all became important cogs in the machine, a position they still hold down now.

Why fix what isn’t broken?

After wielding such success during his debut term, Tuchel needed not to tinker much with his methods that much.

Arguably, the only alternation required was to add definitive number nine to the squad.

Roman Abramovich listened to the boss’s demands and duly responded by resigning Romelu Lukaku for a club-record fee.  

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It appeared all the pieces had slotted nicely into place for a real stab at the Premier League title.

After winning 10 of the opening 14 matches, overthrowing Manchester City seemed like a real possibility.

Chelsea’s luck turns sour

However, Chelsea have since picked up eight points from a possible 21 and the challenge to City is pretty much over.

This sudden downturn in results can partly be blamed on a sudden downturn in available bodies.

Injuries and covid issues have ripped apart Tuchel’s team, to the extent he has had little choice but to change formation.

Reece James and Ben Chilwell’s long-term absences are the catalysts for this enforced move.

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With wing-backs short in supply, Chelsea deployed a back four in both legs of the Carabao Cup semi-final games against Tottenham Hotspur.

Tuchel tried a similar formula away to Brighton mid-week but failed to produce the same victorious outcome.

What could he future hold for Tuchel’s formation?

Until James and Chilwell return, the Blues might have to rely on a back four more often.

The Telegraph state that this would require a new set of personnel, those equipped to more traditional set-ups.

At the moment, Chelsea’s chain of command are on the lookout for full-backs to replace the England internationals.

Yet, their search might need to spread to other departments if Tuchel decides he’s ready for a fresh formation.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.