Thursday’s Champions League trip to Krasnodar could be an opportunity for Chelsea manager Frank Lampard to tweak his system.
Each team in Group E has one point in the bag after both opening games were drawn.
Russian side Krasnodar will have home advantage. However, Chelsea should have the quality to win, even if Lampard decides to rest key players.
Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell have started all three games since the international break.
While it’s unlikely Lampard will rotate all six, resting some of them could allow him to experiment with a couple of alternative systems.
Twin strikers in a 4-4-2
With three striking options in Werner, Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud at his disposal, it’s surprising Lampard hasn’t tried to pair two players up front.
Having another player alongside him would certainly benefit Werner, who often played in a pair at RB Leipzig. Abraham, Giroud or even Havertz could play as his strike partner.
Although Havertz normally plays as a number 10, a large portion of his goals and assists at Bayer Leverkusen last season came as a number nine. He scored eight of his 18 goals in all competitions as a striker.
Two number eights in a 4-3-3
Lampard has dropped his go-to formation last season in favour of 4-2-3-1.
It’s obvious Lampard wants to give Havertz more freedom in the final third, with a double-pivot behind him. But, as we have seen from the last two games, when Havertz struggled so did the rest of Chelsea’s attackers.
Playing 4-3-3 would give Chelsea another number eight who could be the link from defence to the front three. However, this would also reduce the defensive midfield cover to only one player.
But, if there is an opportunity to try Havertz and either Mason Mount or Mateo Kovacic as the two eights, a game against Krasnodar should surely be it?