Chelsea got away with a point in the 3-3 draw against West Brom on Saturday but the game showed Frank Lampard needs to reconsider his midfield shape.
Thiago Silva’s error and Timo Werner’s underwhelming display might steal the spotlights but Mateo Kovacic once again struggled in the 4-2-3-1 formation.
Similar to his role in the Carabao Cup win over Barnsley, Kovacic started in a double-pivot, but this time, it was alongside N’Golo Kante instead of Ross Barkley.
Given Kante’s adventurous nature, Kovacic was likely tasked to sit in front of the defence, but the role might have taken out the one thing Kovacic is incredibly good at.
Before being subbed out for Callum Hudson-Odoi at half-time, Kovacic attempted zero dribbles which are quite surprising given he completed 2.5 dribbles per game in the Premier League last season, more than any other Chelsea player.
The role also did not really help Kovacic improve his defensive numbers as he made just one tackle and one interception (and was dribbled past once) in the first half.
For comparison, Kante made four tackles and two interceptions (and was dribbled past once) in 90 minutes.
I keep saying this – Kante and Kovacic CANNOT play together in a two man midfield, their profiles are just not complementary.
We looked great in the 4-3-3 we had post-lockdown, what made Lampard change it? That's the most baffling decision of all. https://t.co/4n2w03e6ng
— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) September 26, 2020
Jorginho – Kante midfield which was used in the opening game against Brighton also did not work as well as expected despite the win.
As things stand, the question remains the same; does the benefit of having an extra attacker (a No.10) outweighs these obvious incompatible double-pivot pairings?