'Sure you'll survive': TalkSPORT pundit says there's a new formation Tuchel should try at Chelsea

Gabby Agbonlahor told Thomas Tuchel to test out a different formation to the typical 3-4-2-1 he usually uses at Chelsea.

Speaking on talkSPORT, the former Aston Villa striker suggested a return to the old fashioned 4-4-2 for Tuchel’s team.

Tuchel’s transformation

The German coach has pretty much stuck with one system since he took over from Frank Lampard, who rather infamously changed his set-up around very frequently.

Chelsea changed from a back four to a back three, whilst wing-backs replaced the natural wide players.

Three attackers lead from the front, with a false nine often spearheading the trident before Romelu Lukaku joined over the summer.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

It is a formation that has generally worked wonders for Tuchel, especially from a defence viewpoint.

Only up until recently have the results started going awry and the approach been put under investigation.

Stitches coming undone

Perhaps the biggest issue facing Chelsea right now is the number of injuries that continue to crop up in the camp, meaning some players have played out of position.

For example, Christian Pulisic began as a right wing-back against Brighton & Hove Albion last night, whilst Reece James started on the left.

James had to be replaced in the first half after picking up an injury, meaning Marcos Alonso came off the bench.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

This removal of the England international soured the mood inside Stamford Bridge, not to mention Tuchel’s temper.

“We can try to find players who are ready to play. We have no more wing-backs, everybody is injured,” said the Blues boss on his side’s upcoming game with Liverpool.

Tuchel needs to try something different

Despite the manager’s moans, Agbonlahor believed he had more than enough quality in reserve to handle the absences of several squad members.

He said: “Where do I start with Tuchel? I looked at Chelsea’s bench (vs Brighton): (Kai) Havertz, Alonso, (Malang) Sarr, (Trevoh) Chalobah, (N’Golo) Kante, Saul Niguez, (Hakim) Ziyech, (Ross) Barkley. What’s he moaning about?

“He even said after the game he can’t play any wing-backs. Well, play a 4-4-2 for one game, I’m sure you’ll survive, with Azpilicueta right-back, Chalobah, (Antonio) Rudiger, Alonso.

“Most teams in the Premier League would chop your arm off for that defence. So, stop moaning and get one with it.”

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Of course, there is no reason why Tuchel cannot implement a new formation for a standalone fixture.

However, doing so just days before hosting Liverpool is probably not wise.

But, maybe this rapid reversion to a more dated method is the exact jolting Chelsea need to alter their fortunes.

Being deployed at full-back might actually suit the ageing Alonso and Azpilicueta, as they are not required to rampage up and down the field as often.

We’ll leave this one to you, Thomas.

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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.