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Why Chelsea can win the Premier League by playing 3-5-2

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Antonio Conte

With the new Premier League season three games in, there are clear signs that Chelsea are looking like a side with a point to prove, with Swansea next to come.

Although the Blues are yet to play their best football and perhaps have been slightly fortuitous to record maximum points to date, Antonio Conte has undoubtedly restored the feel-good factor at Stamford Bridge.

The West London side signed four major new players in the summer transfer window and the new personnel could well provide an insight into how the Italian trainer wants to play this season.

Conte has a track record of playing 3-5-2 and has been vocal this summer about his desire to sign a new central defender, leading to a sensational deal to bring David Luiz back to the club on transfer deadline day.

When quizzed where the versatile Brazilian would operate, the Blues boss confirmed his intention to play the former Paris Saint-Germain star at the back, rather than as a holding midfielder.

This points to Conte potentially playing a three-man defence, with the other two positions to be filled by Gary Cahill, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic or Kurt Zouma when he returns to fitness.

N’golo Kante has fitted right into the Chelsea midfield, while Michy Batshuayi has already struck up an understanding with Diego Costa in the cameos they have played together when the Belgian has been introduced from the bench.

David Luiz

Opposition rearguards would certainly not relish the prospect of facing the strike pair, which bucks the modern craze of the lone frontman.

The final signal that Chelsea are ready to deploy a 3-5-2 formation is the acquisition of Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina.

The Spanish defender is competent as a full-back but much more potent and effective as a wing-back in a system with three central-halves.

Alonso’s marauding forward runs for the Viola in Italy clearly caught Conte’s eye and with his compatriot Cesar Azpilicueta potentially able to do likewise on the right flank, swapping formations starts to make sense.

The only real drawback of a 3-5-2 system appears to be that Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar would all be fighting for a solitary attacking midfield berth behind the strikers.

While the Belgian would be the obvious choice to fill this role, it could well be that the Brazilian would be more naturally capable of providing a creative spark centrally.

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