Chelsea transfer news: How Pochettino will line up with a new back three system

Cameron Smith
Mauricio Pochettino, Chelsea, 2023/24

Mauricio Pochettino’s future at Chelsea looks bleak after his side’s 4-2 defeat against Wolves on Sunday, with several reports stating that he is on the verge of losing his job.

The Blues are currently 11th in the Premier League table and although they have a Carabao Cup final to look forward to, they are closer to the relegation zone (12 points) than the top four (15 points) in the English top flight.

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In a bid to save Chelsea’s season and his job, Pochettino is reportedly considering a formation change, according to The Evening Standard.

The ex-PSG and Tottenham boss has used a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 system so far this season, but he is now towing with the idea of moving to a back three in order to protect Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez in midfield, and Thiago Silva in defence.

Chelsea were hugely successful with a back three system under both Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel, with the former winning the 2016-17 Premier League title and the latter winning the 2021 Champions League using that formation.

Furthermore, while the Blues have sought a move away from a back three with the appointments of Graham Potter, Frank Lampard (interim) and Pochettino, reverting back to a tried and tested formula is now on the cards amid their struggles in the Premier League.

How Chelsea could line up with a back three

A back three suited Chelsea under both Conte and Tuchel and it suits their current squad too.

Deploying a midfield two of Caicedo and Fernandez would force the Argentine to play slightly deeper than he is right now, which would help Caicedo and his own form. Pochettino has bizarrely deployed Enzo in a more advanced role next to Conor Gallagher this season and this has limited the Argentine’s impact in possession and left Caicedo exposed to quick counter-attacks.

Moises Caicedo joined Chelsea in 2023
© IMAGO – Moises Caicedo joined Chelsea in 2023

Using a double pivot would alleviate both problems.

In addition, Ben Chilwell and Malo Gusto are perfect wing-backs, while Levi Colwill and Axel Disasi’s experience at full-back makes them perfect candidates for the wide centre-back berths either side of Thiago Silva.

Raheem Sterling and Myhailo Mudryk have both angered Chelsea fans this season and a 3-4-2-1 system may mean they both drop out of the starting XI.

Christopher Nkunku and Cole Palmer are ideally-suited to playing as inside forwards similar to Mason Mount and Kai Havertz under Tuchel, while Nicolas Jackson could benefit from being more closely surrounded by fellow attackers.

All in all, a back three suits Chelsea’s squad and their starting XI would benefit massively from a new system.

Chelsea’s starting XI in a back three system

GK: Djordje Petrovic

RCB: Axel Disasi

CB: Thiago Silva

LCB: Levi Colwill

RWB: Malo Gusto

CM: Moises Caicedo

CM: Enzo Fernandez

LWB: Ben Chilwell

AM: Cole Palmer

AM: Christopher Nkunku

ST: Nicolas Jackson

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