Chelsea are set to name Thomas Tuchel as their new manager following the sacking of club legend Frank Lampard.
The German was only fired from his job at Paris Saint-Germain in December but will now arrive at Stamford Bridge as the Blues attempt to fight their way to Champions League qualification.
Huge sums of money were spent on squad improvements in the summer, including the arrival of German aces Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, and Edouard Mendy were also incoming for big fees, with £222million being spent, while Thiago Silva came in on a free transfer and is likely on big wages too.
So, with Lampard’s team set to fail in his mission for, at the very least, a top four finish, it’s no surprise Tuchel has been called up.
As well as being a compatriot to Werner and Havertz, he’s managed Christian Pulisic and Thiago Silva, while notably he’s been lauded for his ability to work with young players, something key for a manager in west London.
Tuchel is a tactical manager, one not afraid to chop and change his tactics if he can spot a weakness in his opponents.
He won’t just blindly stick to a formation and is happy to take a risk – even if it does lead to criticism.
“There’s definitely a style that’s been attributed to me, that we brought to the table at Mainz: pace going forward and attack-minded football,” he told German newspaper die Zeit. “I prefer certain qualities, an active playing style, bold defending and pacy play in attack.”
It’s fair to say things could get very interesting at Stamford Bridge with their new manager.
But how could they set up in some of the formations Tuchel has used across the years? And which players might be fearing for their future with their new gaffer not afraid to get rid of stars if they don’t fit his style? talkSPORT.com takes a look.
Option 1 – 4-3-3
The important thing to understand is Tuchel is likely to adopt different styles with the same formation so his central three in midfield will change regularly depending on who the Blues face.
Against a tougher opponent we’re likely to see him pair a defensive midfielder, in this case N’Golo Kante, with a deep-lying player maker, which could well be Jorginho.
Their roles will allow Havertz to operate in a position higher up the field when Chelsea have possession, and he may often be seen creating overloads on both left and right wings.
This would see a more mobile forward – Werner – drop deep and allow the winger on the opposite flank to occupy positions in the penalty area with a marauding full-back out wide in his stead.
Switching sides will be vital for Tuchel’s team so Ziyech and his playmaking are set to be pivotal, he’s already shown his skillset with some tremendous crosses to the back post this campaign when fit.
There is also a chance in matches against teams who play in a low block we will see two fast and skillful wingers look to get behind the defence.
In this case there is a chance Ziyech may occupy a role as a No.8, allowing him to express himself and find the darting runs of his teammates.
Tuchel isn’t afraid of having two attacking No.8s which still makes room for Havertz, although Mason Mount’s pressing ability does still mean he’s likely to play a role under his new boss, just perhaps a little less.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is one player with the potential to flourish with this change given the German’s trait of working well with youngsters.
In Tuchel’s 4-3-3, the wingers often move inside or drop deep as the full-backs provide width.
Option 2 – 4-1-4-1
During his time with Dortmund, Tuchel also used this formation as he looked to retain possession with a deep-lying playmaker behind attacking central midfielders.
This is where we may see the combination of Jorginho, Havertz and Mount together, all working to create an overload, which is mostly likely to be on the side of Pulisic and flying full-back Ben Chilwell.
The versatility of right-back Reece James allows him to help out centrally and drift into midfield areas as his teammates move up the pitch.
In this formation, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was often used thanks to his ability to drop deep to find the ball, a trait which Werner also has.
Option 3 – 4-4-2
When up against a Borussia Dortmund team playing in a 5-4-1 formation last season in the Champions League, Tuchel opted to use this formation to exploit his opponents.
In the Premier League a number of sides have the ability to use a 5-4-1 or variant of this, so the German might use this system on occasion.
With two forwards pinning back the centre-backs, room is left for wide attacking midfielders to snag the ball between the lines.
Against Dortmund it was Neymar and Angel di Maria and this could well translate to Pulisic and Ziyech, and they will be fed the ball by a deep-lying playmaker with a defensive midfielder in place ready to sit with the centre-backs when the full-backs drive forward.
Counter-pressing allowed PSG to regain possession a lot and it’s something we are set to see more of under Tuchel.
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