Antonio Conte will have a lot of tactical thinking and preparation to do ahead of tonight’s game against Barcelona.
Will the Italian adopt his 3-4-3 system or revert to the 3-5-2 system that will enable Chelsea choke the midfield against the Blaugrana? Chelsea are expected to play a 3-5-2 system, and Conte will have to choose between Alvaro Morata who’s just returning from injury and is yet to score this year, or January transfer signing Olivier Giroud who scored his first goal for the club against Hull City on Friday.
Chelsea hero Pat Nevin discussed all these options in his column in the official Chelsea website.
He wrote: “Olivier Giroud has got rid of that niggling stress every striker feels before scoring their first goal for their new club. He also has more match minutes with his new team-mates under his belt and already he looks a perfect fit in in terms of style. The link-up with the attacking midfielders has been seamless since his move.
“Willian was sparkling and adds another string to the manager’s bow when considering who to start and who to hold in reserve for what will be a vital second half in this one against Barcelona. Which brings us to the main point, who does Antonio start with tonight?
“Considering who was rested at the weekend, you would expect Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen to be certain starters but then the decisions get tougher. Is it a version of 3-5-2 which would suit Cesc Fabregas, a man who would certainly be up for it against his old club?
“That would leave the decision to be made on who partners Eden up top, should it be Giroud or Alvaro Morata? Not an easy call but then at least there is a decision for the manager to make, something that wasn’t always the case before we prised Olivier away from Arsenal.
“I would guess Giroud gets the nod purely on fitness level, but they will certainly both be utilised at some point during the evening. Alvaro would quite like to score against Barça for the obvious historical reasons so it remains uncertain.”