Why the 3-4-3 formation wasn’t successful against Bayern Munich

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Despite being successful in the 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, the 3-4-3 formation failed to deliver in Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.

Chelsea legend Pat Nevin has explained why the Blues struggled against Bayern Munich despite using the 3-4-3 formation.

Nevin wrote on Chelsea’s official website: “One major discussion point was whether or not the decision to go with the 3-4-3 formation was the right one.

“It was brilliantly successful against Spurs home and away, but was much less so against Arsenal. Clearly our best formation depends totally on who we are playing against, but after playing so well that way on Saturday it seemed to me the most logical thing to try to do precisely the same thing again.

“So why didn’t it work again? I think we all know that the biggest part of the answer lay in the simple truth that Bayern Munich are a far better team than Tottenham Hotspur.

“That is clearly the case as their 10-3 aggregate scoreline in the group stage suggests. Even so, we had some specific problems this time.

“We closed down Spurs at a brilliant tempo at the weekend but couldn’t get close to doing the same on Tuesday. I talked about this specifically with Michael Ballack before the game.

“There were a few reasons why we couldn’t reproduce that outcome. The first is that this style is high-octane stuff and that amount of energy being used twice in four days seemed beyond us, understandably.

“Try watching Liverpool these days and remember their old heavy metal high-energy style. They don’t do it nearly as much now; it is too exhausting if done too often.

“There was no lack of effort or desire from the team, but it proved beyond them which is why there weren’t too many complaints on the night from the Chelsea fans.

“The other important reason was, as Ballack suggested to me before the game, ‘Bayern are good enough to pass through the high press’.

“He was dead right! When they did pass through us, then the pacy and brilliant front players had fewer defenders to get past.”

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