CHELSEA boss Frank Lampard has THE best kind of ‘problem’ on his hands this season – he has too many quality players to shoehorn into his starting XI.
The Blues have signed a host of top quality players during this summer’s transfer window and many of these will be looking to become regular starters.
Ben Chilwell, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech were all brought in to be first-teamers for the long haul.
But as we saw so often last season, Lampard likes to change formations and personnel depending on opposition and form, as well as giving certain players a breather.
There is no doubt every single player in Chelsea’s squad will become very important for Lampard this season.
That allows the boss the luxury of being able to field a number of different formations
We've taken a look at five of the most likely ahead of the season-opener against Brighton…
Against weaker sides where Lampard will be playing against deep and congested defensive lines, I believe he will use the 4-3-3 with two No8s.
The situation surrounding the signing of a new goalkeeper is still up in the air, so Kepa Arrizabalaga is safe, for now.
The Spaniard will most-likely have Reece James, Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell ahead of him when all are fit.
In midfield I would have N’Golo Kante as the sole holding midfielder, with two more-advanced midfielders pushing further forward.
Those two No8s will surely be with Mason Mount and Kai Havertz, with the German the tad most attack-minded of the duo.
Christian Pulisic on the left, Hakim Ziyech on the right and Timo Werner through the middle completes a strong looking Blues XI.
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Against the better sides, Chelsea will still look to play attacking football, but are likely to opt for two deeper holding midfielders.
Using the same back 4 as the 4-3-3, Kante will be accompanied by Mateo Kovacic in the double pivot.
Havertz then takes on a sole No10 role, with Pulisic, Ziyech and Werner in attack.
A lot has been said about whether Werner can play the lone striker role in the Premier League.
I believe he can, but Chelsea do have the option of playing two strikers in a 3-5-2 formation.
For me, this would feature a back-three of Zouma on the left, Silva in the middle and Azpilicueta on the right.
Chilwell and James then provide the width as wing backs.
The midfield three could then consist of Kante in the defensive role, behind Havertz and Ziyech – both of whom have plenty of experience playing in that position.
Up top I would have Tammy Abraham alongside Werner.
This is a formation Lampard has played quite a lot as well and would allow for more attacking wide players.
I would use the same back three as the 3-5-2, but my midfield would consist of Kante and Kovacic in the central positions, with Callum Hudson-Odoi on the right and Pulisic on the left.
You could then use Havertz wide on the right, with Werner on the left, and Olivier Giroud as the target man.
This could provide the perfect balance of attack and defence, should the wide midfielders be disciplined with their defensive duties.
The final selection is the most-defensive setup, which I would not expect to see very often but can be useful if we are defending a lead against a strong attacking opponent.
James, Silva, Zouma and Chilwell remain the first-choice back-four – but Azpilicueta would start at right-back in this formation to allow James a more advanced role.
The five in midfield would feature Jorginho in the holding spot, Kante and Kovacic just ahead of him, with Mason Mount and James as the wide midfielders.
Giroud would get the nod up top as a target man outlet for the inevitable long balls that come with such a defensive line-up.
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