Pat Nevin has spoken of what could await Tottenham Hotspur this weekend in terms of how Frank Lampard could set up his Chelsea charges.
Jose Mourinho will take his Spurs charges to his old ground in Saturday’s early Premier League kickoff hoping to avenge their defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in December.
Lampard opted for a back three against Tottenham last time out, a move that surprised plenty, but it reaped dividends as they left North London with all three points from the 2-0 win.
Given the Blues lost to Manchester United on Monday, there is now just one point between Spurs in fifth and the fourth-placed West Londoners.
Nevin has suggested that returning to the three-man defence which worked well last time out, as well as recalling Marcos Alonso on the left, could well be on Lampard’s agenda.
What will the team be on Saturday and what shape will Frank plump for? These will be huge decisions,” Nevin told the Chelsea website. “The last time Frank faced Jose he had a tactical brainwave by switching successfully and unexpectedly to a 3-4-3. There will be many ideas going through his head and trying this system again will be one of them.
“With Marcos Alonso fit, rested and a specialist in that formation it could work. He also has Reece James, whose game seems made for the same position on the right-hand side of that middle four. Considering the goal shipped from a dead ball against United, having three centre-backs on the field and the height of Marcos in there too, it will definitely be a temptation.”
Last time out, Lampard outfoxed his former boss thanks to his unexpected switch to 3-4-3, which enabled the Blues to defend as a 5-2-3, and against Mourinho’s 3-4-2-1, they did superbly against Spurs’ attacking players, who simply couldn’t find a way through.
Mourinho is unlikely to fall for that again, while that same formation hasn’t worked particularly well for Chelsea since – when utilised away at Arsenal, the Blues endured a nightmare 45 minutes and although they came from behind to win, they’ve since only ever played with a back four.
However, with Tottenham enduring a crisis in attack and Chelsea’s similarly depleted ranks currently most well-equipped for a 3-4-3, it remains to be seen how the players will be deployed tomorrow lunchtime.