Ashley Cole Surprised by Conte’s 3-4-3 Transformation of Chelsea
Former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole says that he was sceptical about how the 3-4-3 formation of Antonio Conte would work with the blues.
The former Juventus manager was appointed as the permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho in the summer. He was widely expected to bring the 3-4-3 system to English football once again. It was a preferred choice for managers a few decades ago, but it has been replaced by several formations since then. Conte did not prefer the system early on in his managerial career, but a famous victory over Walter Mazzarri’s Napoli led him to believe in the system more than anything else.
However, in his first few months at Chelsea, he used to the same 4-2-3-1 formation which has been the standard fare for the club in the last few years. When Jose Mourinho was initially appointed as the blues boss in 2004, he brought the 4-3-3 system which later became the standard for a couple of years in the Premier League.
Teams were unable to play against the system which was highly flexible. Likewise, the 3-4-3 formation is flexible and it also allows Chelsea to be incredibly tough to break down. It has resulted in the blues going on a run of 11 straight victories to establish a seven-point advantage over Liverpool. Cole says that he did not expect this system to be as successful.
“I watched them in pre-season, I don’t know if I was a fan of three at the back. But I spoke to the players and they said it’s all they work on.They’ve done a great job, so it’s working. I’m not surprised they’re doing so well with the players they have. They have a strong squad with players on the bench too. I knew they would do well. When you go past five wins you think, ‘we can do this, we’re strong’. They have a lot of depth. Everyone is happy around training and they’re on a great run and hopefully it will continue,” said Cole.