Barcelona vs Chelsea: How do you think that Chelsea should approach the game?

Antonio Conte takes his Chelsea team to Barcelona and the Nou Camp knowing that we need to score to have a chance of going through to the...

Antonio Conte takes his Chelsea team to Barcelona and the Nou Camp knowing that we need to score to have a chance of going through to the next round having drawn the first leg 1-1. 

I must be honest, as we prepare for the game tomorrow evening I am undecided as how we are to approach the game. In my mind we must adopt one of two options with our players and the formation if we are to get anything out of the game.

The problem I have is that one of the tactical formations with a possible starting eleven would be tough on arguably our best player in recent weeks compared to the other option which would be play the same way and formation as we did in the first leg.

The 3-4-3 formation including Willian. 

As we all witnessed in the first leg, Chelsea managed to deny Barcelona the space in front of our back four and it was only because of a wayward pass from Andreas Christensen that the visitors managed to nick an away goal.

On that night, Barcelona were limited to a header wide in the first half and their goal in the second. We were defensively sound and played an excellent game to deny the likes of Andreas Iniesta and Lionel Messi space to play (until the goal obviously).

It was our approach going forward that caused Barcelona real problems with the false-nine formation. Now, we can ill-afford to adopt the same tactic as we did with the same formation at Manchester City the other week because if we do, we might as well not bother turning up! However, if we can play the same way in attack as we did in the first leg, creating Barcelona all the problems we did, then we have a real chance of scoring tomorrow evening not once but twice.

The false-nine of Pedro, Hazard and Willian caused Barcelona real problems that day and on paper they have the potential to do so again. But, in saying that, can we afford to play the away leg on their big pitch without a focal point up front?

We have seen the impact Willian can have when he is up for the game and not throwing his arms about moaning at the officials. He demonstrated in the first leg that he has the beating of their defence and was unlucky to hit the post twice in addition to scoring our goal. Can we afford to play this one without him tomorrow?

The 3-5-1-1 formation used against Atletico Madrid. 

The other option for me is to flood our midfield by playing three players there now that Tiemoue Bakayoko is fit again. However, the main bone of contention with his formation is who is to start up front with Eden Hazard supporting them.

Against Atletico Madrid we bossed the game, we caused Diego Simeone’s side problems all day long with the link-up play between Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata. On that night, our hosts could not live with Hazard’s freedom to move in between the lines and it caused them real problems. Alvaro Morata had the pace to make runs off the ball or was clever enough to put himself in position to feed off of the flicks and tricks from Hazard to give the ball back to the Belgian or, to find himself in space in behind. That could be a deciding factor for Antonio Conte when he decides on how to approach this one.

Olivier Giroud is in with a real shout of a start for the game but, and I am only stating the obvious here, his lack of pace compared to that of Morata could be the only thing that goes against him.
As an out-ball or for someone to just hold the ball up for us to push our defensive line up ten yards and relieve the pressure we will be put under, Giroud is the better option than Morata for me at the current time. However, it’s legs we need in this one and I would go for Morata with Eden Hazard in behind if we are to play with this tactical approach.

Kante, Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas in midfield working hard to deny Barcelona space but also with Fabregas having a little freedom to find space to play his passes works for me.

So that’s the dilemma I am faced with as I try and decide the best way for Chelsea to approach the game. What do you think? Should Willian start in the 3-4-3 formation and the false-nine like the first leg? Or do you think we should play the three-man midfield?

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