Two ways Chelsea could cope if Real Madrid sign Eden Hazard
As The Metro reports, Real Madrid are looking to launch a last-ditch move to sign Chelsea’s golden boy, Eden Hazard.
The Belgian has arguably been Chelsea’s best player over the last five years and the Blues have somehow managed to keep his potential suitors at bay. However, they might just be on the receiving end of a potential hijack before the European transfer window closes.
And the move, if it materializes, will happen at the worst possible time for Chelsea as the transfer window has already closed in England. Although the departure could bring in handsome funds, Chelsea will not be able to sign a replacement for Hazard before January.
Even if the transfer season was on, Chelsea would have found it virtually impossible to replace someone of Hazard’s calibre. Not only does the Belgian score goals and provide valuable assists but his mere presence on the field is enough to lift the spirits of the team and change their mentality. Yes, he is a brilliant player but he means a lot more to Chelsea and the loss would be unfathomable.
That said, Maurizio Sarri will have a lot of work to do should Hazard leave this summer. Here are two ways Sarri could change his tactics to cope in Hazard’s absence.
1. Replacing Hazard with Willian
Besides Hazard, Willian has been one of Chelsea’s most consistent players and the Brazilian could be a like-for-like replacement. Sarri is known to prefer a 4-3-3 formation and the Brazilian perfectly suits his free-flowing philosophy of play.
Pedro has made a bright start to the season which is definitely a positive for Sarri. Willian is capable of playing on either flank, with Alvaro Morata as the central striker.
The new manager stresses on wing play and often provides his players with the flexibility to take up a free role, especially in the attacking third.
Chelsea have started two games without Hazard and the attack line didn’t look all that bad in his absence. Not denying the impact that Hazard can have, Chelsea have Pedro and Willian as cover for the Belgian in the attacking third.
Should either of them run out of steam, Sarri could change his formation to 4-2-3-1, with Jorginho and N’Golo Kante in the defensive midfield position, Victor Moses and Willian/Pedro at the flanks, with and Mateo Kovacic/Ross Barkley playing as the central attacking midfielder.
Moses, or even Emerson Palmieri for that matter, could fill in as a winger for a few games before Chelsea eventually sign a replacement in January.
2. Change of Formation
Hazard’s loss will deplete Chelsea’s squad depth and the team might tend to suffer if either Willian or Pedro are unavailable due to injuries or suspensions.
In Marcos Alonso, Chelsea have an adventurous full-back who is capable of making runs forward and scoring goals. Although Sarri does not prefer using a back-three system, he might be forced to do so in times of desperation.
The new manager could try a 3-5-2 formation and utilize their plentiful resources in the midfield, similar to the system Gareth Southgate used at the World Cup.
Cesar Azpilicueta is capable of playing as a centre-back in a back-three system and Alonso, with Moses/Emerson, could fill the void in the absence of both Willian and Pedro.
Emerson, Alonso and Moses are all capable of supporting the attackers up front with crosses and can also narrow up and get into the box with the flow of the game.
Kante has to be deployed as a box-to-box midfielder along with the elegant Jorginho, which will help Chelsea retain possession in the central areas of the park.
Olivier Giroud displayed his ability to play as a target man at the World Cup and he could be deployed in a similar manner behind Alvaro Morata as the main striker.