Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville firmly believes Thomas Tuchel’s decision to stay with a back three this season will make Chelsea a very tough proposition in the battle for the title.
The Blues boss has generally used a four-man backline at his previous clubs but he identified the defence as an area of weakness when he arrived at Stamford Bridge and quickly rectified the issue with a switch in system. It has already paid handsome dividends by helping to win the Champions League and Neville says it could prove crucial as they challenge at the top of the Premier League:
“What Thomas Tuchel has done since he’s come in is maybe recognise that they can’t be a back four. If you were looking at them as a pair of centre-backs you wouldn’t be sure about them winning the league, but with the three they have at the back, and sometimes it becomes a five with the two protecting in front, Chelsea are more than comfortable.”
“They’ve got a system of playing that protects the individuals from potentially being isolated and that now, with the confidence and the belief they have when you win a Champions League like they did last season and with the business they have done in the transfer window, they are going to be very difficult to stop.”
A strong defence has been the backbone of Tuchel’s time in charge so far but, as Neville also points out, Chelsea’s work in the transfer market has strengthened them in other areas as well.
There are certainly other strong contenders for the title but the Blues are well-positioned to stay in the fight right until the last day in May.