Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Conte Code 3-4-3: II

When Man City and Chelsea team news were announced yesterday, it was obvious that both Gurdiola and Conte had set out their teams to win. In City's case, six changes were made to the side that won at the Turf Moore last weekend, but Chelsea made only one change to the side that has played in the last six games with Fabregas coming in for the injured Matic.

Gurdiola deployed Navas and Sane as wing backs to nuliffy the attacking threats of Alonso and Moses, although the City duo did troubled the Chelsea wing backs especially the cross from Navas that resulted to an own goal by Cahill, the decision backfired as Chelsea capitalised on the Man City players little familiarity of the 3-4-3 system to win 1-3.

It could be argued that Gurdiola is also an advocate of the 3-4-3 system, but only in rare occasions did his rampant Barcelona side play in this system so also did his Bayern side. In Conte, you have a manager who knows and plays the 3-4-3 system including its equivalent, the 3-5-2 like no one else. He used the latter system at Juve to win three consecutive Scudetti, and it also worked wonders for his Azzuri side in the last Euros.

Every manager has an area of specialization. Talk about the pressing game, Klopp is a master of this. To nuliffy the threat of an opposition team, Mourinho is second to no one in this respect. If you want your team to dominate in possession for 90 minutes of a game, hire the service of either Gurdiola or Wenger. To find tactical codes, call Conte.

Indubitably, in the coming weeks or perhaps months, the premier league may witness a paradigm shift from the favoured 4-2-3-1 system to the "Conte Code 3-4-3" or its equivalent, the 3-5-2. The success of either systems is heavily dependent on; first, defenders with good positional discipline most especially when the wing backs are in advance positions of the pitch, second, wing backs with intelligence and stamina to defend and attack in equal measure, third, central midfielders with the ability to sprint and cover as much ground as possible, and fourth, attacking players who are clinical in front of goal and also willing to offer defensive cover if need be. If the Chelsea game against Man City is anything to go by, Antonio Conte knows more than this, and I bet it could take more than a like minded manager as the Italian to break the "Conte Code 3-4-3". Until then, let us enjoy his tactical masterclass while it last.

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