You may have noticed that over the last couple of games Thomas Tuchel has been using slightly different formations.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what formation he is using because it’s so fluid and inter-changing, but the Aston Villa game last night looked very close to a 3-5-2, or a variant of this.
There was definitely three at the back with two wing backs, and we definitely had three midfielders playing more centrally, in the first half one (Ruben Loftus-Cheek) was sitting more, and in the second half it was more of a double pivot with one in the 10 role.
I guess it can be looked at as a 3-4-1-1 or a 3-1-4-2. But the bottom line is it is a variation of a 3-5-2, and I really like the look of it.
It helps Romelu Lukaku for one thing, putting someone closer to him and allowing them a free role pretty much. But I think the main thing about it is it makes the midfield a lot more solid and able to control possession, as well as not leaving a lot of space for the opposition the walk through the middle.
One major plus would also be that it would give Tuchel more choices in the centre midfield positions, and he could use Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, and Mateo Kovacic all in the same starting line up. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was fantastic last night, would also get more opportunities to play and it will be in a position more suited to him.
You do lose an extra attacking player, but when you see the improvements that Kovacic is making in advanced areas this season, he would bring more attacking threat, and you could also see Mason Mount playing there with more attacking prowess, and the aforementioned Loftus-Cheek who is very direct and an attacking threat. You also have to remember that the wing backs are often playing as wingers, giving you more attacking options.
You would then have the option of either Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, or Mount playing off and close to Lukaku, which would work very well.
You’d still have the same selection issues and players missing out as you have now, but most of all I like how compact and also fluid the line up is. The fact that it is near impossible to even work out exactly what formation Tuchel is playing, just sums up how good he is as a tactical manager.