Andre Villas-Boas has settled on a 4-3-3 formation for Chelsea as they look to challenge for the 2011/12 English Premier League title.Villas-Boas, who took over at Chelsea on June 22, believes a flexible set-up will benefit the team and is pleased with the performance of his forwards so far during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia.
A variation of 4-3-3 took Chelsea to league titles under Jose Mourinho in 2005/06 and again under Carlo Ancelotti in 2009/10.
The formation was also employed by Villas-Boas during his quadruple-winning debut season with Porto last term.
“We have this idea of a 4-3-3 and we are focusing on it at the moment,” Villas-Boas told the Chelsea website.
“It doesn’t mean we won’t go to other formations because you have to have this flexibility to challenge for the Premiership.”
“I think with the players’ experiences they are more able to do it.”
“The 4-3-3 is a system for us in the end where it is not just a striker, it is three forwards … and we have this flexibility in the squad.”
Villas-Boas singled out Daniel Sturridge – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Bolton Wanderers – and Frenchman Nicolas Anelka as two players capable of filling the advanced wide roles in his chosen formation.
He also nominated Israel international Yossi Benayoun, who missed last season with a serious Achilles injury, as a candidate for a first-team role.
“We have seen Daniel in the channels, Anelka in the channels and they are more than able to do it so we are pretty happy,” he said.
“Yossi is a creative player coming from the channels to between the lines, so we have the flexibility to try different structures.”
It remains to be seen who the Portuguese preferred between Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres for the centre-forward role, with Villas-Boas claiming not to be preoccupied with the position at this stage.
“We tried 4-4-2 in a diamond against Malaysia, 4-2-3-1 against Thailand in the second half, so we are getting bits and pieces with other formations, and we are pretty happy at the moment and not focusing a lot on the striking positions,” he said.
Chelsea begin the Premier League season away to Stoke City on August 14.