At Stamford Bridge, Zidane is going to be forced to give another improvisational turn of the wheel. Above all, when it comes to defensively setting up the eleven. Without Carvajal and Varane, injured, and with Sergio Ramos and Mendy with the recently received medical discharge, he will have to put the pieces back together with a shoehorn. Between injuries, covid, rotations and technical decisions, we are facing the most interventionist Zizou, the most versatile and most open to any tactical approach. Including reconversions of players to less common positions.
Every eleven is a different puzzle. He has tried everything and everything. With a defense of four in line and three centrals. With a midfielder and two. With interiors. With ends. With a playmaker. With a leading forward and two. He has granted opportunities to all the players in the first team, plus the contribution of six homegrown players.
In the 47 official matches played in all competitions, he has used five different tactical drawings with positional adjustments determined for each occasion. Subtle details that were not very frequent in his approaches. The 4-3-3, with 29 stagings, continues to be their header system and with which the team seems to feel most comfortable, but they have handled four other tactical variants.
In seven games he has opted for 4-2-3-1 with two midfielders and the presence of the figure of the midfielder. Thus began the season to enter the starting lineup to Odegaard, including Isco. He did not finish convincing him. The Modric-Kroos couple has appeared five times. Valverde and the Croatian in one and Casemiro and the Blanco youth squad in the last game against Osasuna. He had already used this tandem of central midfielders in Cádiz, but with a defense of three central midfielders. Another different nuance to take into account.
In four duels he opted for the classic 4-4-2 in rhombus, another positioning in which the figure of the midfielder appeared and Benzema had a closer partner in the central zone, normally Vinicius. With Hazard available, this alternative may be more usable from now on.
Possibly the greatest tactical innovation this season has been the presence of the three center-backs and the two long-distance wingers. Zidane has resorted to it up to six times. Fixed those five more or less defensive positions, for the other five it has constantly varied both in the players and in the occupation of the spaces. As soon as he has played with two midfielders and three forwards (Getafe and Cádiz); as with a midfielder, two inside and two forwards inside (Elche, Atalanta, Eibar, Chelsea).
The fifth slate put into practice was an elastic and adaptable 4-1-4-1 against Getafe (out). Without Casemiro, Kroos and Valverde available, Modric played as the only midfielder and ahead a line of four midfielders: Asensio, Rodrigo, Isco and Vinicius. That day also called attention to the positioning of Rodrygo, who at many moments of the game came down close to the Croatian to help start the game.
The right-back demarcation has been the most punished by injuries and, therefore, the one that has had the most tenants. Zidane has put up to seven players through that band, between defense of four and three centers, up to seven players: Carvajal, Odriozola, the two specialists, Mendy (Shakhtar), Lucas Vázquez, Nacho, Valverde (Liverpool) and Marvin (home against him Getafe).