Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti made a change to his much-discussed “diamond” formation in midweek when he played with one striker and two supporting just behind. This formation is called the Christmas tree because of it 4-3-2-1 line-up.
It seems that it was so successful that Ancelotti is intending to use it against Fulham tomorrow at Craven Cottage.
“When we play with two players behind one striker we can press the opponents better when we are without the ball because these two players, Deco and Kalou, can work on the central midfielders,” Ancelotti explained.
“The diamond is a little bit different because our offensive midfielder has to play against the two central players and when we defend it is more difficult to close the space and to press.
“The first way I think is better away from home.”
Talking about the first game (against Hull) when Frank Lampard was used ineffectually as the point of the diamond, Ancelotti admitted that it was not easy to play there against a defensive opposition.
“When there is not space it is difficult to play,” the coach concedes, “not only for Lampard but, for example, for Kaka at Milan last season it was very difficult to play there without space.
“It is a very important position in midfield but it is more difficult to play. It is easier to play in front of the defence because you have the space to play.”
He also seemed to be more in favour of the Xmas tree line-up because he thinks that he will be able to give Drogba a break from his “lone striker” duties. This would seem to indicate that he has discovered, like many Chelsea managers before him, that Anelka and Drogba are not so good playing together.
He continued: “There will be a moment also for Drogba to rest because I think Drogba is not a superman. He is a very good player and a very strong player but there will arrive the moment to rest.
“I don’t want to arrive at a certain moment in the season when we have 11 players tired and 11 players without motivation.”