Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel could trial a new formation today in a drastic change to his usual set-up. Several key players are missing through either injury or international rulings, including Antonio Rudiger, Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic.
Tuchel could therefore decide to mix up his side as they prepare to face Brentford in the Premier League.
The Blues make the short trip to their London neighbours today in the late kick-off this Saturday looking to stay at the top of the table.
As one of the favourites to challenge Manchester City for their title, Tuchel knows how important getting good results against teams such as Brentford are.
The Bees have proved they are no mugs, though, and sit seventh having lost just one of their first-ever seven matches in the Premier League.
And Chelsea must travel to the Brentford Community Stadium with some important players missing – especially at the back.
Antonio Rudiger has played every minute in the Premier League this season for the Blues and has been exceptional.
The Stamford Bridge outfit have conceded just three times so far – one from open play – and it has even led to Rio Ferdinand naming him as the best centre-back in the country.
The Germany international is injured while Thiago Silva has been forced to miss the match after returning from Brazil and being forced to self-isolate.
Andreas Christensen and Reece James had been mentioned as potential doubts so their availability is also under question, though both have trained in the build-up to today’s match.
So with Chelsea’s defence ransacked, Tuchel might pick this Saturday as the ideal chance to change things around a bit.
When he first joined, he insisted he did not see the three-at-the-back as a permanent solution – though it has yielded great results so far after winning the Champions League.
But a more traditional back-four could allow the Blues to field more attacking players while also coping with their defensive absences.
Christensen would have to play alongside Trevoh Chalobah in a partnership while Cesar Azpilicueta would likely start ahead of James for his leadership, while Ben Chilwell is a more accomplished left-back than Marcos Alonso in such a system.
The midfield would likely not change much with Jorginho and either N’Golo Kante or Mateo Kovacic to start but a more attacking player such as Mason Mount or Ruben Loftus-Cheek – or even Ross Barkley – could be used as a No. 10.
Ahead of that trio, Tuchel will field Romelu Lukaku being supported by a potential German duo in Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
Such a move would be hugely drastic, considering that Chelsea’s current tactics have made them European champions but a surprise spring in strategy could be what is needed to bamboozle Brentford and Thomas Frank.