Home Football Chelsea Boss Describes How He Will Utilise Recalled Defender

Chelsea Boss Describes How He Will Utilise Recalled Defender

Chelsea have by all accounts been imperious this season. Their loss at White Hart Lane was indeed a setback, although even in its aftermath they sit five points clear at the summit of the Premier League.

As impressive as Conte’s newfound fluidity with the 3-4-3 formation has been, even more sublime has been his ability to coach players to play in positions not previously known to them.

Victor Moses had mostly played as a winger during his loan spells from the club, but Conté saw his potential as a wing-back and he has been one of their outstanding players this season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace (L) puts pressure on Victor Moses of Chelsea (R) during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Chelsea at Selhurst Park on December 17, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Similarly, David Luiz has so far performed to a level not seen from him before. He has been (unusually) disciplined positionally while his range of passing has been utilised expertly given his freedom to step up from Chelsea’s back three. Latest rumours from the club indicate that Conté has no intention of putting an end to such experimentation.

Enter Nathan Ake. The 21-year-old has spent his youth primarily as a defender and midfielder, but has shown a valuable penchant for goals during his time with Bournemouth.

In ten appearances for the Cherries he has scored three goals, enough to warrant a call-up to Chelsea’s first team. His versatility has long been well known, something Conté is keen to push the boundaries of.

As previously mentioned, the Italian manager’s tactics at wing-back have been one of his masterstrokes this season. Having said that, there has been concern at the club that there is insufficient cover for the likes of Moses and Marcos Alonso, although such concerns appear to be quickly abating.

Kurt Zouma clocked 90 minutes against Peterborough on Sunday for the first time in eleven months, and his return could free César Azpilicueta to assume a wing-back position.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea in action during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on January 4, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Ake’s return to the club only adds to these options, as the Stamford Bridge seek to bolster their squad for the second half of the season.

A concern for Chelsea fans would of course be the prospect of Ake rotting on the Blues’ bench, no longer benefiting from the first team football that has been afforded to him at Bournemouth. There is merit to such concerns, although he will fit in just fine at Stamford Bridge if the following speculation is to be believed.

Colm Egan, Pundit Arena

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