Eden Hazard Could Continue as a False No. 9 with Alvaro Morata Back


eden hazard

With striker Alvaro Morata out due to back pain and fatigue, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte played without a true center forward at Huddersfield Town, with Eden Hazard being flanked by Willian and Pedro in the attacking third. The result was a 3-1 win, and heading into the weekend clash versus Southampton, it’s possible Hazard stays in that role.

Yes, despite the fact that Morata will be back, as Conte revealed during his weekly news conference on Friday. The return of Morata probably means a shift back to the 3-5-2 formation.

For what it’s worth, here’s what we went with for our predicted Chelsea team.

eden hazard

Conte also used Eden Hazard as a false No.9 last season, and won every game in which he employed that tactic.

“We played in this way last season and I remember thinking this could be a good option,” Conte said in the media session previewing the clash with the Saints.

“I think you don’t give a point of reference to your opponent and you can play with three players who are very good technically, very good in one-versus-ones, very creative players, but it is very good to have a good balance.”

“If our three strikers want to sacrifice without the ball to give us the right balance, this could be a good option for the present and the future, but it will be very important to understand that to play with three strikers with this characteristic we need to have a good balance otherwise you risk to lose the game.

“You risk to have a lot of counter attacks, and I don’t want this. But I think my players know very well what I want.”

antonio conte

Odds: Chelsea FC 2/5, Draw 4/1, Southampton 8/1

Prediction: Chelsea FC 2, Southampton 1

As always, feel free to post your own score and starting XI predictions in the comments sections.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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