Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois believes manager Antonio Conte’s tactical decision to shift from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-4-3 system has been crucial to the recent revival in his side’s fortunes.
Chelsea have endured a somewhat indifferent start to the season as the joys of an unbeaten run in August quickly turned sour with consecutive defeats to fellow title challengers Liverpool and Arsenal. The loss to Arsenal effectively became a turning point of the season for Blues manager Antonio Conte, as he changed from the 4-2-3-1 system that had been preferred up until that point to the 3-4-3 system that has reaped fruitful results since then.
The tactical tweak seems to be working as Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in each of their previous three games. The dominating wins against Hull City and Leicester City preceded their most impressive performance so far this season as they toppled Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United in the Portuguese manager’s return to his old stomping ground.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois opined that the decision to play with a three-man defence has worked wonders for the team. He also went on to add that the change in formation has added a sense of defensive security, with the presence of N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in front of the three centre-backs helping the Blues control the game well.
Speaking SFR Sport (h/t ESPN FC) Courtois said, “I think we play well with three at the back, we control things well. Against Leicester and Hull, I didn’t have too many saves to make; I had a few more today, but despite that, we have security, that’s good.”
“That’s our best performance this season,” Courtois continued. “We started very strongly, and kept up that intensity throughout the match. You could see that they didn’t know how to put us under pressure, and we managed to find the gaps, and we scored four goals; that was good.”
On Sunday evening, Chelsea looked peerless in every aspect of the game, with fluid movement up front slicing the frail Manchester United defence wide open and defensive solidity depriving the Red Devils of having any real sniff at Courtois’ goal.
The Belgium international insisted that the win was their standout performance of the season so far as Pedro, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante grabbed the goals to move Chelsea to within a point off the top of the table.