Chelsea are currently experiencing their worst run of form under Frank Lampard. This has pushed the club legend right to the top in the Premier League sack race, with The Athletic reporting that the club legend is on thin ice.
Now, I’d personally never call for Frank’s head. He’s earned his bias amongst the Chelsea faithful and deserves time to turn things around. I absolutely do not want him sacked, and I hope that Mr Abramovich feels the same way.
Regardless of my opinion, though, it’s quite clear that there are discussions being held at Chelsea about the head coach position. The names being flung around at the moment include Thomas Tuchel, Brendan Rodgers and Julian Nagelsmann. For me though, Chelsea should look to current Southampton head coach Ralph Hasenhüttl. The Austrian has been in charge on the South Coast since 2018 and currently has the Saints sitting level on points with Chelsea, in 9th position.
He has been noted for the attractive, pressing style of play that his teams utilise. He has claimed he wants all of his players to “be hungry” in order to maintain a passionate and high octane philosophy on the pitch. Despite tinkering with systems at times, Hasenhüttl’s go-to system is a 4-2-2-2 (4-4-2 on paper) which allows his team to create a “box” in midfield, with the wide players regularly coming inside to operate centrally and the pivot in midfield sitting quite deep. This, combined with two strikers, gives the side an overload of attacking options as well as an heir of unpredictability as they move around with the freedom of fluidity. This system could work perfectly with Chelsea’s personnel, two forwards would allow Timo Werner to slot in centrally but still have the support of a fellow number-9 in Tammy Abraham or Olivier Giroud. Intestingly though, having Kai Havertz operate high up the field – almost next to his fellow German, could be the most effective option. This would allow for Hakim Ziyech and one of Callum Hudson-Odoi or Christian Pulisic to take the wide positions and utilise their playmaking and creative ability by coming inside as they so regularly do.
The pivot in midfield would be an area to consider too, it’s likely that N’Golo Kanté would slot in comfortably and would be in his ideal position in a two-man midfield which he found so much success within under both Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte. With the wide players operating very centrally, just ahead of the pivot, this can leave space empty out-wide. Chelsea’s strong wing-back partners of Reece James and Ben Chilwell push-up very high though, which suits the system down to a tee.
I’m no tactical expert, so I won’t attempt to delve deep into Ralph Hasenhüttl’s system but I’ve offered my thoughts based on what I’ve seen of his Southampton side in the Premier League. It seems pretty clear that his style of play, combined with the personnel already at Chelsea, could match up perfectly. It’s worth considering too that he’s previously worked with the likes of Timo Werner during his successful stint with RB Leipzig.
The only complication here is that the Austrian isn’t actually available. He’s obviously employed at Southampton so not only would Chelsea need to tempt him away from his project at The Saints but they’d also be required to pay a fairly hefty compensation fee to the St Mary’s club. We’ve seen in the past though with both Mauricio Pochettino and Marco Silva that this doesn’t tend to be a block when a ‘bigger’ club comes in to pinch Southampton’s gaffer.
Written by @danbarkzr