With his Chelsea side well-established as possessing a solid defence, Thomas Tuchel has been considering the question of whether it is the right time to tweak it overall to increase the attacking potential.
The Blues have carried on where we left off at the end of last season in racking up clean sheets and being among the meanest for allowing opposition goals.
Already in 2021/22 we have accumulated six shut-outs and our goals conceded is the joint lowest in the Premier League.
Knowing the side when playing up to its usual standard is unlikely to let in many goals, does that give licence for some experimentation in how we take on sides at the other end of the pitch?
‘We're always thinking about it, but is it really a tactical or technical thing?’ Tuchel questions.
‘Does it have less value that we are a difficult team to play against compared with being a team that always easily scores three goals? Who always scores easy anyway?
‘We can take this step [of changing how the team attacks] when we are fully convinced, and when it is the right moment to put more offensive players, but the game is also about balance and we found the balance.
‘The main point is that we stay active and aggressive no matter what structure we play and that the guys help each other on the field. I think that we can create chances in any kind of structure.’
Tuchel points out there are a lot of reasons to stay with the current team structure and to concentrate on refining the play within that rather than make radical changes.
‘You can also score from counter-attacks and from ball wins,’ he adds. ‘Creating chances against the opponent who's defending deep, and a lot of teams are defending deep against us at the moment, it's maybe the most difficult thing. So we're looking for solutions. That's why we're here. One solution could be to change formation to put more offensive players. Let’s see.’
One of the attacking players at his disposal is Kai Havertz who ended last season with a big bang and began this one well, but has been selected less often recently.
‘Kai does everything to reach his level again and we do everything to help him, and he is an important player for our squad,’ says the head coach.
‘He was very strong in pre-season, he started strong in the season, the story has not changed. But he lacks the statistics of decisive things – goals and assists - and he needs to fight his way back into the team.
‘This can happen any time. We trust in him and we believe in him and the rest has to come from him. He's in a good shape, he's in a good mental state, he knows what he's fighting for, and that's the situation right now.’