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    How Chelsea could line up with Joao Felix?

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    So, there it is. Joao Felix has temporarily been released from the shackles of Diego Simeone and into the welcoming arms of Graham Potter he goes.

    Chelsea have confirmed the loan arrival of the Portuguese international for the remainder of the season with reports emerging that the Blues have no option to purchase the forward permanently.

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    Atletico have extended Felix’s contract and with Simeone rumoured to leave at the end of the 2022/23 season, he could return to the Spanish capital and lead the club in a post-Cholo world. Felix certainly has the talent to do so.

    Right now, though, our focus resides with the 23-year-old’s possible impact in west London. Chelsea desperately need attacking reinforcements this month and they’ve snagged a pretty good one in Felix. However, the player’s profile combined with Potter’s fetish for switching systems every eight-and-a-half minutes means it’s tough to project how exactly Chelsea will line up with Felix in the side.

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    Here are some possibilities.

    A 4-3-3 appears to be Potter’s ideal. He wants to transform Chelsea into a 4-3-3 side akin to Arsenal and Manchester City, but injuries and his current squad have prevented him from using this system regularly.

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    Should the Blues adopt a 4-3-3 during the second half of the season, Felix will likely function as the lone striker, thus usurping Kai Havertz in the side. There’s no doubt that the January arrival is a distinct upgrade on the languid German, but Felix requires specific profiles around him to excel as a number nine. He’s essentially a number ten operating as a striker.

    Felix needs runners beyond him because he’ll constantly search for the ball to feet. He won’t run in behind himself and will instead attempt to combine with teammates between the lines.

    Nevertheless, Felix should thrive in Chelsea’s front line considering how much of the ball they typically have. It’s tough to make sense of his struggles under Simeone, but a simple explanation is that he didn’t get on the ball enough. That shouldn’t be the case in west London despite their recent woes.

    Moreover, the possibility of Felix playing out wide in Potter’s 4-3-3 is intriguing. The 23-year-old boasts the guile and quality to shine down the wing, even if it isn’t his ideal function.

    Possible options

    Pulisic – Felix – Sterling
    Felix – Havertz – Sterling

    Felix made a name for himself at Benfica while operating off a bona fide number nine. During the 2018/19 season, the Portuguese star thrived playing off veteran forwards Jonas and Haris Seferovic.

    Unfortunately, Chelsea aren’t blessed with a reliable target man, but the 4-2-3-1 with Felix functioning as a number ten/second striker is an option Potter must consider.

    This is where we’ll see the January arrival’s supreme technical quality manifest. He’s the creative spark the Blues need, but his ability to serve others could be limited should Potter utilise him as a number nine.

    Possible options

    Pulisic – Felix – Sterling
    Havertz

    Potter frequently used a back three during his Brighton tenure and that trend hasn’t changed since he took over at Chelsea. The Blues’ configurations in possession are often hard to decipher, but Potter likes his side to build with a back three. Occasionally, it’ll look like a 3-3-1-3 formation with the ball.

    Nevertheless, Felix seems like a good fit for the 3-4-2-1 system. Here, he can operate in as one of the number tens functioning off either Havertz or the disgruntled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The loanee would suit the left-sided creative role in this set-up, but width will be required from wing-back to ensure Felix thrives inside.

    Ben Chilwell’s return would be huge down the left.

    Anyway, this system allows Felix to drift infield, operate from the half-space, and combine between the lines with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Havertz and Mason Mount. Sterling’s inclusion in this front three is pivotal as he’s the outlet capable of stretching defences.

    Possible options

    Felix – Sterling
    Havertz

    Felix – Sterling
    Aubameyang

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