At 12:30pm, UK time, Antonio Conte will coach Chelsea in a giant Premier League match against Manchester City.
After the game is over, he might catch a plane and coach Barcelona in El Clásico.
No, Luis Enrique has not been fired out of nowhere and the Italian will manage two teams; it's just that according to the latest reports coming out of Catalonia, Luis Enrique might surprise all of us by using Antonio Conte's scheme against Real Madrid. How would that work? Can it work?
The change will be singular: Samuel Umtiti in the starting lineup, replacing Ivan Rakitic. With that change, Javier Mascherano will move from center-back to right-back, and Sergi Roberto would go from right-back to midfield. And then, with one change, Luis Enrique may introduce us to his version of Conte's 3-4-3 if necessary.
Enrique has used three at the back this season, and it's not a coincidence that Barça had their best performances in La Liga with that formation (at Leganés and against Deportivo La Coruña). With Mascherano at RB, Lucho had the option of playing him in a conventional full-back position, or move him centrally to partner Gerard Piqué and Umtiti, sending the left-back forward and forcing the right midfielder to be a right wingback. All of a sudden, it's a 3-4-3, Lionel Messi and Neymar play more centrally to overload the middle of the pitch, and Barça dominate both matches.
Against Manchester City, another very good performance from Barça, Mascherano was a true RB, but there was always the chance we'd see a 3-4-3 thanks to the Argentine's versatility. The defense was solid, but there was width on the pitch and freedom for Messi and Neymar to move wherever they wanted. It's just a good idea that fits the squad.
Will Enrique try it in El Clásico? That's a possibility. It makes sense to defend Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo with Roberto AND Mascherano on the right side, and a 3-4-3 would allow that to happen. Plus, with Umtiti in the middle, you get a monster to battle with Karim Benzema who's fast enough run out to the flank and stop Lucas Vázquez if necessary.
Going forward, Jordi Alba and Roberto are good options for width, and Messi would be able to pick up both of their overlapping runs if Leo plays more centrally, something a 3-4-3 would allow without hurting the width, which is what usually happens when Messi leaves the right wing to join midfield. Neymar would have Iniesta and Alba to combine again, plus the option to change positions with Suárez since they'd be closer. Again, it fits. It makes sense.
We've seen over the years that Enrique isn't afraid to change things up on big games. Remember when Pedro played right-back against PSG? That worked to perfection, and that might happen again if the players are really aware of their jobs in a possible 3-4-3.
It's important to note this is not just some dream I'm having, it's a real possibility that has been discussed in Spain. Most previews see Barça on a classic 4-3-3, Zinedine Zidane is certainly expecting that, and then we might just see Luis Antonio Enrique Conte shocking us all and being smart. It is due.