Chelsea Collumn: Can Tuchel change the Blues’ Fortunes?
It wouldn’t be a season in the Abramovich era without a good ol’ manager sacking. It was Frank Lampard who was the latest in a very long line of managers who have lost their job at Chelsea in recent years. So, while I would love to spend time talking about how Chelsea played this month, this is a bit more important.
What went wrong for Lampard?
There was a lot of pressure on Frank’s back going into this season. After doing so well in his first season in charge, naturally any club would want him to improve the next season. Abramovich put a lot of money into the team this season and after spending £220 million in the summer transfer window, the expectation was that it would’ve converted into better results.
The start of the season looked a little shaky, but when Chelsea hit their stride in October and November, you could be forgiven for thinking that Chelsea had a chance of the Premier League title this year. But of course, in the old Chelsea way, we had one nagging issue. A striker who couldn’t score.
Despite the money spent, not all the players hit the ground running, most notable were Kai Havertz and Timo Werner. Combined they cost the club £112 million pounds, yet they have yet to really show their true potential.
With this issue and the fact that Pulisic and Ziyech have been injured, it made it near impossible for Frank decide what his best starting XI is. We have seen Giroud and Abraham come into the side, with Werner looking lost on the left wing. Sometime Havertz has played out on the right instead of Hudson-Odoi.
The midfield has also been a mismatch with players coming in and going out of the starting line-up all the time. This uncertainty over what is the best starting XI has caused results to dip and ultimately cost Frank his job.
Should Frank have been given more time?
When a lot of new players come into a team at the same time, it is natural for some to adjust quicker than others. It is also natural that a manager should be given time to adjust his set-up accordingly to accommodate all these players.
Frank wasn’t able to do that in the last four months and the board grew impatient as Chelsea started to drop down the table.
Frank was building something great at Chelsea. With him, we saw a huge influx of academy players come into the first team. It’s something that might not have happened under other managers. Also, with the players he has brought it, it was further contributing to the longevity of this squad.
There is no doubt that Chelsea’s squad is destined for great things and I do believe that Frank was close to completing the puzzle. However, the board stepped in and told him to put it away and go to bed.
How’s things been under Tuchel so far?
It’s hard to say as he has only been in charge for a week and, in that time, he’s managed two games, but there are certainly things of note already.
It’s clear that possession football is going to be the way forward under Tuchel. We saw immediately against Wolves that Chelsea were keen to hold onto the ball and pass it nicely between ourselves.
Now I won’t lie, but that game against Wolves was a very boring watch and not the hit the ground running performance that I wanted to see from a team with a new manager. However, I must accept that what we saw was just an early version of the football that is to come.
A few days later, Chelsea played Burnley and yet again it was possession football that dominated. However, unlike the Wolves game, Chelsea were a bit more eager to get the ball forward.
Mason Mount was left out of the Wolves game and return with a bang against Burnley. Him and Callum Hudson-Odoi were linking up very nicely and they were both able to create a lot of opportunities. Opportunities that were irritatingly missed by Timo Werner.
In the end it was two defenders that won the game. Azpilicueta showed his goal scoring prowess by bagging one just before half-time, while Marcos Alonso stunned us all with a sensational volley which secured Tuchel’s first win in charge.
What next under Tuchel?
I am looking forward to seeing what Tuchel can do with this team in the last five months of the season. There is no doubt that it is going to be tough to get Chelsea in the top four, yet alone reignite any hopes of a title challenge.
Whether fans like it or not, this is the start of a new era at Chelsea and we will just have to wait and see what it brings.
Like I have already said, this squad is incredible, but the main pressure on Tuchel is for him to find a system that allows Werner and Havertz to thrive and start making a real contribution to the team. We all know what they are capable of and hopefully Tuchel can be the manager to bring them back to their best.
Chelsea’s next game is against Tottenham, and it is the first real test for Tuchel as the new Chelsea manager. Spurs have be in a slump at the moment, but Jose will always want to get one up over his old club.
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I expect the same system of 3 at the back and two holding midfielders to continue, but I am interested to see if he will change anything to the attack after it got no goals in the last two games. With Jose likely to sit back and defend in this game, it’s more important than ever for Chelsea’s attack to be at it’s best.
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