In recent months, Chelsea has been one of the most in-form teams in European soccer. The start of the season was average at best with a mixed set of results. This ultimately cost former Chelsea legend Frank Lampard the manager’s job at the end of January. His replacement was the former PSG manager, Thomas Tuchel. The German has had a major impact since being in the role with Chelsea now in contention for a top-four finish in the league and potentially 2 trophies. In this article, I am going to look at Tuchel’s impact and decide whether Chelsea is now back to being one of Europe’s best sides.
Impact of Thomas Tuchel:
The impact of the German manager cannot be understated. When Tuchel came to the helm Chelsea were languishing in 9th place in the Premier League and had only won one of their last five league games. However, there has been a marked change since his takeover. The London side now sits 4th in the Premier League, are into the FA Cup Final and the Champions League semi-finals. The German has instilled an impressive level of belief in his players and they seem to believe they can beat anyone.
Since Tuchel has been in charge, Chelsea has developed into a defensively dominant side. In the 22 games, Tuchel has been a manager for the London side and has kept an impressive 16 clean sheets. This is a staggering statistic and highlights how hard it is to break down his team. The main positional change he made was switching to a back three with two wing-backs. This has allowed Chelsea to be very solid at the back.
In turn, they can soak up any potential space for their opponents to attack into. With center-backs such as Thiago Silva, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, and Andreas Christensen to choose from it is no surprise Tuchel has improved Chelsea’s defense. If they can be resolute at the back then they are a tough match-up for anyone in European soccer.
Success Against The Big Teams
One of the impressive things this season has been Chelsea’s success against some of the biggest teams in Europe. In recent weeks the blues have beaten Atletico Madrid, Porto, Liverpool, Manchester City and on Tuesday draw away to Real Madrid. The fact that Tuchel has come out on top in tactical battles with Jurgen Klopp, Diego Simeone, Zinedine Zidane, and Pep Guardiola speaks volumes. If they can continue this trend then a second Champions League title could be heading to Stamford Bridge.
One of the benefits for Tuchel has been the wide number of attacking options at his disposal. The strength of the attacking group is phenomenal. With players such as Mason Mount, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud, and Callum Hudson-Odoi there is ridiculous depth. This depth has meant that Chelsea can field a variety of sides without a drop in level. This has also meant that Tuchel can keep his men fresh for their remaining matches this season.
Positive Finish To The Season
With a month or so left of the soccer season, Chelsea finds themselves in a very strong position. They will go into next month’s FA Cup Final as favorites against Leicester City. As mentioned, they are in a strong position in the Premier League to secure a top-four finish. With this top-four finish comes Champions League soccer for next season. The cherry on top of the cake would be if they can pull off a Champions League triumph this season. With the opportunities left for the Blues, this could become a very successful season by its conclusion.