As the chilly month of December started the race for the title seemed to be a close affair. Three weeks ago Chelsea as a title challenger was put into question after a 1-1 draw against Brighton at the Stamford Bridge. Their encounter against the Seagulls made it evident that doubts had started to creep in. Chelsea, who was considered to be a defensive fortress, started to show cracks on the exterior. A draw against Brighton orchestrated the fall which nobody seemed to expect. Now, once again Brighton may have handed the final blow which Chelsea has tried to avoid for the past few weeks.
What has gone wrong for Chelsea?
Tuchel believes that injuries and COVID have significantly dragged down Chelsea. However, a closer look might suggest something else. Chelsea brought Romelu Lukaku once again for a hefty amount. With Timo Werner and Kai Havertz who can lead the team from the front, it is quite hard to see how Lukaku will fit in this squad. Initially, it looked like Tuchel with his system and flexibility will find out a way to link Werner and Lukaku together. But the bitter truth is Chelsea is still figuring out how to use Lukaku. The Belgian striker is one of the most decorated strikers in the history of the Premier League. However, his place in this Chelsea squad does not exist. Lukaku’s recent rift with Tuchel after his comments about his life in London makes this theory more realistic than it initially would have been.
If we look tactically at how Chelsea takes shape on the pitch, their attacking sharpness has degraded with the passage of time. Even in a game for instance against Liverpool, there are certain moments when Chelsea’s attack comes to life. At that point, Chelsea seems to be unstoppable. But once that flair dies Chelsea’s offensive style is average. The moments of Werner, Lukaku, Havertz simply does not exist. Tuchel has improved Chelsea’s Achilles hell i.e. their defensive play but their attacking vision is losing its essence with time.
What is next for Chelsea?
Chelsea currently stands 12 points behind the title holders Manchester City with a possibility of facing a 15 point gap. Sixteen fixtures are left which is the only hope Chelsea has right now. But a team like Manchester City under a tactician like Pep Guardiola is unlikely to give away the buffer which they are destined to enjoy for the upcoming weeks. Chelsea is facing a potential exit with each game week. If Arsenal won their games in hand they will have the same number of points as Chelsea have with the same number of games played. The ambition will certainly change for Chelsea, the realisation of a battle for the top four is coming closer and closer. After Tottenham, Chelsea will have a series of comparatively easy fixtures. The upcoming set of fixtures will decide if Chelsea can once again feature in the Champions League. As things stand UEL is a possibility with the way the Blues are performing. Tuchel needs to bring the best out of his team with the likes of West Ham, Tottenham and Arsenal right on their heels waiting to strike as the right moment arrives.
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