Thomas Tuchel was clear about what cost Chelsea against Leeds United, and it wasn’t the team’s spirit, the Elland Road tactics, or the home team’s aggressive high-pressing style.
‘We gave away an incredibly cheap set-piece, scored an own goal, and then surrendered from it,’ the German said at the pre-game news conference. This has nothing to do with rushing, covering less miles, or the Leeds way of life. These are not to be confused.
We were able to adapt to the playing style, prove that we were the superior side, and lead by one or two goals, but we conceded a goal that had nothing to do with the set piece.
From there, it’s 2-0, and the belief for Leeds is on the top level, and our body language, even in the ten minutes before, was not what it was like in the last match.”
The opening goal was scored by Leeds striker Brenden Aaronson, not the own goal Tuchel was alluding to. However, it was his own fault as Edouard Mendy turned the ball over in his own penalty area, allowing the American to score with a straightforward no-look finish into an open goal.
Since the beginning of 2022, Chelsea has made a painfully high number of defensive errors. And it has caused the nearly impregnable backline constructed early in Tuchel’s tenure to crumble. The Blues gave up 17 goals in his first 30 Premier League games in charge. The subsequent 30 make that number 34.
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The sheer amount of individual mistakes that Chelsea has made since the new year, which are admittedly beyond the 48-year-control, old’s may be even more upsetting. Mendy’s was the sixth and only top-flight restaurant to earn more since Watford was demoted last season (8). Something needs to change right away.
Tuchel’s strange transfer stance
Chelsea’s approach to the transfer market this summer has been disorganised; earlier in the window, it seemed like the Blues were after a different player every other day. Fortunately, things have settled down a bit and the high-value targets are now obvious.
Frenkie de Jong, a midfielder for Barcelona, is one of them. The Dutchman has been linked with a £60 million departure from Camp Nou over the summer as the La Liga heavyweights try to adjust their salary structure to accommodate the slew of new players the club has brought in at considerable expenditure.
De Jong has so far resisted, in part due to the fact that he is owed €18 million in deferred earnings and in part because he and his family have made Catalonia their home.
Manchester United and Chelsea, who were certain they could reach an understanding with Barcelona on a transfer cost for the midfielder, are both unhappy by this.
Yet when asked whether a new midfielder was necessary following the loss at Elland Road, particularly considering that N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic are presently sidelined with injuries, Tuchel responded as if the proposal were absurd given the alternatives already available to him at Chelsea.
“A second midfielder? In addition to Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, and Mateo Kovacic, we also have them. They are hurt, which is an issue. However, they’ll be back. They have not vanished.”
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Lukaku’s lightning rod disappears
During the previous season, Romelu Lukaku turned into somewhat of a lightning rod for the discontent of Chelsea fans. Given his ill-advised mid-season comments with Sky Italia and his lacklustre performances in the Premier League after his £97.5 million transfer from Inter Milan, it must be said that the Belgian was somewhat to blame for that.
However, because of the crowd backlash and criticism Lukaku received, the Chelsea attack’s other underwhelming players received little attention. This season, it is not the case because Timo Werner was transferred to RB Leipzig and the attacker is back at Inter Milan on loan.
Kai Havertz is currently in the limelight to a great extent. The German, who joined Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2020 after leaving Bayer Leverkusen for £71 million, has experienced incredible highs. In the 2021 Champions League final, he scored the game-winning goal, and in the 2022 Club World Cup final, he converted the game-winning penalty. These goals are indelible in the club’s history.
However, Havertz can no longer survive off of those fantastic Chelsea jersey moments. He has to develop into the completed article, the forward who can be counted on every single week. And the German international understood he had to achieve that during the club’s summer preseason tour of the United States.
Football requires a lot of consistency because we play every three days and need to maintain a high standard, according to Havertz. “I also have a responsibility to play consistently and score as many goals as I can in every game.
“It’s common to lower a level for a game occasionally. The club can’t constantly expect to score five goals every time out. For me, consistency is a key issue, therefore I make an effort to improve it.”
Added him: “A striker should always value having the head coach’s support. I’m still young, so I need the coach’s faith and trust—sometimes even through difficult situations. In the past few years, he has consistently placed that faith in me. Hopefully that holds true for this season as well. I want to earn back the trust in every game.”