Following Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur and his somewhat theatrical altercation with Antonio Conte following the final whistle, it was obvious that Thomas Tuchel’s body still had some adrenaline in it.
The German coach was unable to maintain perfect stillness in front of the cameras, shifting weight from foot to foot. However, his critique was succinct, straightforward, and—possibly most importantly—emphatically supportive.
The Chelsea head coach expressed his admiration for his team’s performance to the club’s internal media. “The intensity, the framework, the dedication, the discipline, the fighting spirit, and attitude in the face of any adversity. This was genuine hunger and excellence. Being a spectator was just the best.
Many fans were anxious before the game, which was the first at Stamford Bridge this season. In both their Premier League debut against Everton and both of their preseason games, Chelsea played slowly. Tottenham, on the other hand, appeared strong, alert, and completely responsive to Conte’s demands.
But over the course of 90 minutes in sweltering west London, Chelsea’s players put their critics to rest. The main disappointment was that they were unable to win, which was primarily the result of poor officiating but was also brought on by sloppy marking after a Tottenham corner in the closing seconds.
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But being overly tough is unjust. The display was the Blues’ greatest since their ultimately unsuccessful attempts in the August Champions League match against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
The front three of Raheem Sterling, Kai Havertz, and Mason Mount continually gave Tottenham difficulties due to the enormous amount of energy put both in and out of possession.
The trio alternated positions constantly. As shown in the touch map below, Sterling frequently dropped deep or wide, which allowed Havertz to go to the middle. One of Mount’s teammates attackers would move into the space left by the academy grad if Mount felt comfortable moving across the field to receive the ball.
Even though Tottenham used a back three, spaces continued to open up, which made it possible for Jorginho in particular to pass the ball into perilous places on the periphery of the visitors’ penalty area. It’s understandable why Tuchel was ecstatic about what he witnessed.
The finishing touch was all that was still required. That has been an issue for Chelsea for some time, and it all started with the controversial text message Conte wrote to Diego Costa during his first campaign as manager at Stamford Bridge. The striker has never really been replaced by the Blues.
They have indeed made many attempts. Tuchel has also had a chance. Romelu Lukaku was acquired by Chelsea for a club-record £97.5 million from Inter Milan last summer, and the German immediately saw that Chelsea’s assault had become much more predictable as a result of the Belgian’s participation.
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Since then, Lukaku has been loaned back to Inter. Timo Werner left this summer as well, returning to RB Leipzig in a £25 million deal. Chelsea is still interested in adding another forward to Stamford Bridge despite the addition of Armando Broja to the first-team roster.
Tuchel chose Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, which is hardly surprising given how well-liked they were at Borussia Dortmund. But several experts have advised Chelsea to pursue a more prestigious moniker, and if social media is any indication, they are far from alone in this desire.
“I find it hard to believe they chose not to pursue Cristiano Ronaldo. According to Paul Merson of Sky Sports, “He just checks all the boxes Chelsea are missing. “Playing for Chelsea is different from playing for Manchester United, who start at the midway point. Chelsea is at the top of the box and winning matches.
If Chelsea’s wing-backs were to pass the ball to Ronaldo in the box, I shudder to think how many goals he could score. Chelsea’s wing-backs are incredible, and they completely control football games.
Many others also brought up that last issue when Lukaku came. He was seen as Chelsea’s lacklustre clinical edge and a surefire scorer. However, his troubles indicate that adding a goal scorer to Tuchel’s squad does not automatically cure every issue. If anything, it produces more people.
At 37 years old, Ronaldo is unable to push the way Tuchel wants his strikers to. Additionally, the attacking player rotation used against Tottenham would not be as successful.
The Portuguese superstar’s salary, size, and ego are just a few off-field factors that have caused problems for the new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag this summer.
The best player to ever play the game is Ronaldo, if not the best. That is beyond question. But the fact that other teams aren’t lining up to lure him away from Manchester United this summer says it all and shows that many coaches place more weight on a team’s statistical strength than a player’s undeniable genius.
Tuchel reportedly put a halt to Chelsea’s pursuit of Ronaldo early this summer, and the team’s performance against Tottenham this week made clear why. Yes, the last third requires more ruthlessness, but Tuchel’s tactical strategy must not be sacrificed. The first box that has to be checked is always that.