• Raheel Khan

Thomas Tuchel: Re-energised Chelsea look likely to finish in the Top 4

A little over two-weeks have now passed since the ‘cold-hearted’ sacking of club legend Frank Lampard. Thomas Tuchel was appointed less than 24 hours later and was informed that he had to hit the ground running by the Chelsea board and Marina Granovskaia, and it’s fair to say he has.

With first place now looking more than unlikely, Chelsea as the table stands are now one-point behind champions Liverpool who sit uncomfortably in fourth position after getting thrashed by league leaders Manchester City.

The Blues already look sharper and are playing some great football. They have shown that they can unscrew tight defences, with the midfield pivot of Kovacic and Jorginho so far exhibiting how press-resistant the pair really are. And of course, Timo Werner is looking lively, as Tuchel tries to reignite his fellow German. Another reason why Chelsea might’ve brought him in; with both Kai Havertz and Werner under-performing.

Even though the sacking of Frank Lampard was merciless, the decision has since been justified by the instant change of form and the lift of morale through the club. Lampard failed to utilise the depth of quality he possessed and ultimately that was his downfall, for it is a results business after all.

As it stands, Thomas Tuchel has had a near-perfect start to his Stamford Bridge reign, totalling a possible 10-points from 12, in comparison to Lampard who got seven points from eight games. Chelsea are now back in the race for Champions League football as if they weren’t already prior to the sacking but they do look more likely.

Since the ex-Paris Saint Germain boss has taken over, he has managed four matches. His first being against Wolves which ended in a goalless draw. The Blues dominated the game but could not break the deadlock and a chance fell late in the match to Havertz, but his headed effort was cleared off the line.

The manager opted for experience for his first Premier League encounter, though he did express pre-match that it was an “unfair” line-up because he had less than 24 hours to prepare his side; with players such as Mount being left out, but since has been a regular feature for the team.

Tuchel in his second game against Burnley won comfortably, which also saw the return of Marcos Alonso who volleyed home the winner in typical fashion and as a result started over Chilwell against London rivals Tottenham.

Even though the score at full-time against Spurs might’ve suggested a close encounter between fierce rivals ending in a goal to nil victory for visitors Chelsea, it’s fair to say that they thrashed the home-side in all aspects of the game, of course there were a few scares here and there, one good chance falling to Carlos Vinicius who failed to capitalise.

Three days later they faced Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The score ended in Chelsea’s favour but it wasn’t convincing from the away team, Rudiger’s own goal gave the Blades a lifeline, which was stripped away by Werner who’s dribble attempt around Ramsdale resulted in a penalty, after a quick look at the pitch-side monitor by match official Kevin Friend, a mere three minutes after the German centre-half’s blunder.

Despite the own goal, Antonio Rudiger displayed a near-perfect performance and was definitely a man of the match contender.

It’s too early to suggest that Chelsea are back to the side that tends to always feed their hunger for trophies year in and year out, but it sure does seem that Thomas Tuchel has a clear plan in mind of what he wants to transition his side into.

In an interview, the 47-year-old German said that he wants to build a team that will be “feared” across the European continent. A giant statement from Tuchel, who understands that the quality that his team possesses could turn into something great, but only time will tell; that is if he is given time…

The Blues’ next challenge comes in the FA Cup where they face Barnsley. On paper, this should be a fairly straight-forward encounter between an English giant and a Championship side although the Cup never ceases to surprise us with an upset defeat.

Chelsea could sneak back into the top 4 as well if they win against Newcastle in their next league match and Liverpool drop points against Leicester who have not had the best spell of results recently.

However, consistency is key and it only a matter of time where we will witness the end of the honeymoon period and how the Blues can overcome a rough patch – one of the many reasons why Lampard was released of his duties.

Written by Raheel Khan