April 19, 2021

Man Utd

News

Thomas Tuchel’s appointment has worked so far but Chelsea’s attackers need to be more clinical  

2 min read

Chelsea are becoming an increasingly influential player in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain all interested in the 20-year-old Norwegian.

And analysing manager Thomas Tuchel’s first six weeks at Chelsea, it is easy to understand why the club feel a centre forward is a priority, even after spending £47million on Timo Werner last summer.

Tuchel’s appointment has been a success story so far, winning seven and drawing three of his first 10 games. In this time, his defensive prowess has been lauded, as his Chelsea side have conceded only twice since his appointment. However, alongside the praise has been some criticism, suggesting that the German’s style is too defensive.

Chelsea have improved under Thomas Tuchel but his side must be more clinical in front of goal

Chelsea have improved under Thomas Tuchel but his side must be more clinical in front of goal

Chelsea's attackers such as Timo Werner get into good positions but aren't being ruthless

Chelsea’s attackers such as Timo Werner get into good positions but aren’t being ruthless 

There is some merit to these comments. The former PSG man has settled on a more traditionally defensive formation with three centre-backs, providing more solidity in front of Edouard Mendy. However, this change has clearly paid dividends when you compare the defensive statistics of Tuchel’s Chelsea to Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.

Currently, Chelsea press higher with a better success rate, as well as allowing fewer shots against them, which come from more speculative distances on average. Every underlying stat, as well as the all important ‘goals conceded’ statistic, points towards a defensive improvement under Tuchel.

The criticism regarding offensive also has some foundation in truth — Chelsea have failed to score more than two goals in any game since Tuchel’s arrival and the manager has claimed that this is the result of ‘a lack of precision, not a lack of opportunities’.

Since Tuchel’s appointment, per game Chelsea have kept higher average possession, and produced more key passes, final third entries, penalty area entries and shots than they did prior to his arrival. This disproves the idea of a ‘defensive’ style of play, as the Blues are currently getting into advanced positions more than they were under Lampard.

It's easy to see why Chelsea feel that a forward like Erling Haaland is a priority signing

It’s easy to see why Chelsea feel that a forward like Erling Haaland is a priority signing

Overall, the praise for Chelsea’s defensive improvement under Tuchel is well-warranted but the attacking criticism requires some nuance. The Blues are not ‘more defensive’ under Tuchel, regularly finding themselves in more advanced positions than they did under Lampard.

Should their forwards take better advantage of those chances, Chelsea might even be title contenders again.  

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