Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the weekend was a result of a tactical change that has been in the works for some time. The Blues have been playing with three defenders, and their new manager Thomas Tuchel put his faith in the system to beat the Gunners.
Chelsea have taken advantage of Thomas Tuchel’s tactical tweak to display Premier League title credentials. Read more in detail here: chelsea transfer news today 2021.
LONDON, United Kingdom — Thomas Tuchel isn’t one of Chelsea’s most costly acquisitions, but he demonstrated in Sunday’s 3-0 Premier League victory against Tottenham that he is quickly establishing himself as one of the club’s finest.
The transition from Champions League champions to Premier League title challengers requires the kind of tactical brilliance Tuchel displayed in turning a close game into an easy victory.
Like course, having a player of N’Golo Kante on the bench as a half-time replacement with the game scoreless helps, but Tuchel saw an opening and took Mason Mount off the field, altering his 3-4-2-1 formation in an intervention from which Spurs never recovered.
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Tuchel is one of the few Chelsea managers who has fully embraced the game’s harsh ethos. He is keenly aware of the character of teams constructed remorselessly for success after a harsh dismissal at Paris Saint-Germain last year — on Christmas Eve, no less — As a result, the 48-year-old exudes the zeal of someone who isn’t interested in waiting to win and prefers to live in the now.
He arrived, saw, and substituted against Tottenham. Tuchel stood in the visitors’ technical area for most of the first half, clearly irritated by poor decision-making in the final third. Tottenham’s persistent early press, which tormented Chelsea’s back three and central midfield pair into errors that delighted a boisterous home crowd, contributed to some of the jumbled thinking.
Mount was a particular target of Tuchel’s wrath, especially halfway through the first quarter when he checked back to keep possession rather than risking a counter-attack by driving forward. This came after a previous incident in which delaying his pass to Romelu Lukaku thwarted another breakaway.
Even though it was the second Saturday in a row that Tuchel made a half-time substitution after Saul Niguez’s disastrous debut against Aston Villa, Mount’s substitution was surprising. The message he conveyed, though, was perhaps the most significant.
“It seemed like we altered the system, but all we did was play it with more belief, intensity, quality, and sharpness,” Tuchel remarked. “In the first half, it was just too sloppy and not crisp enough. In the first half, we relied too much on our skillful play. We failed to bring the appropriate mindset and enthusiasm to this match.
Chelsea’s last excellent victory was largely down to Thomas Tuchel’s tactics and Thiago Silva’s brilliance. Getty
“This has to change, and if you have N’Golo on the bench and want to step up in certain sections of the game, he’s the ideal guy to come on because he’s unique and can alter any momentum,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.
“So the adjustment looked to be a little more defensive in terms of qualities, but we wanted to enhance our compactness, ball wins, and team spirit.” The effect was nearly instantaneous. Kante was moved deeper in midfield than Mount in the rearrangement, giving Chelsea a greater chance of avoiding the Tottenham onslaught. The visiting team took the lead only four minutes into the second session.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had just pushed Marcus Alonso’s stunning volley over the bar, but the left wing-following back’s corner found an unmarked Thiago Silva, who planted a header into the net. It was the highlight of another strong performance by the Brazilian defender, who turns 37 next week.
Chelsea were frustrated in their pursuit of Sevilla’s Jules Kounde over the summer, opting not to pay the centre-€80 back’s million release clause despite Kurt Zouma joining West Ham, but their remaining defenders can be vindicated by Silva’s performance here, defying a pace mismatch with Son Heung-Min Son through exquisite positioning and commanding a reasonably high defensive position.
Meanwhile, Kante isn’t known for his goal-scoring prowess — his strike, which took a wicked deflection off Eric Dier, was only his 12th in more than 200 appearances for Chelsea — but the space he was afforded to line up his shot was further evidence of how Tuchel’s tweak, with Mateo Kovacic shifted slightly to the left, had the home side scrambling.
Two goals in the last eight minutes put the game out of reach. Despite a Thursday trip to Rennes, Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo chose a bold lineup, and the squad started with vigour. However, Kepa Arrizabalaga, who was filling in for the injured Edouard Mendy, was not put to the test, and Nuno subsequently failed to respond as the game shifted around him.
His restricted choices and the risks he took in sending out a patched-up Dier and Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso, two of the three players who spent the week training in Croatia after breaking rules to participate in South American World Cup qualification, provide some mitigation.
Nuno’s eighth game in charge, which he alluded to afterward by blaming “a lack of time for us to work together,” but although such comparisons should be tempered, Tuchel won six, drew two, and maintained five clean sheets in the same time frame, while also executing a clear change in philosophy.
Furthermore, whereas Chelsea was ruthless in replacing club icon Frank Lampard in January, Tottenham pursued a slew of dead ends and changed their minds at least once before deciding on Nuno as Jose Mourinho’s full-time replacement. Improvement is urgently needed, not least in light of Harry Kane’s wish to move on.
An afternoon that began with a shared grief over the death of Jimmy Greaves, one of the game’s greatest goal scorers who played for both Tottenham and Chelsea, ended with a huge chasm between the two sides, teeing up the Blues for their clash with champions Manchester City next Saturday and leaving Nuno with mounting questions to answer ahead of the North London derby against Arsenal the following day.
The travelling Chelsea supporters chanted, “Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happened again,” following another triumph over their old enemies. Tuchel was responsible this time.
Chelsea have been in a good run of form recently. They are currently sitting in third place and will be looking to keep their title credentials up with the help of Thomas Tuchel’s tactical tweak. Reference: chelsea transfer news haaland.
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