Chelsea have a lot to fix as the race for the top four heats up

Defensive frailties, lack of firepower and no plan B… Chelsea’s bad habits returned during shock West Brom defeat and Thomas Tuchel must turn things around quickly to avoid disaster AGAIN against Porto

  • Thomas Tuchel was unbeaten in his first 14 games as Chelsea head coach
  • But they were thrashed 5-2 by West Brom after Thiago Silva was sent off 
  • Fights, lack of goals and defensive frailties have left question marks for Tuchel 
  • The manager needs to turn things around ahead of what is a crucial period 
  • They face Porto on Wednesday before returning attention to the top-four race 

Saturday’s match against West Brom was supposed to be a routine one for Chelsea. They were unbeaten in 14 and had conceded just twice in that period. A match against Sam Allardyce’s 19th-placed side wasn’t supposed to create too much difficulty.

And they were 1-0 up after 27 minutes when Christian Pulisic scored his first goal under Tuchel. But it all went wrong two minutes later when Thiago Silva was sent off for a second bookable offence. 

Given their recent form and their defensive record, you’d still expect 10 men to handle a West Brom side who had won just three games all season. But the 5-2 hammering brought back old habits reminiscent of Frank Lampard’s side that won just eight of the first 19 games of the season. And it’s happened at the most crucial part of their campaign. 

Thomas Tuchel’s 14-match unbeaten run in his Chelsea tenure came to an embarrassing end

And Tuchel needs to fix it fast. So delicate is their situation, that their next four games could see them knocked out of two tournaments and out of the top four in the league.

So what areas left Tuchel’s side exposed and in real danger of the worst-case scenario happening in the next two weeks? 


While it might have been risky to start 36-year-old Thiago Silva after a two-month lay-off, it’s difficult to defend the manner in which he picked up the yellow that saw him leave the field after just 29 minutes.

But it’s just as difficult to defend why, even after Andreas Christiansen came on at the expense of an attacking player, they conceded five goals, and it’s the manner of them that would’ve caused sleepless nights.

To provide context to the enormity of that failure, it’s just the second time in Chelsea’s Premier League history that they’ve shipped five goals at home. 

It was the first time that Chelsea had conceded goals at Stamford Bridge under Tuchel’s tenure, and Mbaye Diagne’s goal that made it 4-1, in which there were five Chelsea players behind the ball, was of particular concern.   

Chelsea were winning 1-0 when Thiago Silva was sent off for a second bookable offence


Chelsea have scored the least amount of goals in the top six, but it’s to no surprise if your star striker has only scored twice in his last 32 appearances.

Timo Werner already came into this fixture short of confidence after missing a sitter in Germany’s shock 2-1 defeat by North Macedonia, and it’s now just five goals in 24 league appearances for the 25-year-old.

Once again he spurned what appeared to be a straightforward opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net in the 71st minute against West Brom, and a lot more would’ve been said about it if he wasn’t able to then set up Mason Mount for the goal.

But where else can the goals come from? Olivier Giroud has been in excellent form in the Champions League, but he’s used sparingly in the league, starting just eight times.

Tammy Abraham is another who doesn’t appear to have won over Tuchel – he was left out of the squad altogether on the weekend, and he’ll be scratching his head as to how he can work his way back into the fold.

German striker Timo Werner has scored just two goals in his last 32 games for club and country


Speaking to the BBC after the match, Tuchel said that ‘we could not adapt to the situation… we are normally confident enough to defend’.  

Despite going down to 10 men, Tuchel opted to keep the same shape and stick to three centre backs, and he continued to stick to that plan despite being 2-1 down at half-time. 

The lack of tactical imagination suggested that there’s no escape plan if things aren’t going their way.


One thing that wasn’t surprising about Saturday’s defeat was that N’Golo Kante was greatly missed. The midfielder was injured on international duty for France and could be out for the next three matches.

Kante has found some of his best, title-winning form in recent months, but the same can’t be said for the likes of Jorginho, who gave away the ball that led to Silva’s sending off, as well as making the error that led to West Brom’s second goal. 

N’Golo Kante could be out of action for Chelsea’s next three games with a hamstring injury


Player clashes preceded Frank Lampard’s exit and Antonio Rudiger was forced to deny that he played any part in his sacking, but it’s reared its ugly head once again, with reports that Rudiger was asked to end his training session early on Sunday after a clash with Kepa Arrizabalaga.

A bust-up as public as this is an unwanted distraction for Tuchel, who will no doubt be asked to explain it in the Porto pre-match press conference on Tuesday. 

According to the Athletic, Tuchel did all the talking in his debriefing session with the players and flagged numerous individual errors at length. Only time will tell if that’s dented self-belief to the point that it will affect future performances. 

Antonio Rudiger was asked to leave training early on Sunday for a clash with Kepa Arrizabalaga

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article