The new Chelsea manager started out his tenure with a bang. Drawing the first game by establishing a forgotten, but very efficient system, and winning in very dominant style his second game. Thomas Tuchel has proven that he isn’t afraid of changing things within the squad to get results. But he may be playing with fire by permanently bringing Marcos Alonso and Antonio Rudiger.
To begin, one must discuss the biggest of the three elephants in the room, Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard had completely lost his place under Frank Lampard. After the acquisition of Ben Chilwell, it was clear either Alonso or Emerson would stay, but only as backups. After several games of trying to get in the side, Alonso was frozen out. With Emerson becoming the new back up at the left back position, the Spaniard’s were all but numbered.
However, come the Burnley game, Alonso is selected, and to start the match non the less. A surprise to everyone watching. Despite the doubts, Alonso played really well in his proffered left wingback position. And even got himself a typical “golazo” that only he can score. This could arguably be one of the biggest comebacks by any player.
The second elephant in the room is Antonio Rudiger. Last season and large part of this season, Rudiger was frustrating to watch. Made mistakes all around and made life more complicated for his teammates. Which is why Kurt Zouma took over as the main center back, and Rudiger was meant to fight for the back-up position with Andreas Christensen. However, in the past two games, Rudiger regained his confidence. He was solid with his partnership with Thiago Silva, and put a wall in front of Burney.
With that being said, Tuchel, by placing such trust in these players, is playing with fire. His management tactics worked, both on and on the field. He accomplished a very important result for the team. And he created more competition than ever within the squad. This, of course, is not adding to the “new manager effect” where players perform at their best at the beginning the tenure of the new manager.
Unfortunately for Tuchel, the players in question cannot be trusted in the long run. Both Alonso and Rudiger have too many ups and downs. Although they are playing in their preferred positions and formations, their performances are bound to drop sooner rather than later.
Although the manager has plenty of replacement options, this may cause those “replacements” to lose faith in the manager. The perfect examples are Chilwell and Zouma whom have been excellent. So much so that is puzzling to see them on the bench. These two players have earned their spot over their counterparts. If the manager wants to win in the long-term, they need to start.
Furthermore, if the prediction should come to pass, Tuchel will have to drop them as everyone else has. This, of course, will only start the process of players turning on the manager again. Or even provoking discontent between the squad.
Allowing these players back in the squad, and in such a forceful and surprising manner was a mistake. In reality Tuchel should have kept these players where they were, on the margin. But now, the flame is out and is up to the manager to juggle it and avoid getting burn.