In the first nine matches under Thomas Tuchel, Chelsea has conceded only two goals (one of which being an Antonio Rudiger own goal) and has yet to concede at Stamford Bridge. While leaving some disgruntled with the current style of play, the Blues have regained a resilience and steel that has been missing for a while now. Since Roman Abramovich’s acquisition of the club in 2003, much of Chelsea’s identity stemmed from a “siege mentality” boasting the most intimidating defenses in Europe while having an arrogance and swagger in attack.
In recent seasons, it would seem that DNA has been lost. 2017 under Antonio Conte is really the last time Chelsea had the personality which has become synonymous with them in the modern Premier League era. It finally looks like Stamford Bridge will once again become a fortress and with fans expected to return either near the end of the season or the beginning of the next this bodes well for the future.
Now that the unceremonious circumstances of Tuchel’s appointment are in the past, it would be fair to say that the club made the right decision. Despite all of Frank Lampard’s hard work, he inherited a squad and situation far too difficult for someone of his managerial experience. While Lampard is Chelsea through and through, Tuchel has observed the club from the outside for the past two decades. He understands the club’s reputation amongst Europe’s elite and what got them to the dance.
There were coaches in the past such as Andre Villas-Boas and Maurizio Sarri, who attempted to completely strip Chelsea of their principles and play a completely different style which didn’t end well. Tuchel understands in order to make the side amongst the best again he must first fix the defense and build from there. In today’s game, there are a lot of sides being lorded for breaking or creating records. It must not be forgotten that Liverpool were almost 30 games off Chelsea’s record of longest run unbeaten at home and Manchester City this past weekend has already conceded more goals than Chelsea’s 2004/05 title winning side. When Tuchel vowed to build a team ‘that nobody wants to play against’ he did not take those words lightly.
So, with the defensive framework in place, Tuchel must now look further up the pitch and get the Blues firing. However, this is easier said than done. Chelsea is in one of the most unique club situations in world football as they have a surplus of attacking talent. What makes this situation even more difficult for a coach is that there is no a starting three who stand out and are guaranteed starters. Tuchel has to choose from eight potential world class attackers for only three roles in addition to this the same three must be given a run of games. This is no means an easy task and come the summer some big decisions must be made over the future of a couple of these stars.
When considering this, on surface level speculation of Erling Haaland to Chelsea may seem to cause more of a problem. However, the signing of Haaland could present the perfect solution. If Chelsea are to sign the Norwegian marksman it will be in the region of one hundred million dollars. So, the club will need to offload talent in order to fund this. In addition, Chelsea could offer a player as part exchange to sweeten the deal and lower the fee. The acquisition of Haaland could result in three players leaving the club in the opposite direction. Also, there will be no uncertainty to the position of Haaland he is undoubtedly a number nine.
Heading into next season Chelsea could have the most solid defense in Europe alongside one of the most prolific strikers at the other end of the pitch such a proposition is frightening. However, Tuchel must secure top four for this dream to become even a faint possibility.