3. A grit of old has returned
One of the things that used to make Chelsea special was this grit the team had. They could be losing in a must win match and no one ever truly felt like they couldn’t get back into things. They simply kept pushing for the result.
More and more in previous seasons, that has been absent. Going behind or really any struggle in a match caused shoulders to sag and heads to drop. Going behind felt like the end of the match for the Blues because they simply lacked the tenacity to turn things around.
That has shifted under Tuchel. One could say the Blues have been “dominant” in games but that is really only equaling more possession. The truth is that the Blues have yet to put in a truly dominant performance with Tuchel yet they are winning all the same. There is always the belief that they can win and they show the same energy in minute 90 to push ahead as they did in minute one.
A lot of that has to do with the improved mood that comes with a new manager but this time it just feels different. Whether it stays or not will be key to Tuchel’s success but so far so good with looking like a team that always has the desire in them.
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4. The Have’s and the Have Not’s are very much a thing
One of the sticking points that saw Frank Lampard sacked was how he treated certain players. He had talked about meritocracy and for much of his tenure that was there, but by then end he had players that were have’s and players that were have not’s and there was little anyone could do to change that.
Tuchel’s arrival offered new life to those players and that is good. They were finally given their chance to impress. But while doing so, he simply flipped who was a have and a have not.
It is hard to justify too much change when a team is on a run like Chelsea’s, but players like Kurt Zouma, Tammy Abraham, Billy Gilmour, Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz and more have seen their chances completely dry up. Others, such as Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell, are starting to get chances which hints at something more but overall it looks as those Chelsea traded one hierarchy for the exact opposite.
Make no mistake: that is not sustainable as soon as results turn. It’s not sustainable come the summer either when players start angling for moves. Chelsea went from having a clear list of transfer listed players that played little to seeing them all take the pitch a ton. The result will be the ones not playing now will be on the chopping block and that does not set Chelsea up for the long term.
Tuchel came in with a reputation for rotation and playing the youth and so far little of either has really been seen. Meritocracy isn’t a thing at Chelsea at the moment and while it is hard to knock when the team is winning, it will be a major fracture if results turn.