When Thomas Tuchel started his role as Chelsea’s head coach, the Blues were languishing at ninth position. But after their impressive victory over the current Premier League champion, Liverpool, they are back in the top four. Now Chelsea looks like a team that is well and truly back in the race for the Champions League positions.
Not many would have expected Tuchel to have such an impact early on his Chelsea career. The results so far of the busy period that started with a trip to Southampton have been pretty nice for the Blues. Even though it started with a disappointing draw to the Saints, they soon bounced back by defeating Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16. That result was soon followed by another draw against Manchester United, who has made a habit of grinding out goalless draws against the traditional top six sides. With both teams looking to finish inside the top four, it was a result that did not damage the Blues’ top four ambitions, even though a win would have represented a significant impact.
That significant impact was achieved at the home of the champions. Despite the scoreline of 1-0, it was an absolutely impressive performance from the Tuchel’s men. Many players—including the goal scorer Mason Mount—put on a fantastic display. The fact that it was Liverpool’s fifth consecutive home loss should not take anything from what Chelsea achieved last Thursday. One only needs to look at how it ended at the Emirates Stadium when the Blues faced Arsenal, who was in very bad form at that time, to see that against the top six, form seldom matters.
How important was the win over Liverpool?
Victory over Liverpool was monumental, not just in its impact on the team, but it was also a significant three points over fellow top four aspirants that allowed Chelsea to keep up with other sides. The scenes at the final whistle showed how much mutual respect and admiration is there at the moment between the players and coach.
The man management of Tuchel has been really impressive since the start of his time in charge. Unlike Lampard in 2020/21, Tuchel has used his squad according to the opponents and their style. In the meantime, he has also made sure most of the squad have had the chance to make an impact. Almost everyone seems to have a chance to start any match, which was not the case with Lampard. Players like Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have embraced their opportunity with both hands.
There is nevertheless a long way to go to guarantee anything. The Blues are still in the Champions League and the FA Cup and they are still in contention to finish inside the top four. It is all about seizing each competition one at a time.
Up next for the boys in blue are fellow top four hopefuls, Everton. A loss to the Toffees in early December was the beginning of the end for Lampard and the Blues will now be out for blood. With Carlo Ancelloti’s side having a game in hand, a victory at Stamford Bridge will go a long way in ensuring the Toffees stay a considerable distance below and Chelsea’s target in the league is within reach.