2. Chelsea isn’t willing to ride the lightning like they were
If one comparison could be made between Lampard and Bielsa, it is that both have no real speed setting. Lampard’s Chelsea played all out and lived more on the fact that they could outscore their opponent than keep them from scoring. It’s why clean sheets were often hard to come by in Lampard’s side, but goals weren’t much of an issue until the very end.
That played out in the last match against Leeds too, as Chelsea had some of the best distance covered numbers against Leeds in the entire league. The Blues played with such an intensity that they caused even Bielsa’s no stop Leeds to need a breather.
And that may have been a small part of the problem. After that match, Chelsea fell apart in the league and eventually Lampard was sacked. Now it’s hard to say the energy used in one match caused fatigue that carried over a month’s worth of form, but the Leeds win felt like the peak for Chelsea physically and mentally. It seemed as though Lampard’s side put everything they had into that match to get a win and when it was done, they had little left to give.
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There are surely other factors involved but it is hard to ignore how stark the change after the Leeds victory was. And obviously the biggest change is the new manager Thomas Tuchel.
Tuchel’s Chelsea isn’t willing to lean into the chaos like Lampard’s Chelsea was. At most, it might be called controlled chaos but even that is a step too far. The Blues are now extremely meticulous on the ball, off the ball, and in the transition from one to the other. They still do a lot of that with intensity but that never comes at the cost of the overall control.
Which makes Leeds an interesting prospect. Lampard had to out crazy Bielsa to beat him, but it might have cost him everything. Tuchel won’t be willing to do that, so can his more controlled approach still get the better of a rabid (albeit, fatigued) Leeds team?