Callum Hudson-Odoi (No. 20) Right wingback, England
Hudson-Odoi was especially instrumental in the reverse fixture, coming in for the second half and playing out of his skin to make sure Chelsea was able to leave with their dignity, even though a win would’ve been preferred. Other than that, Hudson-Odoi has been very good under Tuchel so far. He has been getting stuck in and staying alert defensively, as well as getting into positions to trouble opposition defenses. Reece James still has just a little bit to work on in terms of defense awareness. A little bit. Hudson is still an attacker when Tuchel needs him to be, but for now, this is where he fits in.
Jorginho (No. 5) Central midfielder, Italy
Jorginho has done himself justice not just under Tuchel but for the past 18 months as well. His contribution to the team has been scoffed at because of flaws he can do nothing about. A lot of attention has been drawn to his non-imposing stature, and like Alonso, his lack of pace has made many fans disregard him as a competent footballer. Jorginho is quite intelligent and that intelligence has shown in the way he breaks up play and intercepts intelligently. His ability to retain possession, while, interpreted as one-dimensional passing by some, is extremely valuable in Tuchel’s system. He’s contributed his fair share defensively and while he has flaws, so does every other player in the squad.
Mateo Kovacic (No. 17) Central midfielder, Croatia
Kovacic’s name has popped up for potential Player of the Season. Player of the Season shouts and arguments are best left till – and hear me out – the end of the season. Bringing up such topics now would only create distractions and there are definitely more pressing things to look forward to than end of the season intra-club awards. Kovacic has been outstanding under Tuchel so far and he has given Tuchel everything Tuchel wants from him in that role. Kovacic has been key for Tuchel in recycling possession, breaking the opposition press and transitioning play. Kovacic has even tried to catch opposition defenses off guard with through balls, registering the most through balls for the Blues this season.
Marcos Alonso (No. 3) Left wing back, Spain
Alonso has blown his wing back competition out of the water, as backed up by the numbers and the eye test. Alonso’s movement in the final third is exemplary, interchanging with his same side winger/attacking midfielder when the situation requires it. He has been incredibly consistent and he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his role in Chelsea’s recent defensive excellence.