Thomas Tuchel transformed Chelsea in ways supporters could have never imagined. The German came into Stamford Bridge and immediately solidified the back line with his 3-4-3. The Blues have kept 17 clean sheets in the Premier League since Tuchel took over, allowing just 16 goals in the same span. This is the complete opposite of the four-man unit commanded by Frank Lampard, who was known for his sides playing with leaky defenses. Tuchel turned Chelsea into a juggernaut while maintaining an exciting style of football, eventually leading the club to its second Champions League triumph in history last season.
The Blues’ stubborn defense has allowed them to stay in many games they otherwise would not have been in due to their attacking struggles. The key to improving this side going into the summer was obvious. While Chelsea has continued to scrape by in some contests, it is now obvious that the team is much better going forward than it was last season. Tuchel’s tactics and the offseason additions have helped propel the Blues into the upper echelons of attacking forces in the English top flight.
Thomas Tuchel is revolutionizing the way Chelsea attacks this season
Chelsea’s drubbing of Norwich City on Saturday felt like the team was turning the page. The Blues left their offensive woes behind as they stepped into another era—one defined by fluid, attacking football. It’s no secret this is what Tuchel has been working toward since he arrived at Cobham in late January. It was obvious the squad’s struggles last season were simply a lack of time to learn the system and the fact Chelsea was missing a piece or two. Tuchel now has the personnel to achieve his ultimate goal and although it’ll take time to get there, the growth is apparent.
There are actually two keys to how the Blues have approached the attacking phase of the game this season: a solidified defense and a true talisman. Chelsea’s back three and pivot midfielders look even more comfortable now they’ve had time to adjust and get experience under the German tactician. This has led to the selection of more attacking players in the starting XI as Tuchel can fully rely on whichever group he trots out in the back three. The Blues have been able to capitalize on this throughout the early stages of the season. They have 17 different goalscorers in just 14 games played in all competitions. Individuals like Ben Chilwell and Reece James have enjoyed this newfound freedom to roam around the middle of the park and the final third.
Tuchel has also given different attacking instructions to his players than those of Lampard. Chilwell specifically has often tucked into the midfield or inside the wide attacker when Chelsea is charging forward. The Blues’ new attacking style is built around link-up play and movement around the box. This is vastly different than Lampard’s tactics, which fans often complained led to a lot of hopeless crosses into the area with no end product. That’s not even beginning to touch on the differences between Tuchel’s 3-4-3 and 3-5-2.
The other differentiating factor is the presence of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian No. 9 has given Chelsea a reliable outlet when in transition. He can link up with the wingers or advancing wingbacks or play with his back to goal. This keeps opposing defenses on their toes. What the Blues miss out on in their pressing ability when Lukaku is on the pitch, they make up for in creativity. Lampard’s Chelsea relied on a lot of different goalscorers because it had to; Tuchel’s side invites others to get in on the action and can turn to Lukaku to win it games when things aren’t going according to plan.
It goes without saying there have been—and will continue to be—growing pains due to the massive difference in how the team goes forward nowadays. Nevertheless, every game is a step closer to achieving offensive dominance. Chelsea needs to be considered amongst the favorites in every competition the club is currently in due to its potential dominance at both ends of the pitch. Tuchel deserves all the credit in the world for how he’s turned the Blues around in such a short amount of time. It may have been a difficult mountain to climb, but his next task of remaining at the peak is going to be even more challenging.
What do you think of the Blues’ attacking style thus far this season? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!