India's Premier Lifestyle Destination For Men.


The Thomas Tuchel Transformation

A A A tT

Less than two months after arriving in West London, Thomas Tuchel has completely transformed the fortunes of Chelsea Football Club. The German has now gone 14 games unbeaten with the Blues which is the best start for any Chelsea manager in history (the previous record was held by Luiz Felipe Scolari who went 12 games unbeaten in 2008.) When Tuchel arrived, Chelsea was ninth on the table and were drifting through the doldrums of mid-table mediocrity. Two months later they find themselves in fourth and are likely to finish in the Champions League spots, which was Tuchel’s main intention when he arrived in January.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chelsea FC (@chelseafc)

As we reported earlier, Frank Lampard’s sacking at Chelsea brought distaste among the Chelsea faithful as many believed he needed time and was wrongfully treated by the Chelsea board. However, Tuchel’s success so far has vindicated that decision as he has shown what a squad of this calibre can achieve.

Last Wednesday night’s win against Atletico Madrid was the most impressive victory of the Tuchel era so far and felt like a watershed moment for the club. This 3-0 win over two legs meant that the Blues have gone past the first knockout round in the Champions League for the first time since 2013/14 when they reached the semi-finals under Jose Mourinho. The Blues were comfortably the better team over both legs and Diego Simeone’s side was made to look like novices by Tuchel and Chelsea. The team that won 2-0 in the second leg against Atletico were playing with confidence and tenacity that was unheard of in the Lampard era. Tuchel has transformed this Chelsea team in just eight weeks and today we look at how he has managed to make that shift.

Defence First

Chelsea let in 11 goals in their last 7 league games under Lampard and the first job Tuchel had to do was to reverse this trend and shore up the defence. So far, Tuchel’s defence has been impenetrable as Chelsea have only conceded 2 goals and kept 11 clean sheets in the 13 games he has managed. They have also only allowed an xG of 0.4 per game in the league since Tuchel arrived which means that they are hardly letting their opponents have any chances on goal.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chelsea FC (@chelseafc)

This defensive turnaround is mainly due to the new system the German has implemented at Chelsea. Lampard primarily used a 4-2-3-1 at Chelsea but Tuchel instead has opted for a 3-4-2-1 which offers more defensive solidity. In Tuchel’s 3-4-2-1 there are three central defensive midfielders, two wing-backs and two central midfielders that are primarily defensively minded in Kovacic, Jorginho or N’Golo Kante. This allows Chelsea to have enough bodies at the back to stop opposition attacks if they lose the ball in transition.

It also gives Chelsea enough manpower in the middle of the park which allows them to control possession and defend with the ball. Under Tuchel Chelsea are averaging 63% possession and are dominating the ball with authority which limits the chances of opposition attacks.

Tuchel the Tinkerman

Chelsea is blessed with one of the deepest squads in the league and Tuchel has made the most of the talent available. He has failed to name the same team in back-to-back games and has used 21 players so far in this time at the club.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chelsea FC (@chelseafc)

The German has rotated his squad incredibly well and used certain players based on the opposition. In the first leg against Atletico, Tuchel opted for Giroud upfront for his link-up play and aerial presence against a team that was likely to sit back. Conversely in the second leg when Atletico had to go more on the front foot, Tuchel instead opted for a pacy front three of Werner, Havertz and Ziyech to exploit Atletico on the counter. In the end, both decisions worked a treat and showed how well Tuchel has managed his squad so far.

The German Connection

Frank Lampard’s failure to get the best out of Chelsea’s summer signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz was one of the main reasons why he was eventually sacked. Similarly, Tuchel was brought in was because of his German background which could work in his favour to get the best out of Chelsea’s two German star signings.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chelsea FC (@chelseafc)

To his credit, Tuchel has been patient with both players and we have seen glimpses of what they can offer. Werner in particular has worked incredibly hard for the team, as seen by his sprint to close down Kieran Trippier which led to the first goal against Atletico. He is also getting into the right positions all the time and you get the feeling the goals will come. Havertz on the other hand has struggled because he was used in several positions under Lampard. Tuchel has provided more clarity for Havertz and opted to use him as a number nine and so far, he has shown promise especially against Leeds and Everton.

What next

The next step for Tuchel is obviously going to be sorting out the attack. They have currently only scored 1.1 goals a game under the German and have failed to score more than two goals in a single game. Even if you look at Expected Data, they are creating only 1.4 xG a game under Tuchel in the league and hence under this system, Chelsea doesn’t create enough quality chances for their forwards, something he will need to address soon. 

Nevertheless, Tuchel has already shown more potential with a squad he didn’t assemble than Lampard managed to do in his time with the club. With the depth and quality that Chelsea possess and now with a manager that finally has the tools to make the sum greater than the individual parts, they are going to be a scary proposition for the rest of the league. They are still competing for two trophies this season and look like the team that is best suited to challenge Manchester City for the crown next year. The winds of change tend to blow quickly at Stamford Bridge and it could all blow up very soon if Tuchel doesn’t deliver silverware, but the signs of his reign so far are incredibly promising and it feels like the good times are just around the corner.


[Image Credit:Thomas Tuchel]