Monday, January 24

Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea forwards must match the threat from the wings | Chelsea


Thomas Tuchel wants us to think differently. Statistics show that half of Chelsea’s 26 goals in the Premier League and Champions League have come from defenders this season, but Tuchel has an alternative way of looking at the numbers after seeing Reece James crawling up the right wing to score. two goals during 3-1 on Saturday. 0 victory at Newcastle.

According to the German, the trend is a consequence of the freedom of position that he has given to his sides. Tuchel has even gone so far as to see Marcos Alonso, Ben Chilwell and James as midfielders rather than defenders and in any case it’s not as if the European champions expected a large chunk of their goals to come from behind after spending £ 97.5 million in Romelu Lukaku in summer.

“If you want to reach the highest level in any competition, you need a constant goal threat from your forwards,” said Tuchel, as he prepared for Chelsea’s visit to Malmö in the Champions League on Tuesday night. “We hope we can have our forwards at the end of the season at the top of the list.”

It’s a regular refrain from Tuchel, who knew something had to change after Jorginho finished last season as Chelsea’s top scorer in the Premier League, with seven goals. He thought an elite forward was needed if Chelsea were to fight for the title, and hiring Lukaku, who had enjoyed two prolific seasons with Internazionale, was supposed to be the last piece of the puzzle.

It is yet to click though for the Belgian, who scored four goals in 11 appearances before spraining an ankle during last month’s 4-0 win over Malmö at Stamford Bridge. The Belgian will not return until after the international break and, to complicate matters, the paralyzed Timo Werner and the unwell Mason Mount will also be absent against the Swedish champions.

Fast guide

Malmö v Chelsea: probable teams

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Malmö Dahlin; Larsson, Ahmedhodzic, Nielsen, Brorsson, Berget; Christiansen, Rakip, innocent; Birmancevic, Colak. Subs of Diawara, Ellborg, Eile, Moisander, Olsson, Pena, Gall, Nalic, Lewicki, Nanasi, Gwargis, Abubakari, Bjorqvist, Rieks. Injured Bejimo (shoulder), Knudsen, Toivonen (knee).

Chelsea Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rüdiger; James, Kovacic, Jorginho, Chilwell; Ziyech, Hudson-Odoi; Havertz. Subs of Arrizabalaga, Bettinelli, Bergstrom, Alonso, Silva, Sarr, Chalobah, Vale, Saul, Kante, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Pulisic. Injured Kovacic (hamstring), Werner (hamstring), Mount (sick), Lukaku (ankle).

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At least Christian Pulisic has traveled after a persistent ankle problem. The American winger is a threat in the area and his return is a boost for Tuchel, which started with Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech attacking Newcastle.

However, it’s not just about the forwards. Chelsea have goals from all over the field. James has four, Chilwell has three, and Trevoh Chalobah has two. Alonso, Andreas Christensen, Antonio Rüdiger and Thiago Silva have one each.

This is a versatile team, notable for Rüdiger’s runs from center line, and Tuchel is delighted when he sees Chilwell and James threatening from the flanks. “The statistic would look a little different if you play the full-backs more like midfielders,” he said. “If you play three defenders, it’s not really a winger position and there are more midfield positions.

“I wouldn’t call them defenders. Although he has to defend at times, he has more freedom to attack, as he has a shorter goal distance than he would have as a winger. It is necessary that they are included and that we bring them to the table at the end of our attacks to increase the threat of goal. I’m happy when we create chances and when we have five or six players in the area to be dangerous ”.

Still, Chelsea, second in Group H with six points from three games, need more from their forwards. Havertz and Ziyech need to get more consistent and Tuchel wants Hudson-Odoi to move on after three consecutive starts. “It’s about performance and this is what Callum is showing right now,” he said. “It is important that you show consistency, be hungry and keep making progress.”


www.theguardian.com

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