Covid, Injuries & Reluctance to Tackle Blood Youths: How Chelsea's Title Challenge Begins To Solve

Chelsea have only won three of their last eight Premier League games. They are six points behind the Christmas leaders Manchester City and are clinging to their title challenge with their fingernails

GB About: Chelsea Publish: 12/20/2021 Edit: 12/20/2021 Author: Gardener

ChelseaA little over two weeks ago, Chelsea started their away game at West Ham as leaders of the Premier League. After just three wins in eight league games, which continued with the Wolves stalemate on Sunday, they are now in third place, six points behind pioneers Manchester City. To further emphasize Chelsea's plight, they now have as many points behind City as the fourth-placed Arsenal on Thomas Tuchel's side. Suddenly the January games against City and Liverpool have moved from a 'must-not-lose' game to a 'must-win' if the European champions are to have a chance to maintain the title fight in the second half of the season. Okay, so that's predictable, "said Tuchel when he was briefed on the leaders' 4-0 win over Tyneside during his post-game press conference on Sunday. Regardless, there is no doubt that Chelsea have not been with CIty in recent days Keeping pace may well be for them to come back to pursue them in May, despite extenuating circumstances, the Premier League declined the club's request to postpone the Wolves' game due to a Covid-19 outbreak on Sunday , and had Tuchel nominate a matchday squad of just six players, including two goalkeepers. Seven players missed the game due to coronavirus-related issues, with Jorginho being one of those unavailable despite unknown status after both positive negative test results were returned and some employees went missing as Omicron continues to roam the UK , but those in power decided that since the Blues had 14 players available for the game, they had no reason to postpone the game. "They say, you see, they have 14 players, but if you look at it you see Trevoh Chalobah having two training sessions [under his belt], Mateo Kovacic, one training session, you see N'Golo Kante having a training session", argued Tuchel. Injuries have played a huge role in Chelsea's form decline, regardless of their Covid issues, with Tuchel having done without key figures in the fall and winter. Edge was only released for 45 minutes in front of the Wolr by the sports scientists at Cobham but pushed for the full 90 to be completed in the Midlands. Andreas Christensen sustained a back injury in training just this week, while Chalobah and Hakim Ziyech will be doubtful for the upcoming games against Brentford and Aston Villa after their limp on Sunday. Edge, meanwhile, has only been cleared for 45 minutes by sports scientists at Cobham ahead of the Wolves match, but playfully urged to complete the full 90 in the West Midlands so as not to leave his teammates outnumbered. Even if upcoming games are postponed, either because Chelsea's Covid problems worsen or because entire game rounds are canceled and the Blues squad can bring some key players back to full shape, they will later be faced with a huge backlog in the games as they are due to their participation continue to compete on five different fronts at the Club World Cup in February. It feels like fate has conspired to undermine Chelsea's bid for the title, but neither have they been as good as City or Liverpool at covering up their problems when they crop up. The top two were ready to kick players out of their academies to either catch up on the bench or, in some cases, start important games, but Tuchel hesitated despite the strength of the Chelsea youth system. While remaining an imposing force in both English and European football, Chelsea are not the best at handling unexpected difficulties that may arise as the week goes on, so they cling to their title challenge by hitting their fingernails.

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