GB About: Chelsea Publish: 12/20/2021 Edit: 12/20/2021 Author: Gardener
Thomas Tuchel was in the middle of an answer when he paused to ask if Manchester City had won. "OK so that's predictable," he said, justifying his lack of confidence in Newcastle United even before knowing their loss margin. But the gap between English and European masters had also widened. City is now six ahead of Chelsea. Tuchel was satisfied with his point at Molineux. He had started his own rationalization of a stalemate with wolves with the indisputable claim that "the circumstances are the circumstances". There were the seven Covid cases on the Chelsea roster, the responsible approach that resulted in Kai Havertz being left out against Everton and then Jorginho against Wolves when they showed symptoms but didn't test positive. While he had 14 outfield players, he said "take a closer look". Perhaps their story is a story of our time, of an oversized superclub squad that was downsized by a virus and forced to play after others failed, but still bragging about such resources that Ross Barkley, a veteran with 33 internationals for England, remained unused. The governing body rejected Chelsea's request to cancel the game. "We had an opinion and the Premier League had an opinion," said Tuchel. Chelsea are now playing catch-up and have fallen further behind. Tuchel outlined where a season could have derailed. "The problem is not the points we lost today," he said. “The points that hurt are the points we lost at home to Manchester United, Burnley and Everton. Those are the six points that hurt. ”Whether or not he got bloody remains to be seen. It is in the nature of Chelsea's management that the first slump is also the worst and the last. Your previous Champions League winner Roberto di Matteo was gone in November. Tuchel's predecessor Frank Lampard started at the top of the league in December and was gone in January, with a setback at Molineux part of his undoing. However, this was his worst month as a manager for Chelsea. In itself, that reflects the success of coming from 10th to fourth place last season and then leading the league, conjuring up a Champions League victory from a team that took off in a nosedive in 2021. With the 0-0 win against Wolves, the circle came full for Tuchel: He achieved the same result in his Chelsea bow. Tuchel often appeared to be the extraordinary decision maker, the man whose decisions came with added insight. Not at Molineux, where Tuchel showed more creativity when using the last standing men than his team on the pitch. His back three was abandoned with three quarters of the game remaining. Hakim Ziyech started deep in midfield and Reece James spent most of the game on the right wing without much success. At least Saul Niguez wasn't asked to repeat his strange twist against Everton as a false nine, but Tuchel failed to become the match winner despite a Ranieri-esque penchant for tinkering. With the notable exceptions of James and Mason Mount, Chelsea have had too little lately, but Tuchel has also stopped being the catalyst, the manager with the golden touch. Chances are he would welcome a break and with games canceled by Brentford and Aston Villa, allegedly Chelsea's next two opponents, he could get one but his side could be further down before playing again. Thinking time will give him more opportunity to find a solution to a slide to turn a second season in a row. One point at Molineux could have been a damage control exercise, as a team that suddenly kept conceding only allowed one shot on goal and he barely looked into Lampard's death spiral. But if this is another gloomy midwinter for Chelsea, they may need Tuchel, the original thinker, again to plan a way back to the top.
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