Even for Frank Lampard’s biggest supporter, it was hard to ignore his Chelsea side’s shortcomings in big games.
His Blues rose to the top of the Premier League table by sending out so-called smaller teams, but every time a real rival rose to his feet at Stamford Bridge it was a different story, and it was big. part the reason it was given. the boot.
Owner Roman Abramovich feared Chelsea didn’t have what it took to get back into the top four under Lampard, so he made the hugely controversial decision to show Lampard the way out and replace him with Thomas Tuchel.
The German’s infectious positivity has won over most fans already, and a 0-0 draw with Wolves and a 2-0 win over Burnley brought Tuchel’s reign a good start, but Thursday’s meeting with Tottenham will be the first real test.
Tied on points with Chelsea but with a game in hand, Spurs are the first top ten opponents Tuchel will have to face since moving to Stamford Bridge, and they are the boss’s first real chance to prove he can take Chelsea further than Lampard could. .
Now is the right time to play for Spurs, who are in the dumps after poor defeats against Liverpool and Brighton. Even the eight-game unbeaten streak that just ended wasn’t impressive enough to keep morale up.
Turning his Chelsea squad into one that doesn’t hand out free wins to struggling teams (a loophole present long before Lampard) is pretty important, but Tuchel’s side also need to get more creative against another team that will seek to sit down and frustrate the Blues.
Against Wolves, a league high in assists brought no goals, and although the odds were more common against Burnley, there was still a feeling that Chelsea lacked a bit of oomph. Relying on Callum Hudson-Odoi to get ahead of Robbie Brady is not a tactic.
This lethargy is to be expected, given that Tuchel has only been in charge for two games. His Chelsea have already shown improvement, but they need to go further against a Spurs side who will likely prove to be stiffer opposition.
This is the game that will launch the Tuchel era. A dominant win will bring real momentum, but a passing heavy performance with little attacking will bring back terrifying memories of Maurizio Sarri’s tenure.
Probably without an injured Kai Havertz won’t help that, but at Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech, Tuchel has more than enough firepower to get through Spurs’ stubborn defense.
Lampard had the same tools in his arsenal, but as we saw in the November goalless draw between these two camps, he couldn’t get them to click. It was decided that Tuchel could do it, and this is his first real chance to prove it.
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