Chelsea will play for the ninth and final time in December on Wednesday when they face Brighton and their brutal schedule comes to an end.
It has been a full-on month for Thomas Tuchel’s men, with seven Premier League games, a Carabao Cup win over Brentford and a trip to Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League all taking place.
Add a Covid outbreak at the club’s training ground to all those games played, it has been a very demanding period for the Blues, who have just about kept themselves in the race for the Premier League title, reached a League Cup semi final and secured a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Festive football is always the busiest time of the footballing calendar and 2021 has been no different, with a number of top flight managers questioning the number of games being played, especially with the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic seeing games called off.
Chelsea are one of only four teams in the Premier League to have played 19 games so far this season as we reach the halfway stage alongside Man City, Newcastle and Arsenal. The Blues wanted that number to be 18, only for their request to have the 0-0 draw with Wolves postponed refused by the League.
Head coach Tuchel has not taken issue as such with the schedule, effectively saying “it is what it is” and that his team has to deal with it. But one thing the German has been very vocal on is the three substitution rule, with Tuchel wanting that increased to five.
When football was being played behind closed doors amid the first Covid lockdown, five substitutes were allowed for the remainder of the 2019/20 season but that was only a temporary measure and reverted to three last season and for this.
Tuchel has again spoken out on the rule and re-iterated his stance that he believes five substitutes are needed as the Omicron variant of Coronavirus swept through the Premier League.
“I have no solution for the schedule and all the appointments we have to play, but for me the schedule is not a problem,” Tuchel said ahead of the Blues’ game with Brighton.
“For me, we are in a situation where so many teams struggle, it’s not only us, other teams have postponed matches, some of them have two postponed matches.
“So obviously we are in the middle of a very strange situation where all teams are affected heavily.
“I simply don’t understand why we cannot have five changes, because five changes has been invented also in the UK, no?
“So now we are in the middle of it, and I get the feeling everybody is refusing it, not even thinking about it, or refusing to think about it.
“But this is for me the only logical step to do this, because everybody is affected by Covid and you need more possibilities to protect the players and to share the minutes.
“This is my opinion and I will not stop standing up for it.”
Source by Football London