Thomas Tuchel stormed across the Goodison Park pitch on Sunday afternoon and straight back to the away dressing room. Who could blame him? The German had just seen a poor display from his Chelsea side as they were beaten 1-0 to relegation-threatened Everton.
It was also a surprisingly quick entrance to the media room at Goodison as well, where Tuchel addressed the post-match press, with an understandable stern look on his face. “Very disappointed,” Tuchel bluntly explained.
“We knew what was coming and like in the last matches, we struggled to have clean sheets. In the last four matches, we have one clean sheet against West Ham, and it is the only win we have. So, very disappointed.”
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It was once again the defensive play that let Chelsea down. Of course, the attacking play was very poor as well, but the defending is the key component that needs to be right before anything else.
Saturday afternoon sees Wolves come to Stamford Bridge, with the Blues having a rare six days off by the time the match kicks off. Wolves effectively have nothing to play for, with Bruno Lage’s team sitting comfortably in eighth place in the Premier League table.
This could go one of two ways. Wolves could play freely, knowing there is no pressure on them and enjoy themselves at Stamford Bridge. Alternatively, Chelsea, who still have to secure a space in this season’s top four, could want it more than their opponents.
Tuchel has plenty of decisions to make in terms of personnel when it comes to Saturday. His whole squad have had a bit of a rest, which in relative terms, will have felt like a huge amount of time off. With this being said, football.london takes a look at three changes Tuchel could consider making to his XI against Wolves.
Chalobah to be recalled
Trevoh Chalobah hasn’t started for Chelsea since their 1-0 victory against West Ham United. In fact, that was the 22-year-old defender’s only start in the last six Premier League games. Coincidence or not that it was a clean sheet?
Chalobah has played the majority of his games for Chelsea this season on the right-hand side of a back-three. Cesar Azpilicueta was the man who occupied said position on Sunday against Everton and he was the man at fault for Richarlison’s goal.
The Cobham graduate has been dependable virtually every time he’s put on the Chelsea colours this season – in, by the way, his breakout campaign in the senior side. It’s a no-brainer to recall the defender on Saturday.
Kovacic in for Jorginho
Jorginho endured a tough first-half against Everton on Sunday, as virtually every one of the Chelsea XI did. The Italian was replaced at half-time, with Tuchel confirming after the game that the midfielder had picked up an injury.
Mateo Kovacic was the man chosen to replace him, with the Croatian returning from an injury he suffered in last month’s FA Cup semi-final win over Crystal Palace. It was a difficult 45 minutes for Kovacic to make his return in, with a hostile home crowd vying for their team. The game was also very scrappy and it restricted what Kovacic could do.
The Croatia international has been Chelsea’s best midfielder this season and despite an out-of-sorts display at Everton, he should be one of the first names on Tuchel’s team sheet against Wolves at the weekend. Kovacic alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who deserves to keep his spot in the XI after his impressive performance at Goodison a few days ago.
Werner back on the bench
Timo Werner went on a mini hot streak last month. The German forward was finally showing glimpses of what Chelsea thought they were buying from RB Leipzig in the summer of 2020 after scoring four goals in as many games in all competitions.
However, the 26-year-old is now goalless in his last three matches and has looked pretty poor in those matches as well. Werner was nowhere to be seen against Everton when Chelsea needed an attacking outlet to sustain the immense pressure from the hosts on Merseyside.
The front three of Werner, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount have been a staple of Tuchel’s team recently, but that could change on Saturday. Christian Pulisic hasn’t been at his best recently with the odd cameo performance, but the American could come back into the side to face Wolves.
Pulisic’s father, Mark, posted a tweet following the Everton game, although it has since been deleted. The Twitter post pointed out his son’s frustration with the lack of game time he’s had recently at Chelsea but also stated his love of the club and London as a whole. His father may get his wish on Saturday if Werner is indeed dropped down to the bench.
Source by Football London