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Chelsea 2021-22 Season – The month that was and the highway forward (December 2021) – Discuss Chelsea

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Let’s put it on the desk from the beginning, Chelsea have loved a powerful opening to the season and have firmly positioned themselves within the field seat within the race for the title.

After 11 video games performed, the Blues have received 8, drawn 2 and misplaced as soon as – 1-0 to the reigning Premier League (PL) Champions Manchester Metropolis.

Additional, the supporting statistics are equally spectacular – 27 targets scored, solely 4 conceded (of which just one has been from open play). Bringing this collectively, Chelsea are properly positioned on prime of the ladder, 3 factors forward of Manchester Metropolis and shock bolters West Ham (simply shortly, they’ve been sensible up to now!).

To set the scene, let’s shortly recap on our graduation to this season’s PL marketing campaign results-wise:

  • Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace (15 Aug)
  • Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea (23 Aug)
  • Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea (29 Aug)
  • Chelsea 3-0 Aston Villa (12 Sep)
  • Tottenham 0-3 Chelsea (20 Sep)
  • Chelsea 0-1 Manchester Metropolis (25 Sep)
  • Chelsea 3-1 Southampton (3 Oct)
  • Brentford 0-1 Chelsea (17 Oct)
  • Chelsea 7-0 Norwich (23 Oct)
  • Newcastle 0-3 Chelsea (31 Oct)
  • Chelsea 1-1 Burnley (7 Nov)

In trying again to the beginning of the season, I’ve been pretty impressed with not simply the outcomes achieved, which in some instances have been emphatic, however acknowledging that for substantial parts of video games Chelsea haven’t truly performed to their potential. In different phrases, the Blues have but to constantly ship high-quality performances over a 90-minute interval this season however have nonetheless managed to discover a method to get the job carried out.

This has been attributed to a couple components, specifically: our rock-solid defence (together with celebrity goalkeeper Edouard Mendy) who’ve been very organised and resilient, the various set of goal-scorers throughout a number of positions, and Tuchel’s means to have the ability to rotate (both compelled or strategic) and preserve the suitable stability and high quality.

Picture by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Pictures

That being mentioned, the unlucky accidents and diseases to key gamers corresponding to Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount, Andreas Christenses and Christian Pulisic have examined the robustness of Chelsea’s squad depth. Up to now, the squad has largely handed the take a look at.

Earlier than shortly analyzing the frantic set of fixtures through the festive interval, you will need to replicate on the previous month of performances and perceive what labored nicely for us, and the place enchancment alternatives exist.

Key Themes (October 2021 / Early November 2021)

The key themes that stood out to me through the month of October and begin of November have been:

1. Chelsea’s wingbacks have been essential for Chelsea’s success

Reece James and Ben Chilwell have been in scintillating kind. Not solely have the pair been astute of their defensive duties, however the vitality and dynamism they’ve introduced and added an additional ingredient to the Blues’ assault has been firstclass given their means to proceed their lung-busting runs up and down the flanks which opens up house for others.

Then there’s the direct objective contributions the dynamic duo have been including (which isn’t their major function). With 4 targets and 4 assists to Reece, and three targets chipped in by Ben since his return to the crew, these two may very well be very important to our probabilities of silverware this season.

Reece James Penalty Aston Villa

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2. The defence stays mightily troublesome to attain in opposition to, particularly in open play

Throughout October and early November Chelsea conceded 2 targets. One was a penalty in opposition to the Saints which was drawn by former Blue and gifted prospect Tino Livramento, and the opposite got here from a easy first-time ball excessive of the Blues backline to transform a close-range end.

Whereas Chelsea proceed to show they’re a well-drilled unit, it’s also truthful to call-out that our celebrity goalkeeper Mendy rescued the Blues in opposition to Brentford because the Bees threw wave after wave of assault within the remaining 20 minutes however have been thwarted by an impressed Mendy who was decided to not concede.

The quantity of top-shelf saves he pulled-off that recreation will most actually be on the highlights reel come finish of the season. How he didn’t make the highest 30 gamers for this yr’s Ballon D’or will without end stay a thriller.

General although, Chelsea’s defence has been one thing to admire and the way in which that gamers seamlessly slot into numerous positions within the backline is a credit score to Tuchel for instilling confidence and understanding of their roles.

3. Rotation has been working though there’s a hole between the perfect and the remaining

As beforehand talked about, the Blues have been hit by a sequence of accidents and diseases to key gamers throughout the defensive, center and predominantly within the ahead positions throughout this era.

Whereas this introduced some apparent challenges within the sense that Tuchel has not been capable of constantly name upon his most well-liked XI, it has additionally opened up alternatives for others in what’s (a minimum of on paper) a squad that has high quality in depth.

Now we have been capable of see this high quality seem all through the October and early November interval because the likes of the resurgent Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been placing their greatest toes ahead and giving Tuchel some real choice complications. Even Ross Barkley has additionally added in some optimistic cameos which has been stunning given he was regarded as a peripheral determine at greatest.

The important thing query might be, as soon as the others return, how does he successfully handle all obtainable assets?

However the positives which have arisen because of observing some non-regulars which have taken their possibilities, there have additionally been those that, placing it bluntly, merely haven’t. Particularly, the ahead areas of the pitch stay a little bit of a priority when it comes to attempting to ascertain some fluidity and efficiency because the likes of Hakim Ziyech, and to a lesser extent, Kai Havertz haven’t been capable of absolutely offset people who would ordinarily occupy the positions they’re competing for.

Whereas Kai has versatility and age on his aspect (i.e. solely 22), the previous Ajax man is on the peak of his powers expertise clever and is anticipated to be delivering greater than he has. Though Hakim scored a tap-in in opposition to Malmo (following Callum’s wonderful cross), he has sadly not been capable of generate any objective threats or key possibilities for his crew mates.

A few of it is a operate of restricted minutes, nevertheless a few of it is because of him not with the ability to profit from these minutes. Time will inform what the longer term holds for the Moroccan magician however time is quick working out for him to drag a rabbit out of the hat.

Ziyech Juventus

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Given the above, and factoring the high-volume of video games on the horizon which have tended to be the Blues’ Achilles heel, Tuchel might be hoping that his host of regulars will be capable to be reintegrated as quickly as doable and begin contributing to the trigger. From all stories, this appears to be on the playing cards however with Chelsea’s luck in current occasions, it’s price crossing a number of fingers and toes!

The highway forward (Finish of November / December 2021)

What a month or so Chelsea Soccer Membership are about to embark on!

For these with good reminiscence, the December-January interval final season offered Blues followers something however good reminiscences! In reality, following a powerful interval main as much as the festive season, the wheels began to fall off for the-then Frank Lampard managed Chelsea which sadly spelled the start of the tip for arguably the membership’s biggest ever participant (nicely a minimum of for this Blue).

Quick forwarding to this season, from Saturday via to the tip of the calendar yr, the Blues will play an astonishing 12 video games in whole! These are:

  1. Leicester (Away) on 20 Nov
  2. Juventus (Residence) on 24 Nov – Champions League
  3. Manchester United (Residence) on 29 Nov
  4. Watford (Away) on 2 Dec
  5. West Ham (Away) on 4 Dec
  6. Zenit (Away) on 9 Dec – Champions League
  7. Leeds (Residence) on 12 Dec
  8. Everton (Residence) on 17 Dec
  9. Wolves (Away) on 20 Dec
  10. Brentford (Away) on 23 Dec – Carabao Cup Quarter-Closing
  11. Aston Villa (Away) on 27 Dec
  12. Brighton (Residence) on 30 Dec

As is printed above, the Blues should navigate via some bumpy waters through the festive season to be able to keep away from crashing into some rocks and thus forestall a sinking ship!

Whereas it’s apparent Tuchel will want his troops to return again from the worldwide break with full focus and depth to kick-start their subsequent block of video games with good momentum, protecting his squad recent might be key to handle the heightened danger of fatigue, harm and complacency.

With that in thoughts, it will likely be necessary for Thomas to not solely take into consideration the ways for every recreation that’s approaching, but additionally to have the medium-long time period view in his planning i.e. which gamers are greatest fitted to sure opposition, which gamers want nearer monitoring and cargo balancing, vs those that are safer to make use of for a consecutive run of video games and so forth.

Thomas Tuchel Chelsea

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Within the League, the Blues play 9 occasions earlier than the yr finish and can wish to not solely protect their lead on the prime of the summit, however hopefully lengthen on it heading in 2022, That mentioned, Chelsea are at the moment second within the group within the Champions League and have a crunch conflict with Italian giants Juventus in between our next-up opponents Leicester and the out-of-form, but extremely harmful on their day – Manchester United.

Ought to we survive the difficult finish of November run, the December set of fixtures have some fairly beneficial fixtures, nevertheless there are a few hazard matches embedded e.g. West Ham and Wolves away, in addition to the new-look Villa beneath Steven Gerrard away, earlier than rounding out the yr with a difficult proposition in opposition to an over-performing Brighton at house. Amongst all of it is a quarter-final conflict in opposition to the Bees who’ve proven that they’re greater than able to stinging us if we’re not cautious!

Ultimately, it’s been one other profitable month for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea. However the optimistic momentum generated up to now, the following 12 matches may very well be essential in serving to solidify the Blues’ title cost. Conversely, a dip in kind and drop in factors couldn’t solely dampen the squad’s confidence, but additionally enable their rivals to shut the hole and even leapfrog them as we head in to the brand new calendar yr.

In the end time will inform if the traditionally troublesome December interval will once more rear its ugly head, or, as we’re all hoping, Chelsea will go this take a look at with flying colors!

Come on you Blues! 👊🙂

Twitter: @RJ_Goodthings

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