Football

Tuchel, Lukaku? Who is to blame for Chelsea’s Premier League form?

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has come under fire in recent weeks. That is because the Blues have won just three of their last 11 Premier League matches.

The disastrous run has seen them fall behind Liverpool in the title race. They are now without a win in their last four league games. It is the worst run Tuchel has had in his managerial career since October 2016, when he was in charge of Borussia Dortmund.

But is it the manager’s fault? Or are their other factors at play?

Tuchel bemoans busy schedule

First and foremost, the manager himself has said that tiredness is a key factor behind the miserable run. As reported by BBC Sport, the boss says his players are both mentally and physically tired. It comes as the Blues have played seven matches in all competitions in 21 days.

Both Covid and injuries have also played a part in Chelsea’s struggles of late. Key players such as Thiago Silva and N’Golo Kante have both missed games due to the former. And full-backs Ben Chilwell and Reece James continue to miss action because of the latter.

While Chilwell has impressed, James has arguably been the club’s best player this season. His absence has been felt by the entire squad at both ends of the pitch. The right-back has four goals and five assists in the current league campaign.

On top of Covid and injuries, the Africa Cup of Nations has also been a negative influence. Number one Edouard Mendy is currently on duty there with Senegal. His sensational efforts between the sticks have been a big loss for Chelsea. The goalkeeper has eight clean sheets in the league this season.

The Lukaku conundrum

The return of Romelu Lukaku was met with delight from Blues fans everywhere. But it hasn’t been the homecoming many thought it would be. The Belgian has just five league goals to his name this season.

More worryingly, though, was Lukaku’s recent comments regarding his admiration for former club Inter Milan. The striker also expressed his struggles with some of the decisions Tuchel has made.

The forward had the fewest touches of any player in the first half of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Brighton. It’s the second match in a row that has happened. The striker even had a brief tiff with team-mate Hakim Ziyech on the night.

Not all doom and gloom for Tuchel

Despite the league struggles, there is still plenty for Chelsea fans to be happy about. The Blues have a League Cup final to look forward to. They are also through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

But perhaps the most excitement for the club involves European football. The London outfit face Lille in the Champions League round of 16 next month. The current holders will certainly be hoping to progress in the competition as far as possible, if only to distract themselves from a worrying spell in the league.

About the author

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Peter Lynch

Sports Journalism graduate from the University of Stirling, huge Liverpool and Northern Ireland fan, currently working as a freelancer.

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