Chelsea’s revival: The winners and losers after 10 games of Thomas Tuchel
Since taking over from Frank Lampard in the Chelsea dugout, Thomas Tuchel has made some steady progress and massive changes.
He’s helped the side climb back up the Premier League table, in which they now sit fourth, and to win the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid.
But who has won and who has lost thanks to the change in manager?
A clear winner since the switch from Lampard to Tuchel, Mateo Kovacic has found his form under the German manager. After a period in the cold, he is back in favour.
He has started all but two of Tuchel’s 10 games in charge – the FA Cup victory over Barnsley and the Premier League game against Liverpool. Indeed, if he features from the beginning against Everton on Monday, then he will have started the same number of Premier League games under Tuchel, as he did under Lampard during the first half of the campaign.
Tuchel’s move to a back three and double pivot, with an emphasis on possession, has played perfectly into Kovacic’s hands. In the German’s first game in charge, Kovacic completed 148 passes, a record in a Premier League match this season.
In Tuchel’s first five games, Kovacic completed 16 dribbles, which is more than he completed under Lampard in 14 appearances this season (15).
He is also completing more key passes, more dribbles, more passes, more defensive actions; Kovacic has flourished under a new lease of life.
Unfancied under Lampard, Antonio Rudiger have come to life in recent weeks and looks back to his best.
However, Tuchel has reintroduced Rudiger to the side and the defensive improvement is, in part, thanks to the centre-back’s form.
He started just four Premier League games before Tuchel’s arrival, and none before 21 November, but has been a mainstay under his compatriot.
With Chelsea conceding just twice since the change in manager, Rudiger has been so important to their recent improvement.
A favourite under Lampard, Tammy Abraham has lost his place thanks to a combination of Olivier Giroud, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and even Mason Mount, as Tuchel tinkers with his forward line-up.
Having mustered only 123 Premier League minutes since Lampard’s sacking, and being left out of the squad entirely for the recent 0-0 draw with Manchester United, Abraham is no longer first choice. He may not even be second or third choice.
He has scored just one goal under Tuchel’s reign, the winner against Barnsley, compared to 11 with Lampard in the dugout.
The style of play has changed, and it’s not benefitted the English striker.
Talk of Erling Haaland being targeted has increased recently, and Abraham could well be on his way out of Stamford Bridge if things don’t change.
Signed for £50 million from Leicester last summer, Chilwell was the player Lampard had identified as the solution to their left-back problem.
He was so impressive in his first six months in London, scoring two and assisting four as Chelsea reached the summit of the Premier League at one point.
However, with Tuchel moving to a back three, Marcos Alonso, a great left wing-back but a poor left-back, has been favoured, which has generally left Chilwell sitting on the bench.
He has only started four of Tuchel’s 10 games in charge, and it’s clear that the German coach prefers Alonso’s threat in the opposition box over Chilwell’s more balanced style of play.
He is still only 24-years-old, so he’s got time on his side, but his place in England’s starting XI for the Euros may have been lost thanks to Lampard’s sacking.