How Tuchel’s reshuffle has revitalised Chelsea

When club legend Frank Lampard joined Chelsea in the summer of 2019 the excitement around South West London was palpable to say the very least.

The former midfielder, had enjoyed a decorated career with the Blues scoring 211 goals and signed off as the club’s all-time leading goal scorer.

He even led Chelsea to a fourth place finish in his first season as boss, as well as an FA Cup Final for the first time in 2 years.

But football as we all know too well, is a cut-throat business. Especially, when stepping into management at one of Europe’s most reputable and success driven clubs, a sentiment that rings truer at Chelsea than most others.

For Lampard, his managerial experience was short-lived, as just 18 months into his tenure, he was dismissed, leaving the club in a lowly ninth place position in the Premier League.

Roman Abramovich and Marina Granovskaia had to act fact in order to save any hopes of success in an already lavish spending 2020/21 campaign which had seen the club splash over £120m on transfer fees.

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Up stepped, Thomas Tuchel.

A new era

Just days after Lampard’s departure, the former PSG boss, took over as Manager on an initial 18-month contract. 

Since his arrival in the capital, Tuchel has overseen a superb up-turn in form for the five-time Premier League champions, winning five of his opening six games.

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The latest was a 2-0 triumph at home to Newcastle, which even saw a return to the scoresheet for the often heavily-criticised summer signing, Timo Werner.

But what has else changed since the German’s arrival?

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Reshuffle and reset 

Tuchel has recalled a whole host of seemingly cast-aside squad members since joining the club, handing second chances to players like Marcos Alonso, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kepa Arrizabalaga. 

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Alonso has often been criticised for his defensive frailties, with Ben Chilwell consistently preferred under Lampard.

However, after a stunning display at Tottenham in only Tuchel’s third game as head coach, the ex-Real Madrid full back has featured in four of the last five Chelsea victories.  

Callum Hudson-Odoi is another who has been consistently linked with a move away, but has been revitalised in a wing-back role that has seen him edge closer to the potential many feel he possesses.

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And finally Kepa – the world’s expensive goalkeeper who had much to improve on following sub-par performances that forced the club to bring in direct competition in Edouard Mendy,

However, the Spaniard has seemingly been thrown a lifeline and repaid that faith by keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle.

A new system

Lampard often favoured the 4231 or 433 formations during his time at the helm, in an attempt to free up Chelsea’s plethora of attacking talent.

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Adding players like Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz allowed Lampard to utilise wide creativity with Ben Chilwell and Cesar Azpilicueta overlapping to support from defence when needed.

But for former Dortmund boss Tuchel, he has opted for a 343 setup, allowing for an additional centre back and providing further defensive stability. It’s a move that has proved beneficial so far, with Chelsea conceding just once since his arrival.

Despite losing the experienced Thiago Silva in the 1-0 away victory over Spurs two weeks ago, Antonio Rudiger has shown tremendous form in this Chelsea revival of late too and continues to keep his place.

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Time to kick on?

After closing the gap on the top four, Champions League qualification will be the main aim in terms of the Premier League this season.

With an FA Cup quarter final meeting against Sheffield United on the cards, fans will be expecting their side to progress on that front, and could offer Tuchel a very real chance at silverware in his first season.

There is of course the small matter of a tantalising Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid still to come too.

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After coming agonisingly close with PSG just last year, Tuchel’s European know-how may aid the Blues in an incredibly tough matchup with the LaLiga leaders.

Featured image credit: Getty