Thomas Tuchel now has his Premier League declaration victory as well, emerging with Chelsea 1-0 winners of Anfield last night on the back of a “full performance” of his charges. Ten games, ten unbeaten. Even more impressive, only two goals conceded, only one of which was actually scored by an opposing player.
The comparison with Mourinho’s early life at Chelsea also remains valid, with The Special One making a better win (8-2-0 vs 7-3-0 in all competitions), but with identical defensive records (only 2 conceded). ). Incidentally, Game 10 for both managers was a 1-0 win over Liverpool: Joe Cole scored at Bridge in October 2004.
Key to Tuchel’s defensive scheme has been the move to a full-three, with Thiago Silva initially anchoring that line. But it was Andreas Christensen who came in from the cold to put on an increasingly impressive run of performances after Silva suffered an injury against Spurs. Christensen was making his sixth start in the last seven games, with Chelsea keeping a fifth clean sheet in that run. The 24-year-old is playing so well that it is far from certain that Silva would regain his place if and when he finally returns from his thigh injury.
“Andreas came in in the middle of the first half against Tottenham, which was really hard to do, and from the first minute he was absolutely impressive.
“He’s brave, strong in individual challenges, courageous and smart in preparation, and plays with a lot of confidence. I am absolutely satisfied with his performance and his progress. He played an important role in our performance.
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
There were of course absolute heroes all over the pitch for Chelsea yesterday, but another pointed out by the head coach was N’Golo Kanté, who paired a quietly impressive Jorginho in the pivot.
It was only the fourth start for Kanté under Tuchel (although he has played in every game except the first two as he came back from injury), and his most impressive to date, both on and off the ball. In addition to the glorious assistance he gave to Mount, he put in a vintage “70% of the Earth is covered with water, the rest is covered by Kanté”.
A gift, if you will, and Tuchel certainly did.
“[Kanté] is a gift. It’s incredible. I have never seen anything like it. In training, in games, he never stops. We look at the data on its intensity and it is amazing. It really is a gift.
-Thomas Tuchel; source: RMC Sport via Metro
If one is to worry about omens, Mourinho’s 11th game in charge saw his first loss (and only one in the Premier League that season), 1-0 to Manchester City, who at the time were still a little upset. Chelsea have a massive test against Everton on Monday, as the top four fight continues to go downhill.
But if we can maintain the defensive excellence, we certainly have a great chance of finishing in the top four.