Chelsea were disappointing as they lost the FA Cup final to Leicester City in front of 21,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. The Blues failed to create enough going forward and were punished by a moment of brilliance from Youri Tielemans, leaving Thomas Tuchel with some difficult decisions to make over his squad.
Tuchel tinkered with his side from the off, bringing Reece James into a centre-back position and swapping him with Cesar Azpilicueta.
That move reduced the speed of Chelsea’s attacks down the right, but was crucial in combating the pace of Leicester forward Jamie Vardy.
However, for all their impressive work defensively, Chelsea were poor going forward and seemed void of any real creativity.
Mason Mount was the brightest spark in a blunt attack named by Tuchel.
Werner, once again, was disappointing despite his hard work and strong pressing.
The German seems to take two steps back whenever he takes one forward these days, and missed a sitter of a header early in the game.
After some pinball in the Leicester area, Thiago Silva’s curled cross was headed right for Azpilicueta, before Werner attempted to end his goal drought, only to take the ball away from his team-mate
Chelsea’s blunt approach to the game was punished when Tielemans scored one of the best goals of his life after the hour mark.
The Leicester midfielder fired a shot into the top corner of the net to produce one of the best FA Cup final goals in recent memory.
Tuchel was then forced to throw on Christian Pulisic in an attempt to get something out of the game, and the American immediately looked promising.
Despite having played under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund, he’s scarcely been used since the change of manager.
However, after his and Werner’s performances on Saturday, he’ll be expecting more minutes going forward.
But Werner’s future is becoming less and less certain.
Tuchel seems to be adamant that the forward – who scored 28 in 34 Bundesliga games last season – can recapture some of his form which saw him raise £53million last summer.
But he seems completely devoid of any confidence, and with Kai Havertz watching on from the bench – not to mention the looming prospect of Erling Haaland’s arrival, Tuchel has a big decision to make.
With the Champions League final to come, as well as key games in the battle for the top-four spots in the Premier League, how long can he afford to put his faith in the misfiring forward?
There’s no question of Werner’s ability, as was evidenced by his performances in Germany last year.
But it might simply be the case that Tuchel’s system doesn’t quite fit his style of play.
Having a striker who thrives when chasing down the ball and playing on the break doesn’t work when Chelsea play the way they are at the moment, dominating the ball and building up play slowly.
Perhaps the arrival of Haaland or Romelu Lukaku might help him this summer and take some of the attention away from him, allowing him to get the business done without so much of the spotlight on him.
But if he doesn’t show something quickly, it will be difficult to see how he can recover in west London.
He’s played as a winger before and to great effect, but in this current system it’s unlikely he’ll be deployed there.
Perhaps being used as an inside forward playing behind a leading striker could help him attack more, but that would take away from one of his greatest strengths – getting behind the opposing defence.
Whatever happens this summer and for the remainder of the season, Tuchel faces some difficult decisions over his attacking options.
Published at Sat, 15 May 2021 18:08:00 +0000