Premier League side Chelsea look to have properly turned the page under new boss Thomas Tuchel following the German’s arrival as a replacement for Frank Lampard last month. The new boss has overseen six games without loss since his appointment, only one coming on the front of a draw, and will test his acumen in the Champions League next week.
The Blues are set to face the Spanish Primera Division’s Atletico Madrid next Tuesday in the competition’s Round of 16 and should be feeling pretty hopeful over their chances given the form they’re in.
Tuchel’s men dispatched Newcastle pretty easily on Monday to return to the Premier League’s top four, with Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner scoring the goals in a 2-0 win. They will be playing a Southampton side who haven’t won since defeating Liverpool 1-0 on January 4 before their first Champions League match for 2021 and, should they claim another win, will head into the clash in a very rich vein of form.
Tuchel has rung in several changes since taking over from Lampard last month. Calum Hudson-Odoi seems to be the first choice wing-back when the Blues play with three central defenders while Marcos Alonso has been playing regularly again after getting banished by his former manager. The German also seems to prefer the tandem of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in midfield but, perhaps the most shocking selection was Kepa Arrizabalaga getting the nod over Edouard Mendy in goal against Newcastle on Monday night. Tuchel has since confirmed Mendy remains the No.1 goalkeeping option for the team.
Hakim Ziyech hasn’t been getting many minutes under Tuchel, which is a concern. That also appears to be the case for American winger Christian Pulisic. However, as long as Chelsea keep the wins rolling in, fans aren’t expected to complain all that loudly.
Tuchel is refusing to get carried away amid his team’s encouraging form, despite the return to the top four.
“We will never stop pushing because there is no other way,” he told the Blues’ official website after watching his side beat the Magpies this week. “We knew that we could be in the top four if we won today but I can only tell everyone that there is still a long way to go, there are a lot of teams very close. We have a lot of games to play, we have a lot of big teams to play, there are many points to win.
“Now, it’s important for me that we take two days off and we recover mentally and physically and then prepare 100 per cent for Southampton because that will be the next challenge. At the moment this is our position, but what matters is our position at the end.
“When we started we were a lot of points behind Liverpool with many teams between us and fourth place. So it was clear that it was not only in our hands, that we needed also results on other pitches to close the gap. This was the situation when we started and from there on we spent not one minute thinking about the other pitches and the other teams.
“We spent every minute with the team to focus on us, to prepare matches because we play in the toughest league. It can be a reward now to look at the table but it cannot distract us. “From Thursday on the only focus will be on how to be ready for Southampton. We worked hard for this momentum, the players worked very hard to win all these games in a row, and we will keep going.”
Tuchel would love to see that form extend to the Champions League and his arrival must have sparked hope the Londoners could win it all. However, bookmakers have Bayern Munich as their favourite, you can learn more about Bookmaker in this review.
Meanwhile, Atletico have been bossing things in La Liga and have a clear five-point gap at the top of the standings with two games in hand over second-placed rivals Real Madrid.
The Spanish supremos will be the ones to hand Chelsea’s new manager his first taste of Champions League action with the Blues and, according to reports coming from Spain, have received a very timely injury boost ahead of the UCL showdown.
Uruguayan defender Jose Maria Gimenez suffered a muscular injury recently and was initially ruled out for up to three weeks, yet it has been reported that he was back in training as of the weekend and could be back in time for the match against Chelsea next Tuesday as the source claims he has made a complete recovery.
Los Rojiblancos are scheduled to play Levante this Wednesday; head coach Diego Simeone is likely to leave Gimenez out as a precautionary measure, even if the above is to be believed.