A LOSS AGAINST ASTON VILLA ON SUNDAY MEANS TUCHEL'S SQUAD MIGHT HAVE DIFFICULTIES BEATING THE CURRENT CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND, MANCHESTER CITY.
And as the curtains were lifted on Sunday in England, all the Premier League teams prepared for the ultimate showdown. A roller-coaster Premier League title finally reached its destination in Manchester.
— Premier League (@premierleague) May 23, 2021
And as pundits call it Manchester was once again Blue rather than Red, something the young generation is tired of hearing. But with the title already in Pep’s bag, something that made the people glued to their television sets was the top-4 race.
It had all boiled down to the last day, and Liverpool, Leicester, and Chelsea were all in the hunt to get a ticket to Champions League next year.
“Everyone has come together as one and I’m really proud of every single one of the people here.
“Now we’ve got another game to go and the chance to make more history.”
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 23, 2021
All three teams needed three points if they wanted to be a part of the elite Premier League group but unfortunately, there wasn’t enough room for everyone.
Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea were almost on the verge of abandoning months of sweat, determination, and passion when Aston Villa took a 2 goal lead against the Blues. It rarely happens that both the teams celebrate after a match even if one of them has ended up on the losing side. But as Tuchel’s squad were creating waves of attacks against the Villans, their North-London rivals were doing them a huge favour.
A fairytale comeback from Spurs against Leicester, gave a much-needed boost to Chelsea as they finally reserved a seat at the Champions League table. But a loss in the FA Cup final and a last-minute slip up in the Champions League race could have easily put Tuchel under the scanner.
— The FA Cup Final (@FACupFinal) May 18, 2021
And with the Champions League final just around the corner, Tuchel will have to make some harsh and necessary decisions if Chelsea doesn’t want to end trophyless once again.
THE START OF THE REVIVAL
Thomas Tuchel was appointed from the French club, PSG in January. After winning 2 Ligue 1 titles he came to England to accomplish goals that ex-manager Thomas Tuchel couldn’t. Not to forget that Tuchel also had some Bundesliga experience under his belt coaching Dortmund in his early managerial career.
Before Tuchel was given control, Chelsea were practically drowning and the big sharks of the Premier League were eating them alive every week. But after his signing, the situation at Stamford Bridge changed drastically.
Welcome to Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel! ✍️🔵 #WelcomeTuchel
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 26, 2021
In the blink of an eye, Chelsea were beating any opposition that tried to stick a leg in their business. Stamford Bridge became a fortress and Tuchel the Managerial King of England.
In Europe also, the Blues were touching new ceilings every time they went on to the pitch. A fabulous bicycle from Giroud helped them beat the Champions of Spain, Atletico Madrid.
An ecstatic Porto squad didn’t present too much of a challenge for them as they marched into the semi-final. And then the Champions of Champions, Real Madrid came in their way. But once again Tuchel’s troops were too good for the Spanish side.
The #UCLfinal between Manchester City and Chelsea will now be held at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto.
6,000 fans of each team will be able to attend.
Full story: ⬇️
— UEFA (@UEFA) May 13, 2021
But since they secured a ticket to the Champions League final in Porto, the quality of football at Stamford Bridge has dropped. Chelsea has lost their way at the end of the season and the winning mentality that Tuchel instilled in his players has somehow disappeared from the squad. The Blues look tired, are always chasing shadows, and aren’t looking to win matches, something that was happening under Lampard but changed since Tuchel’s arrival.
A POOR OUTING AT VILLA PARK
After defeating Leicester City last week, the intensity and hunger in the Chelsea squad were visible. With the Blues being a point above the Reds and the Foxes, it seemed as if it would be a cakewalk for the Azpilicueta lead Blue army. But it seemed as if Chelsea forgot to switch to game mode and their controller had been disconnected. Aston Villa started dominating the away side and a goal could have put a lot of pressure on them.
One of my most enjoyable days ever at villa park! Having fans back and the noise that was being made generally gave me goosebumps! Great win boys and a great season ♥️⚽️ pic.twitter.com/bkdf7vqbE1
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish) May 23, 2021
It seemed as if the deadlock wouldn’t be broken in the first half and Chelsea players could escape a scolding from Tuchel. But Aston Villa and Bertrand Traore had other plans. Aston Villa was awarded a corner in the 43rd minute of the game and the little crowd started cheering the home team.
A low cross into the box and Tarore made no mistakes as he found the back of the net. Villa Park erupted in joy as the ex-Chelsea man raised his hands in apology and didn’t celebrate his goal. But once again Chelse was caught sleeping and conceded a goal that could have been avoided. The peaceful conversation at half-time turned into a thrashing and it seemed like Chelsea would look to get back into their beast mode.
Bertrand Traoré ending his debut Aston Villa season in 𝗦𝗧𝗬𝗟𝗘. 😎 pic.twitter.com/ZcLkaPaJ63
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 23, 2021
But the story was completely the opposite. Aston Villa started the second-half on the front foot and found pockets of space behind the opposition’s backline. If Chelsea had a synonym it would surely be ‘Unnecessary Mistakes’.
And one more chapter to that book of mistakes was added when Jorginho gave away a penalty just 5 minutes into the second half. After a heated debate between the referee and the Chelsea players, El Ghazy stepped up to take the spot-kick. And the very next second the net was shaking as he doubled Villa’s lead.
Anwar El Ghazi's 𝟭𝟬𝘁𝗵 Premier League goal of the season, celebrated with the Holte End! 😍 pic.twitter.com/vzv9wKuvev
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 23, 2021
The phones were out as fans wanted to know what was happening a few miles away at Tottenham. At one point in time, Leicester had sneaked into the top-4 taking Chelsea’s ticket but soon lost their way out and a loss for Leicester meant Chelsea went through.
As evident Chelsea never looked the strong side, it appeared as if none of the players were here to win. They didn’t have a solid midfield throughout the game and that’s where the likes of Grealish and Traore dominated them. Mount was left alone a lot of times covering up for either Jorginho or Kovacic. And the strikers didn’t show the poacher instincts which should be evident from a player who’s been bought in for whopping sums of money.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Chelsea and Tuchel have to be reminded that the UCL final is the only way they can win a trophy this season. Though a top-4 finish looks exciting, the fans at Stamford Bridge won’t be satisfied with 2 runners-up medals. But they have to keep in mind that if they produce such performances, Manchester City could easily make it one-way traffic at Portugal.
Pep’s squad are the current champions of England, have prolific goalscorers and their bench strength is better than the main eleven of many teams around Europe. Timo Werner will be up against Ruben Dias, Mason Mount will fight it out with Phil Foden, and Kante will battle with Kevin De Bruyne. These are some of the key battles that will take place on Sunday and if Chelsea doesn’t manage to ace them, it might be a night to remember for the club from Manchester.