Why Thomas Tuchel is the Perfect Fit for Chelsea – Tactical Analysis

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Today, relatively out of the blue, Frank Lampard was sacked by Roman Abramovich at Chelsea. Yesterday, without knowing this information, we analyzed why Thomas Tuchel would be the perfect man to take over if Chelsea were to sack their former club legend. This article will take a greater look at why the Blues should seriously consider the German as their next manager. Here is Part Three of our Tactical Analysis series all about Thomas Tuchel.

4-3-3 or 4-2-2-2?

With Frank Lampard’s sacking and Thomas Tuchel’s principles of play fitting perfectly, the German would make a lot of sense as the next manager of Chelsea. The former PSG man ha been linked with the Blues and negotiations may take place now that Lampard is out of the picture. Chelsea have always been a team more than capable of playing “heavy metal football”, and would adapt well to Tuchel’s principles of play. Perhaps this heavy metal nature and the intensity that Tuchel encapsulates would be exactly what the Blues need to challenge for the title again. They would be more than capable of pressing from the front, and would likely do so more effectively than they have under Frank Lampard. Players like Timo Werner and Kai Havertz could be key to his team, despite struggling under Lampard’s management at the moment. Chelsea could for example play in a 4-2-2-2, with Timo Werner as a striker alongside someone like Abraham or Giroud, in the exact role the German forward played at Leipzig for years. Havertz would also fit into this system well, allowing him to play as a cross between a winger and an attacking midfielder. The 4-2-2-2 would be a really intriguing option for the Blues, as Lampard has struggled with both the 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 in recent months. Here is an example of what the system might look like with Tuchel as manager.

The 4-2-2-2 would suit Chelsea exceptionally well. It would give Kante the ability to play in a number 6 position without carrying the burden of needing to be the key man to play out from the back, and it would allow Timo Werner to play as a striker alongside someone else, as he did for years at Leipzig to great success. If Chelsea wanted to control a match, they might opt for a 4-3-3 instead. PSG and Borussia Dortmund both played with three central midfielders more than not, in a 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 respectively. This allowed Tuchel to have control of the match and play out from the back through his ‘number 8’s’. But if Tuchel wanted to control a match in a different way, through defensive pressure, counter attacking and systematic gegenpressing, Chelsea would do very well in a 4-2-2-2 formation. Just see the below infographic to get a glimpse of just how well this formation can cover the space.

Here we see that the formation would allow Chelsea to press from the front, win the ball back quickly and have their danger men like Kai Havertz and Timo Werner in central areas. One of the benefits of this approach as opposed to the 4-3-3 is that it would allow Werner to operate in central areas, either deep or high, without compromising the team’s ability to have a natural number 9. Out of anyone, the German is probably the player that Chelsea should be attempting to build their squad around. Playing in this kind of formation in a high-pressing system would be exactly what Chelsea need to build their squad around what is probably on paper, their best player. But the Blues could also fare exceptionally well in a 4-3-3.

If Tuchel wants to have complete and utter domination over opposition teams, there is no reason why he wouldn’t be able to in a 4-3-3 formation, with players like Kovacic, Mount and a host of talented ball-players in the number 6 position like Jorginho, Gilmour and Kante. If you are confused by the infographic, be sure to check out our analysis of Tuchel’s Principles of Play. Essentially, the German uses ‘number 8’s’ such as Leandro Paredes or Ilkay Gundogan, to build out from the back more so than ‘number 6’s’. So Chelsea wouldn’t necessarily need a Jorginho type in their side, although Gilmour would have a lot of similarities to Julian Weigl. The German defensive midfielder, who was nineteen at the time of his signing, was excellent in Tuchel’s tenure as Dortmund manager and only started to fade into the background once he was gone. This formation would allow Mason Mount to continue in a ‘number 8’ position as well, without needing to be key to the build-up in the sort of manner pictured above, as he probably would have to do more so in the 4-2-2-2. Then Timo Werner could operate in either a wide area or up front, and the right winger could be someone who is not an out and out winger (as Tuchel often implements) such as Hakim Ziyech or Kai Havertz. Chelsea also have excellent ball-playing centre-backs like Kurt Zouma and Thiago Silva, and attack-minded fullbacks in Reece James and Ben Chilwell to match. He might even help to get the best out of his compatriot Antonio Rudiger, who never looked settled under Lampard.

youngsters could continue

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Regardless of formation, Tuchel’s arrival at the club might be an excellent way to get Chelsea’s misfiring Germans back on track, without compromising the ability of players like Christian Pulisic (who Tuchel has worked with in the past) and Hakim Ziyech. But the fear for some with the sacking of Frank Lampard might be that some of Chelsea’s youngsters who’ve succeeded under the club legend would struggle to adapt and fit into a new manager’s system. Given the relative talent of those involved, Tuchel’s policy on squad roation and the variety of systems he could implement, we don’t think that will happen. Mason Mount could struggle to fit into a 4-2-2-2 formation, but he’s also versatile enough to play as one of the advanced two in the system. He had a very successful time at the start of his Chelsea career playing as a left attacking midfielder, and there’s no reason why he couldn’t go back to that role if Tuchel wanted to change the system, and keep the Englishman in his lineup. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham would fit into any system of play, Reece James would remain the first choice ahead of Azpilicueta given his attack-minded nature, and players like Fikayo Timori and Billy Gilmour could easily be given more of a shot under Tuchel than they were given under Lampard. Therefore, we don’t believe Chelsea have anything to worry about when it comes to that concern.

concluding thoughts

With all of this in mind, Thomas Tuchel would be an excellent fit for Chelsea, especially now that Frank Lampard has unfortunately been let go. Chelsea would fare well in either a 4-3-3 or 4-2-2-2, and both formations would give the Blues something different depending on the match. If he wanted greater control in build-up phases he could opt for something like the 4-3-3, and if he wanted to press from the front and achieve greater control through defensive pressure, he could implement the 4-2-2-2. So the question now becomes whether or not Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea powers that be are willing to commit to Tuchel’s demands. If they are, Chelsea have a seriously good manager on their hands, capable of doing something very special with this current crop of players and potentially challenge for a league title again.

So there it is! Part Three of our tactical analysis all about where Thomas Tuchel should land next and why Chelsea is the best fit for the German manager. Be sure to check out Part One and Part Two to this series and feel free to leave a comment below or on Twitter 
@mastermindsite. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

You might also enjoy…
-> Thomas Tuchel – Paris Saint Germain – Tactical Analysis
-> Thomas Tuchel’s Principles of Play – Tactical Analysis
-> Thomas Tuchel – Tactical Analysis – Where Should He Land Next?


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