On Wednesday, many Chelsea fans will begin to complain about the club's problems in form. Unfortunately, the Blues were missing their two best players (N'Golo Kante and Mason Mount), as well as a number of other key contributors in Reece James and Christian Pulisic, when they traveled to Turin.
Those factors must be considered when analyzing recent poor performances. Nonetheless, this is not the football played by the reigning Champions League champions. To put it mildly, Chelsea looked completely clueless against Juventus. The Old Lady set up in a low block, content to sit back and let the English giants have the majority of possession. The Blues essentially played right into their hands.
Thomas Tuchel's men moved forward at a moderate pace and with little urgency, appearing to come to a halt when they close to the box 18. Chelsea was late coming out of the locker room at halftime, and the hosts punished them with the game-winning goal 11 seconds into the second half. One side executed its strategy flawlessly, while the other did not. However, it is difficult to carry out a plan if one does not exist.
Chelsea looked completely befuddled in its 1-0 Champions League defeat at the hands of Juventus. The Blues chose an opportune time to begin stinking up the pitch. Chelsea's recent performances have been disappointing after a strong start to the season. Tuchel's team hasn't had a strong first half performance in over a month, when it was knocked off the pitch by Arsenal at the Emirates.
Questions have been raised about the typical month of poor results occurring early this year (rather than in the winter months), and they are certainly justified. It's normal for teams to go through rough patches, but the Blues' problems repeat themselves every season.
On Wednesday, Chelsea paid tribute to Maurizio Sarri at the Allianz Stadium, a fitting venue given that he is the former manager of both clubs.
The Blues returned to their Sarri-ball roots, as they were horrendous in possession for an entire 90 minutes for the first time since the Italian was on the touchline at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had control of the ball for 70% of the game, but only managed one shot on goal. For the entire game, the Blues kicked the ball around sluggishly and carelessly in the Juventus half. In the final third, there was no movement and no creativity.
The absence of someone like Mount undoubtedly had an impact. Nonetheless, with the likes of Kai Havertz, Romelu Lukaku, and Hakim Ziyech in the starting XI, Chelsea should have been able to break down the Old Lady. SW6 has been plagued by the aforementioned issues for many years. Players and managers have been replaced more times than anyone would care to admit or count, indicating that the solution is obviously much deeper. Tuchel will need to do what his predecessors were unable to do if he is to lead the Blues for many years to come.
Chelsea must buck the trend of putting together a string of poor performances or risk another disappointing season. The German gaffer will be given some breathing room to weather the storm. Unlike in previous years, the board is not the issue. Tuchel, on the other hand, will have to face the music, as the Premier League and Champions League are relentless. If this trend continues, the Blues will quickly fall behind the true trophy contenders.
Juventus now leads Group H, with the Blues facing the prospect of being kicked out of the group for the second time in their history, right after winning the competition. Could Chelsea be haunted by the ghost of 2013? It's highly unlikely. The Blues, on the other hand, are looking terrible after two games. They were outclassed by Juventus' low block, and only a flash of brilliance from Lukaku saved them from a frustrated Zenit. Simply put, Chelsea needs to turn things around quickly or it will begin to fall behind.
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