Chelsea lost in Turin last night to a determined Juventus side by a goal to nil. It was one of those tough matches where an opponent absorbs everything you throw at them. They then got their chance, scored a goal and the match ends there.
Juve's plan coming into the game was clear and they stuck to it for the whole of ninety minutes. They had a plan to mark Lukaku out, keep things tight at the back, and catch Chelsea on the break. They waited patiently for their chance and when it eventually came, they pounced.
Chelsea's major goal threat going into the match was Lukaku. The moment his threat was dealt with, the attack became as blunt as it could be. Tuchel has recently been making some mistakes with his use of Lukaku, more like the ones Ole Gunner Solskjær was guilty of when he had Lukaku at Manchester United.
It's obvious that Lukaku is a standing number 9, but also with the pace to run at defenders. Solskjær used him more like a standing 9, the same thing Tuchel is doing at the moment. Lukaku can execute this role perfectly, but when he comes up against strong defenders, who can't be bullied, he falls short. This has happened against Virgil Van Dijk, Ruben Dias and Leonardo Bonucci this season.
Tuchel has not exploited Lukaku's pace and ability to run at defenders. This is what Antonio Conte worked on at Inter Milan. He would never have Lukaku stand high up the pitch and get marked out while expecting the passes. Conte made him drop deep and be a part of the build-up.
Lukaku would have been more influential if he had dropped deep and played more with the midfielders last night. He would have either freed himself of Bonucci or pulled him out of position, which would have become an advantage for his teammates. The Belgian gave us a glimpse of what could have happened in the dying states of the match when he drifted off the central areas. He received a couple of passes which resulted in some missed chances. Maybe more of this would have resulted in a goal.
Anyway, there's no point crying over spilt milk. Trust Tuchel to always learn from his mistakes. Chelsea's next match is against Southampton, and it offers Tuchel a good chance to bounce back. Maybe a couple of Injury returns could also help cushion this current crisis.
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