Tuchel has a tough task ahead to reverse Chelsea's fortunes

By January 31, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

 

  1. Tough task ahead for Thomas Tuchel

Chelsea have given their new manager Thomas Tuchel 18 months to reverse the club’s fortunes after sacking Frank Lampard. Tuchel’s first match in charge ended in a 0-0 home draw with Wolves on Wednesday, a clear sign that the task ahead is not an easy one.  The big question looming is how can he avoid the same fate as Lampard? 

The 42-year-old German is more experienced than his predecessor having had spells at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund as well as two and a half years at PSG in France, leading them to back-to-back French league titles.

He also led the French champions to the 2019/20 Champions League final.

Winning cup competitions and making the top-four in the EPL would help him keep his job at the end of the season but going forward that will not be enough for team owner Roman Abramovich.

Notwithstanding his proven coaching acumen, Tuchel has developed somewhat of a reputation of getting into power struggles with club hierarchies. He was fired by Dortmund after falling out with officials there, similar to his exit from PSG. He would be advised to stay in Abramovich’s good books.

He would also do well to capitalize on his relationships with Thiago Silva who he coached at PSG and Christian Pulisic from Dortmund.

 The task at hand is not impossible and Tuchel seems ready to take on his latest project.

“I decided not to worry about that too much and to go to do it, to be brave enough to take this adventure. It’s my character to believe more in the chances than in the risks,” he said.

 

  1. Windies stars continue to shine in Abu Dhabi T10

The ICC T20 World Cup set for October in India is still some time away but the excitement in the Abu Dhabi T10 has reignited the hope that West Indies just might have a chance. The first week of the Abu Dhabi T10 was filled with brilliant performances both with bat and ball from notable Windies players.

Several Windies players have found form early in the tournament. The Northern Warriors’ Lendl Simmons blasted an unbeaten 54 in his first match. Evin Lewis also started off with a bang having scored 100 runs in three matches that included a top score of 55. He was also not out twice and is the third-highest run-scorer for this 2021 edition.

Nicholas Pooran has also been brilliant with the bat. After two matches he has 73 runs with a high score of 54. The Pune Devils Kennar Lewis in his first match scored a 28-ball 57 not out to lead his team to victory.

There have also been noteworthy performances with the ball as the Northern Warriors’ Rayad Emrit is ranked fifth for most wickets in the tournament. He has bowled 4 overs for 46 runs and taken three wickets. His teammate Fabian Allen has bowled two overs for 11 runs and taken two wickets. Deccan Gladiators Sunil Narine has grabbed two wickets from his two overs.

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Tuchel ready to put faith in Saul as Kovacic ruled out with coronavirus Tuchel ready to put faith in Saul as Kovacic ruled out with coronavirus

    Thomas Tuchel vowed to never give up on Saul Niguez after Chelsea's midfield selection issues deepened with the loss of Mateo Kovacic to coronavirus.

    Kovacic returned to training on Monday following a six-week injury lay-off and was expected to be part of Chelsea's squad to face Zenit on Wednesday.

    However, Kovacic returned a positive COVID-19 on Tuesday and will miss the Champions League trip to Russia, while he is also set to sit out the league games with Leeds United and Everton.

    Chelsea are without fellow midfielders N'Golo Kante and Jorginho, plus defenders Ben Chilwell and Trevoh Chalobah, and Tuchel is cautious about overworking his players.

    "We had a bit of an acute overload due to injuries and the schedule," he said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference. 

    "Due to injuries in some positions, like central midfield, we have struggled. The game tomorrow is not the problem, it's more the game that comes up on Saturday [against Leeds].

    "We had an early game against West Ham and then a late game against Zenit. We had a day off and good training session today. 

    "The problem is the next match because we will lose time to sleep and arrive back very early on Thursday. Leeds are an intense team who have prepared to face this match."

    Asked about Kovacic's positive coronavirus test, Tuchel said: "I was aware this can happen and I'm not happy, but this is the reality right now. We have to be ready to adapt.

    "There is a huge chance that we make changes against Zenit."

    Kovacic had previously been recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in training, with the Croatia international's most recent appearance coming on October 26.

    Kante has missed Chelsea's previous three games with an ailment sustained in the 4-0 win over Juventus, meanwhile, and Tuchel has no intention of rushing the France international back.

    "I'm careful with bringing him back. I have quite an open relationship with him," Tuchel said. "He's a careful person and takes care of his body. 

    "I agree he's a superman who makes the difference and everyone in the world wants him on their team. It's not related to age or overload – it was an accident in the match."

    The absence of Kovacic, Kante and Jorginho may see Saul come into the side for what would be just his eighth appearance in all competitions since joining on loan in September.

    Saul has struggled to impose himself so far, with his passing accuracy of 77.98 per cent the lowest of any Chelsea central midfielder, but Tuchel is hoping to see more from the Atletico Madrid loanee.

    "He's one of the guys that needs minutes. He is always in our thoughts and we think about every training session and form," he said. 

    "I think he struggled a bit with the intensity and he's a bit unlucky he played against Aston Villa, Southampton and Watford, all three were high-intensity games, above average.

    "We try to encourage him because he grows into Chelsea more and more. We won't stop encouraging him and trying to bring out the best. It's possible he will improve tomorrow."

    Chelsea have won only three of their past six games in all competitions, most recently losing 3-2 to West Ham on Saturday as they lost control of the Premier League title race.

    The Blues are already assured of a place in the last 16 of the Champions League ahead of their clash with Zenit, but they are battling with Juve for top spot.

    However, Tuchel is not panicking as his side aim to become the second English team after Manchester United (in both 2003-04 and 2010-11) to win four straight games in the competition without conceding.

    "We dropped some points against Man United, found a solution to win at Watford, and we lost with a freak shot against West Ham," Tuchel said.

    "We had this before. We lost games and we don't like it. But we're not worried. We have a certain anger and ambition when you don't win. 

    "Everyone hates to lose but it happens. But when we analysed the game, the data, watched the game back, I don't think we need to ask big questions."

    The only previous meeting between Zenit and Chelsea came in September, the Blues recording a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge through Romelu Lukaku's second-half winner.

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool eyeing Dybala, Madrid identify Modric successor Rumour Has It: Liverpool eyeing Dybala, Madrid identify Modric successor

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    Dybala is out of contract at the end of the season and while there have been negotiations, the Juve star is yet to re-sign in Turin.

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    ROUND-UP

    - El Nacional claims Real Madrid are eyeing Rennes sensation Lovro Majer as the successor to fellow Croatian Luka Modric at the Santiago Bernabeu. Modric is out of contract at season's end and has been linked with Premier League champions Manchester City.

    Ousmane Dembele wants to rebuild his career away from Barcelona, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Frenchman has been linked with Manchester United, Newcastle United, Tottenham and Chelsea.

    - United forward Edinson Cavani is an option for Barca as they look to bolster their attack, says Mundo Deportivo. Basel's Arthur Cabral has emerged as a possible January option.

    Jose Mourinho's job at Roma is not in danger, according to Fabrizio Romano. Roma have only won three of their past nine Serie A fixtures.

    - Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is still set to join Serie A champions Inter despite interest from Barca, per Romano.

    - Former RB Leipzig head coach Jesse Marsch is an option to join Ralf Rangnick's coaching staff at United. Marsch was sacked by Bundesliga side Leipzig earlier this week.

  • FA Cup third round draw: Man Utd take on Gerrard's Villa, Leicester face another Ranieri reunion FA Cup third round draw: Man Utd take on Gerrard's Villa, Leicester face another Ranieri reunion
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