You are currently viewing How will Chelsea play under Thomas Tuchel?
Thomas Tuchel is Chelsea's new manager.

How will Chelsea play under Thomas Tuchel?

Frank Lampard didn’t have the best time as a manager at Chelsea Football Club. The former player was sacked by the club, spending a year and a half with them.

In his first season, the English manager finished 4th in the Premier League and ended up getting knocked out by Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16. The Blues were also the FA Cup runners-up, losing to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.

Lampard’s performance in his first season received a lot of plaudits, especially considering the fact that Chelsea had a transfer ban. However, the club hadn’t been doing very well under him this season.

Chelsea are currently 10th in the league table, and the performances under Lampard had been extremely underwhelming. Not every Chelsea supporter is happy with the sacking of their club legend as they were demanding more time for him to fix things up. But everybody knows how ruthless the club’s board can be when it comes to getting rid of managers.

Thomas Tuchel is now the newly appointed manager by the club. The former Dortmund and PSG manager has a difficult job to do this season. In this piece, we will break down the way the club is expected to play under the German manager.

Tactical flexibility

One of Thomas Tuchel’s great qualities as a manager is that he is very flexible. He is known for using different formations and shapes to fit his side and play the kind of football he prefers.

4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 are the formations Tuchel prefers to use the most. Besides these two formations, Tuchel has also been seen using 4-4-2, 4-2-2-2 and 3-5-2 while at Paris Saint Germain.

One downside of Frank Lampard was that he was tactically predictable. As a result, many teams were able to shut his side down very easily. But in that regard, Thomas Tuchel is one of the very best in the business.

High pressing and intensity

Tuchel always wants his team to play with a great intensity and press high up the pitch to win the ball.

Under Frank Lampard, Chelsea did try to press their opponents but the defensive shape was not well organised. We also did a breakdown on that in one of our previous pieces. Poor defensive shape and organisation has cost Chelsea many times this season.

The German manager demands a lot from his players and is likely to fix this problem at the club.

Attacking fullbacks and creative midfielders

Tuchel has also been known for using the creativity of midfielders and the attacking ability of fullbacks to create chances.

While at Borussia Dortmund, he used the likes of Julian Weigl, Raphael Guerreiro (who is naturally a left-back) and Mario Gotze in the centre of the pitch. During his time at Paris Saint Germain, he was blessed with midfielders like Marco Verratti and Giovani Lo Celso. He also converted Marquinhos into a defensive midfielder, who turned out to be brilliant in that role.

Tuchel also prefers to use fullbacks as an attacking force. At Chelsea, he will be inheriting Reece James and Ben Chilwell, who are some of the best attacking fullbacks in the league. The English fullbacks are expected to flourish under Tuchel’s coaching.

How will Chelsea line up under Tuchel?

As mentioned above, Tuchel’s most commonly used formations are 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3. It is likely for him to switch between these two formations during the early stages.

Kepa, James, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Chilwell, Kante, Jorginho, Ziyech, Havertz, Pulisic, Werner (4-2-3-1)
Chelsea’s expected lineup under Tuchel with everyone fully fit (4-2-3-1 formation)
Kepa, James, Christensen, Thiago Silva, Chilwell, Kante, Kovacic/Mount, Jorginho, Ziyech, Pulisic, Werner (4-3-3)
Chelsea’s expected lineup under Tuchel with everyone fully fit (4-3-3 formation)

Thomas Tuchel prefers to use ball-playing centre backs, so his expected picks might be Thiago Silva and Andres Christensen. Jorginho and Kante will likely make the pivot, with the former providing creativity and controlling the midfield and the latter performing defensive duties.

Kai Havertz failed to impress while playing as a no. 8 under Lampard. But we might witness a new version of the young German midfielder under Tuchel. Hakim Ziyech started his life in London well and seems to have a good chemistry with Reece James on the right side. Timo Werner is another new signing who has failed to make an impact, but Tuchel is expected to get the best out of him under his system.

If Tuchel prefers 4-3-3, he might use Mateo Kovacic as an extra midfielder partnering Jorginho and Kante. He has the ability to make the midfield more balanced. The Croatian international is also resistant to press. If not Kovacic, Mason Mount might be of use as a workhorse and Kai Havertz might be deployed as a no. 8 once again.

The young talent Callum Hudson-Odoi is also a great option to play wide when Pulisic and Ziyech are resting. Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud also provide great depth as strikers. With them, Tuchel also has extra options if he wants to go with two men up front.