Jeff Harris gets in touch: “What about a mention of Banbury United. Southern League Central DivisionChampions. One home defeat and one away defeat all season. 102 points over the season>”
Yeah, what about them, Jeff?
Thomas Tuchel spoke this week of his team’s drop in form.
Maybe … then it comes back to me because I should push them and make them alert,” he said. “It’s human to be tired, human to be more alert in a knockout game than a normal match. Sometimes it’s also good, the foundation to be able to play 60 games.
I remember at Mainz with one game a week and every game was like a cup final. On a Saturday, we gave 150% physically but also mentally, the players were drained until Tuesday. Once I stepped into being coach at Borussia Dortmund, I saw that players gave everything physically on a normal match but mentally it was not the same stress level as for players at Mainz. They were capable of playing more games.
It’s a thin line in judging – that’s why lazy is the wrong word. But it’s OK to feel less tension in a normal match in the Premier League and a home match than if you go to the Bernabéu. It’s normal because it is maybe less tension, less excitement, less pressure. But it cannot lead to being less alert. This can never happen.
The uncertainty at the club is reflected by the loss of their star defender, a player just about any club would like to make us of.
So, Frankfurt is on David Moyes’s mind with those six changes, with Declan Rice is on the bench, as is Jarred Bowen and Michail Antonio. What of Chelsea? Malang Sarr and Romelu Lukaku are left out, little surprise after that Arsenal defeat in midweek. Reece James is not fit to play, and in come Jorginho, Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz, not a bad trio to bring in against the Hammers’ reserves.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Silva, Christensen, Loftus-Cheek, Kante, Jorginho, Alonso, Mount, Werner, Havertz. Subs: Arrizabalaga, Lukaku, Pulisic, Chalobah, Saul Niguez, Barkley, Ziyech, Kenedy, Sarr.
West Ham: Fabianski, Coufal, Dawson, Cresswell, Johnson, Soucek, Noble, Masuaku, Fornals, Benrahma, Yarmolenko. Subs: Areola, Antonio, Lanzini, Vlasic, Bowen, Fredericks, Kral, Rice, Alese.
These are certain times at Chelsea. There’s the overnight news that Antonio Rüdiger is to depart the club, and Andreas Christensen to follow, and then there’s the mood around the place. Thomas Tuchel was not happy with the pitch after that Wednesday night loss to Arsenal, and the empty seats and lack of availability of programs reminded that the club is in sanctioned stasis. The three remaining bidders for the club are in abeyance, with story after story revealing it has not been an easy process. What awaits Chelsea on the other side of that saga is even more uncertain save to say it will not be like the Roman Abramovich era. So, are Chelsea primed to be on the end of a London derby defeat? It seems possible but then again, West Ham have their eyes on Eintracht Frankfurt and the Europa League while seeming to have run out of players. So, who knows what happens? And that’s why the Premier League is the best league in the world…
Kick-off is at 2pm. Join me.