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Thomas Tuchel will be tempted to stick with back 4 until Reece James returns

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Chelsea lined up against Tottenham on Sunday in what Thomas Tuchel called a 4-1-4-1 formation. After sticking firmly to a back three for the first 11 months of his time at the club, the manager has started using a back 4 in recent weeks, as injuries and bad form force him to try new solutions.

Formations change during games, and they are all deployed slightly differently depending on who is in the line-up, but FBRef have Chelsea using a back 4 in four of their last 6 games.

With both of our first choice wing backs out, this shape suits the remaining players well. Cesar Azpilicueta and whoever plays at left back (Malang Sarr, in the case of Sunday’s game) have a much deeper starting position, which suits their skillset, and a centre back is replaced by an extra midfielder.

It gives the players on the wings different angles to attack, something which seemed to suit Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi well. Tuchel described it afterwards as a useful option to have, avoiding committing himself to it – but he must be thinking seriously about using it again.

Of course, any manager would be reluctant to move away from a formation and a system that he has spent so long teaching his charges. But with Reece James and Ben Chilwell, two key components of that formula, unavailable for some time, it might be time to adapt to the strengths of the players Chelsea do have available for the foreseeable future.

The Blues now have an odd run of games – two weeks off followed by an FA Cup tie against lower league opposition, then the Club World Cup, then a Premier League contest against Crystal Palace before important matches against Lille in the Champions League and Liverpool in the EFL Cup final.

It will be interesting to see whether Tuchel decides to use these softer games to get his team more and more well versed in the back four, or whether he now reverts to a form of 343.

When James returns – a moment which could still be a month or more away – the balance probably swings in favour of the latter, given how much damage the right wing back can do. But until then, the 4 might just be the way forward for this team as it struggles for attacking chemistry and new challenges for opposition defences.





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Tuchel has other pressing priorities after the defence – Talk Chelsea

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We are all fully aware now of the situation we are in this summer with our defenders. To recap, we could end up losing four senior defenders from our first team and in fact, it’s looking more likely by the day that we will be.

So obviously, replacing defenders this summer is bound to be the priority for Thomas Tuchel and the club. But there is arguably just as an important a position to sign in this summer after we have sorted the defence, and it’s so important that Tuchel and the new owners turn to it, and that is to add a true defensive midfielder to the squad.

A player who will purely sit, has the athleticism, ability on the ball, tough tackler, and able to snuff out danger and protect the back line.

Chelsea don’t currently have a player such as this in their squad, but most of the top teams in the world do. We need what they call a ‘destroyer’ holding midfielder, and we must be looking at that as a priority.

Chelsea and Tuchel clearly agree and know this, just look at all the true defensive midfielders we have been linked to over the last couple of months. I believe it is a position we will look to sign in, but naturally and importantly, they need to and want to rebuild the defence first.

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Levi Colwill

Crucial summer for Levi Colwill – Talk Chelsea

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Chelsea defender Levi Colwill helped his loan club Huddersfield get to the Championship playoff finals last night, and he was once again pinnacle to the performance and result.

The 19-year-old has continued to prove his worth this season and a couple of fans I’ve spoken to believe that he is mirroring Reece James’ loan season with Wigan when he really pushed on and made a name for himself. Colwill is most certainly doing the same this season.

The summer is pinnacle for him now though and there will be some crucial decisions being made. James came back to Chelsea under a transfer ban, Colwill might have to fight against some shiny new signings. It’s so important that Chelsea get this decsion right for his development and his future because make no mistake, this lad is going to the top.

If Huddersfiled get promoted to the Premier League, perhaps another loan back there for Colwill will be a wise move, especially if Chelsea go and sign a few new defenders to replace the ones who are leaving this summer.

The bottom line is Colwill needs to continue playing regular football now so he can really push on, and if he can have that guaranteed at Chelsea then perfect, I am all for that, he is completely ready for Premier League football. But if he isn’t going to get that then he must go on a loan in a top European division, preferably the Premier League.

Chelsea must not mess this one up and must make a path for him into regular first team football at the club, whether that is this summer or next. Colwill is the real deal.

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Thomas Tuchel tells us exactly what we need this summer – Talk Chelsea

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Just as the chant goes, “he knows exactly what we need” in reference to our head coach Thomas Tuchel, and in his latest press conference today, he has described ‘exactly what we need ‘ this summer.

It’s been clear for some time that this Chelsea squad is in need of a rebuild. Many players have either outstayed their welcome, have proven not to be good enough, or have just become deadwood at the club, and we know quite a few of them will be leaving, or at least asking to leave this summer.

Tuchel knows this and that is so clear from his latest comments on the up-and-coming summer transfer window, which you can find below.

The truth is though, we need to do both, improve the squad AND rebuild it, and we can do both. I think the rebuild comments are more aimed at our defence, where are definitely losing two players this season and possibly even at least two more. So, our defence will need a rebuild for sure.

The rest of the squad needs improvements added to it, and some of the returning loanees will certainly do that, but we might need to replace further players in the squad as well.

Personally, if it was me, I’d be asking the whole squad to be absolutely truthful and answer whether they truly want to be playing for Chelsea or not next season and beyond, and if any of them said no, then kindly let them depart and replace them with players who DO want to be at this club.

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