Villaflor: Tuchel’s magic touch

Noel Villaflor
·2 min read

The English Premier League still looks like anybody’s tourney at the moment.

With 50 points after 22 matches and a game in hand, Manchester City has a five point lead over closest rivals Manchester United.

Leicester City (43 pts.) and Liverpool (40 pts.) are not far behind.

Apart from the title race, what’s heating up right now is the battle for a place in the top four, which ensures direct slots to the group stage proper of the Champions League.

Either fifth place Chelsea (39 pts.) or West Ham (39 pts.) can barge into the magic four at the Reds’ expense, although Everton (37 pts.), Tottenham (36 pts.) and Aston Villa (35 pts.) have decent chances of doing so in the next few games.

But of all the top four aspirants, a rejuvenated Chelsea has the brightest prospects of making a breakthrough.

The Blues’ new manager, the German Thomas Tuchel, has turned things around after replacing Frank Lampard in late January.

After acquiring a string of players such as Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Edouard Mendy for a total of £222.5 million, Chelsea, under Lampard, went off to a flying start this season.

By November, Chelsea had a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions that earned Lampard a Manager of the Month nomination.

Chelsea even found itself on top of the Premier League table after defeating Leeds United last Dec. 06.

Little did anyone know that everything would go downhill from there for Lampard’s squad, which won only two out of eight Premiership matches.

Freefalling Chelsea had dropped from top of the table in early December to ninth place in late January.

The 2-0 loss to Leicester on Jan. 20 was the last straw for Chelsea management, which, ruthless as it sounds, sacked Lampard five days later.

In comes the innovative tactician Tuchel, and the way it looks, Chelsea, now at fifth in the table, has regained its bearings.

Since Tuchel took over last Jan. 26, Chelsea has won three and drawn one after four league matches, including a massive 1-0 away victory over Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur in a London derby.

The question is, does Tuchel have the magic touch to take Chelsea further?