Chelsea win Everton Saturday at Goodison Park was certainly a welcome start to the season, but it wasn’t a stellar performance – it was “well” according to the head coach – and it displayed plenty of problems familiar from last season, especially with a largely ineffective attack.
As it turns out, there is at least one good reason for this. Two actually. Neither Reece James nor Ben Chilwell was quite fit for the game, which, as we learned last season, can be a huge problem for a system that relies on playing full-backs.
“Today we played with Ben Chilwell who was not, for me, 100 per cent ready to start but the situation with Marcos Alonso [soon to leave for Barcelona] The late signing of Marc Cucurella made it necessary to take the risk.
“Rice [James] He’s also currently struggling to get a full and complete physique so we didn’t have enough wing-backs to give our inner players more freedom.”
Thomas Tuchel. source: Evening Standard
While James is supposed to be in full shape sooner rather than later – and perhaps do some extra corner training – Chilwell’s fitness is something to keep a close eye on. As great as it is that he is back, he is coming off a major injury and injury even with modern medical techniques and rehabilitation can have a lasting effect and change his career. The fact that Chelsea have largely eliminated another left-back underscores that position, even if Marc Cucurella could replace him as centre-back as well.
Our next match is against Antonio Conte Tottenham Hotspur. Whoever wins the quarterback fight may get three important early points.
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