Old faces, Tuchel’s lucky charm at Chelsea
New Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel secured his first victory in charge of the Blues as goals from long-serving defender Cesar Azpilicueta and the recalled left-full back Marcos Alonso helped his team defeat Burnley 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
The longest-serving player at Chelsea, Azpilicueta – drilled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s pass high past Burnley goalie Nick Pope just before half-time in the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. Azpilicueta, playing under his eighth manager at the Bridge, scored at the end of a fine flowing display of passes.
Another Old foe, Marcos Alonso, returning to the starting eleven for the first start since last year September after being left out of the team under recently sacked manager Frank Lampard, completed the emphatic win late on with a decent goal in the 84th minute.
Tuchel’s boys comfortably registered a second back-to-back clean sheet under the new German boss, whose first match was the midweek scoreless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, as Sunday’s opponent, Burnley did not hit a shot on target.
As a result, the Blues have moved up three places to seventh in the Premier League table, while the Lancashire team slip to 16th below Newcastle United on the number of goals scored. The victory boosted Chelsea’s chances of qualifying for Europe and with enhanced betting odds, many fans may be tempted to back the Blues to finish in the top four.
Aside from the impressive win on the day, the only downside for the new manager was the failure of his compatriot Timo Werner to score for a 12th consecutive Premier League match. Werner, signed from RB Leipzig last summer, has struggled to find his form in west London so Tuchel is under pressure to get him firing again in front of goal.
The old, or rather experienced players, in the team seem to be Tuchel’s lucky charm, as they have been called upon on the manager’s opening two games. Their experience proved solid against Wolves, and against Burnley, they got the goals to win the game.
No players in the starting line-up of Chelsea have been at the club longer than Azpilicueta, a 2012 acquisition from French Ligue 1 side Marseille, and Spaniard Marcus Alonso, who joined the London side four years later from Serie A side Fiorentina.
It was indeed strange that Azpilicueta would score the first goal in the Tuchel era considering he was the only member of the current crop of Chelsea players to play alongside recently fired boss Frank Lampard as well as under the English tactician.
The goal scored by Azpilicueta reminds you of Lampard’s style of bursting into the six-yard box at the appropriate time, finishing a flowing counter by overlapping Hudson-Odoi – playing at right wing-back – and blasting the ball into the roof of the net.
Azpilicueta’s goal was his first in more than 12 months, while Alonso’s goal was not exactly surprising given his goal-scoring figures in time past, his inclusion in Tuchel’s starting line-up was an eye-opener considering that he had not played for the side for over four months.
Replacing Ben Chilwell in the starting eleven, the Spaniard produced a great piece of skill, bringing down the ball with his chest and taking one more precise touch with his knee before unleashing a ferocious volley into the net.
The sudden revival of Chelsea old boys will come as good news to fans who have long hoped for a return of the good old days. Aside from awakening the old legs, Thomas Tuchel must equally finds a way to turn around Timo Werner’s form this campaign, as the 24-year-old still seeks his first goal since early November.
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