Another Premier League roster, another full point earned, and with that, the lean-patch of the past is becoming a distant memory for Chelsea. The whole unit is functioning brilliantly and Thomas Tuchel seems to have found the formula to run this Blue Machine – tactical tweaks are doing the tricks.
11 games under Thomas Tuchel:
DWWWWWDWDWW ?#CHEEVE pic.twitter.com/xzzVc2o9Pi
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 8, 2021
In the match against Everton at Stamford Bridge, Tuchel used Kai Havertz as a false 9 between wide forwards Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The German, making his first start since 27 January, had his best game in a blue shirt and was involved in both goals as Chelsea cruised to a commanding win in the race to finish in the top four, dismissing passive Everton with ease.
Tuchel is bold and not afraid to experiment and when he offered the thought of using Havertz as a central striker last week, eyebrows were raised but the ploy worked against Everton, whose defenders were left clueless by the craft, movement, and easy way of finding space in dangerous positions of Havertz.
Thomas Tuchel is the first manager in Premier League history to not concede a single goal in any of his opening five home games in charge.
You Shall Not Pass. ?#CFC pic.twitter.com/NnLbhXXEZf
— William Hill (@WilliamHill) March 8, 2021
“He is a unique player,” Tuchel said last week while injury held back Havertz’s chances to start games.
“It’s not so clear where he needs to settle, does he need to settle on one special position? Or is he kind of a hybrid player. Today, I would say he’s in between a nine and a 10, something in between.”
It is a position he thrived in during his final weeks at Bayer Leverkusen, scoring eight goals in 11 games for Peter Bosz’s side in a run that convinced Chelsea to splash out £70 million ($97m) on the 21-year-old over the summer and Tuchel realized very well that in this position, he would be able to bring the best out of the young lad.
And, Havertz enjoyed the best game in a Chelsea shirt last night.
Great team performance ? pic.twitter.com/ZrOmfUFjeQ
— Kai Havertz (@kaihavertz29) March 8, 2021
“I’m very happy with his performance,” Tuchel said after the match. “There is no doubt about his talent. He needs to adapt to the Premier League. He needs to adapt where we play to win every game.
“We have the highest standards. This is a normal process. Today he was excellent. He showed up between the lines and used his potential to accelerate. He took responsibility to finish.”
The Blues controlled the game last night.
Kai Havertz opens the scoring for Chelsea! (1-0)
Great work from Hudson-Odoi also! #CHEEVE pic.twitter.com/tKQPPQZ6Ap
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) March 8, 2021
Everton tried the low-block but Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic pulled the strings from the midfield, winning the ball and using it wisely. With James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure missing, the visitors lacked ambition and the focus on containment left Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison struggling upfront.
A beautiful move, starting with Callum Hudson-Odoi discovering Marcos Alonso with a gorgeous pass on the left, finally had room and his inviting cutback reached Havertz, who timed his run well, and his side-footed shot deflected off Ben Godfrey for an own goal.
Andreas Christensen made more ball recoveries (7) than any other player on the pitch in the first half against Everton.
Looking better every week under Thomas Tuchel. ? pic.twitter.com/OkdNQjcKv1
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 8, 2021
Tuchel drilled his unit well since taking over who even under pressure built up from the back with confidence and rotated the possession – fast but neat passing and even without the ball their intent was always positive to win the ball back and neutralize any sort of threats – there has been a huge improvement at the backline – well-focused, solid and composed.
Andreas Christensen was unflappable in defence again and Kurt Zouma was strong on the left of the back three.
7 – Since Thomas Tuchel’s first game in charge of Chelsea (27th Jan 2021), no goalkeeper playing for a top five European league side has kept more clean sheets in all competitions than Edouard Mendy (7). Reliable. #CHEEVE pic.twitter.com/RNw2fo76SX
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 8, 2021
Blues goalkeeper Edouard Mendy only faced one shot on target.
Alonso released Havertz, who rounded Pickford before being fouled by the goalkeeper.
Jorginho stepped up to send Pickford the wrong way from the spot and the game was done.
The Blues are unbeaten in 11 games under the German, while the 2-0 shutout of Everton saw him become the first manager in Premier League history to see his side keep a clean sheet in each of his first five home games in charge in the division.
18 clean sheets out of 30 games for Chelsea.
Solid as a rock in defense. But tonight Kai #Havertz has made the difference. He deserves to be the man of the match. If Kai is physically fit, he is a diamond. Top Class. #CHEEVE 2-0 @SkySport pic.twitter.com/wr7vLd8Ajr
— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) March 8, 2021
And while Tuchel secured a personal piece of history last night, not conceding meant Chelsea have now kept five clean sheets in a row at home in the league for the first time since 2015.
“It is about desire,” said Tuchel.
“Defending is about effort. Sometimes it is necessary to defend midfield. It is about reliability, trust, courage, bravery.”
“The guys around you must help you, principles, reliable, having your backs covered.”
“I truly believe this is a team squad and I can feel the strong bond between the players,” Tuchel said. “They live it in every day of training. I feel it on the sidelines. I feel the support. We need this to have a run and to have results like this.”
Certainly, under Tuchel the blues are rejuvenated.