Jose Mourinho is battle-hardened. He has had his highs and lows in football management but he will be disappointed in his side’s current form. This loss to Chelsea means that for the first time in his career, he has lost back-to-back home games. It also means that Spurs have now lost 3 consecutive games. The losses have come against Liverpool, Brighton, and now Chelsea.
The first half of the game against Chelsea was dire as Tottenham struggled to make good use of the ball. They relied on the ball-carrying ability of their midfielders to take them forward as they lacked inspiration. A moment of madness from Eric Dier would compound their woes. The English defender tripped Timo Werner in the box and Jorginho smashed the penalty past Hugo Lloris. Tottenham came out in the second half looking better but Chelsea remained resolute and saw out the result.
For Thomas Tuchel, it is 3 matches, 2 wins, 1 draw, and 3 clean sheets on his Chelsea adventure. Chelsea looked bright in the opening exchange but could not capitalize until Tottenham dashed them an opening. They created good chances but the finishing issues of Chelsea’s forward line continue to pose a problem. Since his appointment, Chelsea have at least looked more compact and they look more capable of defending transitions. The German is doing an impressive job building a deflated Chelsea side and they have done it playing well with the ball and even better off it. He becomes the first Chelsea manager since Jose Mourinho to keep a clean sheet in his first 3 games. We analyze 3 points from a game in which Chelsea took the 3 points.
The Kids Are Alright
For many Chelsea fans, Thomas Tuchel’s arrival was met with a quizzical look because of the youth project his predecessor had put in place. Frank Lampard protected Chelsea’s academy boys and gave them the shot that most managers wouldn’t afford them. Tammy Abraham, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Billy Gilmour, and Mason Mount have been important players for Chelsea under their legend but there were fears Thomas Tuchel would abandon ship trying to salvage Chelsea’s season. Tuchel has done the opposite. In his first game, he showed faith in Callum Hudson-Odoi. Callum started the first game in the wing-back position. Then in the second game, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham got their chance to shine with Reece James coming off the bench. Against Tottenham, Reece James, Mason Mount, and Callum Hudson-Odoi all started, showing that the German coach will keep faith with the academy boys. A much welcome development.
Tuchel seems enthused at the prospect of handling a talented youngster like Mason Mount. He was quick to praise Billy Gilmour’s qualities, stating that he is close to the first team (the same position Lampard held while in charge). Reece James was flawless against Spurs and even though CHO was quieter than in his first two appearances under Tuchel, he did a decent job. Thiago Silva’s injury in the 36th minute forced forgotten academy man Andreas Christensen into the lineup and the Danish defender had a good game. The kids are in great hands.
There Will Be No Second Season Title Challenge From Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho is now synonymous with his second season title charge, more often than not winning a league title after a year of understanding the league. He won league titles in his second season at FC Porto, Chelsea (twice), Inter Milan, and Real Madrid. But lads, it’s Tottenham. There is a different mentality over there. As Giorgio Chiellini put it, it’s the history of Tottenham.
Tottenham started the season like a team ready to challenge for the title but their fire has burnt out. Since the first half against Liverpool when Harry Kane limped off and did not come back out for the second half, Tottenham have looked dour and lacking in ideas. Against Chelsea, they struggled to progress the ball outside of Tanguy Ndombele’s natural midfield thrust. Their ball progression was tepid and it looked like they were always waiting for Kane to drop deep so he could find Son Heung-Min with one of his trademark balls.
Jose Mourinho has now lost back-to-back home games for the first time in his career but worse of all is that his title charge looks over. Despite winning so much, winning a league title with Tottenham would have been one of his most impressive achievements considering the mentality associated with the club. Jose Mourinho does have a shot at the Carabao Cup as Tottenham have qualified for the final. It will not be easy though. He will be up against his archnemesis in Pep Guardiola. There is also the Europa League and the FA Cup to look forward to if that does not work out. Mourinho may not be able to perform magic and bring Spurs the league title but he will be relishing getting his hand on one of these cups. Tottenham need it.
Tinkerman Tuchel is Here To Stay
Chelsea at one point had the original tinkerman as their coach but now, a new one returns in the shape of Thomas Tuchel. In his 3 matches as Chelsea boss, the German has shown his flair for squad rotation even though the first game shouldn’t count because he had barely trained the squad. He has rotated the frontline between Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud, and Kai Havertz in only 3 games. Tuchel also has a reputation of switching shapes before and within the game to accommodate opposition tactics and that has been a staple of this Chelsea side since he took over. Only the back 3, the Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho pivot, and the goalkeeper have been constants for the former PSG and Borussia Dortmund coach. Whatever his lineup is, he has won with 3 clean sheets on the bounce. His tinkering is working at the moment. Why change? Or rather, why not change?