There’s a lot to talk about.

3 games into the 2022/2023 season – and we’re already in crisis mode. A victory against Everton, a draw against Spurs and an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Leeds has put the Chelsea fanbase into absolute chaos.

It’s pretty important not to overreact to the loss and make things too complicated talking about the formation etc because this time last week, we were absolutely thrilled after the performance against Spurs. The massive issue is that most fans knew that this sort of performance wouldn’t be replicated the next game, despite an away game at Leeds being a really important one for Chelsea fans.

I think there is so much to talk about at the moment, so that is exactly what I am going to do. Pretty much discuss any thoughts I have on most players in the squad, as well as some of Thomas Tuchel’s decisions. It’s going to be a long one.

Edouard Mendy

I don’t think anyone can doubt that Mendy has struggled to reach the level he was at in his first 12 months at the club where he was crucial in our Champions League victory. The first 35 minutes pretty much summed up his last 24 months at the club – started off brilliantly and was distributing it with ease, and then a stupid error mucked it all up.

I think goalkeeper mistakes hurt the fans the most because they are so unnecessary and although it is quite cliche, you can just kick it out if you are feeling the pressure. The mistake against Real Madrid which arguably cost us the tie and Leeds’ antics are both unacceptable.

Yet, I’m still not too worried about Eddie. Look at one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Alisson and the number of similar mistakes he made last season, and you realise these things happen. No-one can convince me that if you gave Kepa 15 games in a row he’d make less mistakes. Maybe not with his feet, but he won’t be making the saves which Mendy makes on a regular and the ones we take for granted. I’m quite sure of it.

Trevoh Chalobah

Trev now needs to leave the club. He’s now another victim of some really weird treatment from Tuchel in the last 6 months. The situation is really reminiscent of Tomori’s departure under Frank Lampard, where no one actually knows what is going on behind the scenes.

After watching Romelu Lukaku and Kai Havertz up top, people have finally started to see the issues with Tuchel’s treatment of Tammy Abraham. And yet somehow, I think the recent treatment of Chalobah is worse due to how good he was last season.

Chelsea STILL haven’t lost a game in normal time (two penalty losses against Liverpool) in which Trevoh has started for Tuchel, and that is an incredible record. I don’t doubt that mistakes were creeping in last season and Tuchel had the right to drop him, but then when he returned into the team against West Ham United he played brilliantly and was still dropped the next game.

On top of that, Andreas Christensen was ahead of Trev in the pecking order who was having his stomach pains and Azpilicueta had signed a deal with Barcelona to join them this Summer which eventually collapsed. Instead, the academy product who wanted to stay at the club, was put on the bench. It makes no sense.

Trevoh Chalobah in training.

I understand he has had a meeting with the club and Tuchel very recently. I suspect those discussions will eventually lead to the departure of Trev this season, but whether it’s on loan or a permanent deal remains to be seen. I suspect it could be similar to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s situation where the club pretty much refuse the player to leave permanently, and so they have to go out on loan to settle for some first team minutes.

I just think it’s a massive shame because I do believe he would’ve taken being a first choice backup in all three centre-back positions like he was for most of last season, but it does look like Silva, Azpi, Reece, Fofana, Koulibaly, Cucurella and maybe even Ampadu would be ahead of him to get minutes. He also could’ve been used in midfield crises like we had yesterday, but for whatever reason the trust with Tuchel seems to have broken down completely and he needs to be playing Premier League football for his career.

Cesar Azpilicueta

I love the guy, everyone loves the guy, but why on earth is he still at this club? It was absolutely perfect timing for him to move on this Summer and him getting a move back home in Spain, but instead we offered him a two year deal and he decided to stick around.

I didn’t have much of a problem with him staying to help with the transition of the new owner, but everyone knew as soon as he signed that deal he was going to get minutes. I just worry his downfall will be very similar to Ivanovic’s at the club, as we certainly saw glimpses of this coming last season.

When playing he certainly causes more issues than solves, and they’re much more obvious to see when you look directly at him during the game. He isn’t comfortable enough on the ball anymore and is often beaten in behind. It’s gutting because him staying has pretty much meant that a better and younger talent in Chalobah will be leaving the club, but there’s not much we can do at this point. Dave is here to stay.

Thiago Silva

There isn’t much to say about Thiago other than he is still a very classy centre-half. He doesn’t do much wrong and still makes some really important interceptions and tackles.

Although, I thought I’d bring up a discussion which I haven’t completely made my mind up on. I was watching the Chelsea U21s against Wolves two weeks back and it’s been bugging me since…

I wonder if Silva’s lack of athleticism is a massive reason for why we can’t go into a four at the back that often during games? I do think the midfield profile is a much bigger issue, but when watching a lot of teams playing a 3 man defence, the central centre back likes to push forward into midfield or make those line breaking passes which we don’t really see from Thiago anymore.

Ethan Ampadu in pre-season was an excellent example of this, Trevoh Chalobah would be able to play this role perfectly with him doing a very similar thing in the academy under Jody Morris, and dare I say it someone like Declan Rice could excel in this sort of role.

It’s not that big of an issue, but something I thought I’d bring up…

Kalidou Koulibaly

I’m really not going to go into the Senegalese that much. There isn’t much to say. He will turn out to be an excellent signing and at a good price. It was a stupid red card against Leeds especially for someone of his experience, but he’ll learn from it and I’m sure he won’t make the same mistake again. Next.

Ethan Ampadu

It is so frustrating the way we’ve dealt with Ethan over the last few years, and it looks like we could be messing with his career once again due to not being quick enough in the transfer market. Some awful loans, some very late decisions and not being given good enough chances in pre-season has led to him only having one proper good year of football since the academy days.

This time it was different though, or at least what it felt like. He was arguably the most impressive player in pre-season and with us looking for so many centre-halves it made total sense for him to be given a similar role to Malang Sarr’s last season. On top of that, playing in defensive midfield for Wales should’ve increased his chances of staying even more.

Unfortunately, so far it looks like him getting minutes in this Chelsea squad is going to be really unlikely and he hasn’t even been given a squad number yet! With the World Cup in just over a few months, he’ll be desperate for minutes and it’s why I suspect he’ll be pushing for a move on a loan or permanent basis in the final few days of the window.

On the other hand, I can see the club refusing this and forcing him to stay. It would be a massive shame for his own development but with Chalobah going out and Fofana coming in, I imagine they’ll want to keep Ethan around. If he can pick up Malang Sarr’s minutes I don’t think he’d complain either…

So, this upcoming weekend’s game against Leicester could be a massive signal for him. If he starts at LCB, there’s a good chance he will stay being backup to Koulibaly. But, if it’s what we all suspect and Cucurella is on the left hand side of defence, the Welshman should be pushing for that move instantly.

Ethan Ampadu had a brilliant loan in Italy and may return to the country once again…

Marc Cucurella

We gave our thoughts on Cucurella’s signing in a recent podcast episode, which you can listen to here, but I’ll summarise what I’m thinking so far.

Also available on all other platforms…

Look, I’ve got no doubt he’s a very good player. £65m? That is an absurd price for a little bit of competition and a stopgap for Chilwell’s return to full fitness when you have one of the best academies in the world and are sending Ian Maatsen on loan to the Championship for the second season in a row.

I think people are really forgetting how important Chilwell was to our system beforehand and that was because he was such a reliable player and always did the job. He’d put in a 7/10 in most games and that’s all we needed from him.

In the end, I do think Cucurella could do that job and it isn’t my money so I can’t complain too much. But those funds certainly could have been used elsewhere and in much better use in my opinion…

Reece James

Zero complaints about this boy. I’m ready to go as far as saying he’s our best player in the squad. He is THAT good.

RCB or RWB? I’ve got no issue with him doing either. He is absolutely excellent in both positions, and Tuchel’s following quote from last season is something most fans would agree with:

“I would love to have two Reece James’ to have the problem solved!”

– Thomas Tuchel

I imagine if/when Fofana comes in, it will solve a lot of the problems and he’ll finally be able to cement himself at that RWB position. When he’s been at RWB previously, it’s heavily relied on the RCB moving the ball quickly to Reece and when that has been Azpi this has been an issue. When he’s been at RCB, it relies on Ruben at wingback having a strong game and you never know which Ruben you’re going to get (so far this season, very good).

Fofana comes in and you have a centre-back who’s very strong on the ball and will allow Reece to attack with a bit more freedom. They’ll easily be able to switch with each other during the game – something which definitely isn’t possible currently and it should open up a few new things.

There isn’t much else to say that we have produced a future Chelsea captain and we must do everything to get him to sign a new contract.

These two were brilliant against Spurs…

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben is an extremely useful player in this squad and I’m pretty happy with the role he’s playing in this squad, and I think he is too (on top of a very high wage which he wouldn’t receive elsewhere).

I still remind myself of his football under Maurizio Sarri as a number eight and how good he was. He was dribbling past players for fun, but most impressively getting those goals and assists. We haven’t seen that in this system, and that’s something we can’t blame him due to playing a much deeper role in midfield and wingback being something very new to him.

I’m absolutely fine with him being our backup wingback, and he’s more than good enough to get a good number of minutes in midfield. It’s hard not to think what the likes of him, Conor and Mason could do as number eights in midfield and he’s a massive victim of this formation, but it’s something we’re going to have to live with for now.

Jorginho

I’m going to be very straight with you and it is just my opinion – he is absolutely not good enough to be starting for us weekly in the Premier League and hasn’t been for a while. It’s a massive shame he’s having to play so much at the moment due to Kovacic and Kante’s injuries because it’s costing us badly.

You’d surely think the player who was voted the third best footballer in the world would be able to help a young Conor in midfield and use all the space they had against Leeds? Wrong. They were both pretty awful and it was definitely where the game was lost.

Look, if you like him, you like him. If you don’t, then you don’t. You have definitely made up your mind on him by now. I love the guy, but really do not rate the footballer. He simply isn’t consistent enough, and I just don’t think he’s good enough for the Premier League.

He’s in the last year of his contract and this is where things get interesting. He’s clearly captain of the club when Azpi isn’t playing, so in that sense I would not be shocked at all if he’s offered an extension of one or two years and Chelsea try and get a fee later. Realistically, the only club who would be interested in him in the world is Juventus so let’s just hope they pick him up one window or another.

Mateo Kovacic

Very happy with Mateo and has turned out to be an excellent signing. I have always rated him as a footballer but did have my precautions at times, but I’m happy to say I’ve been proven wrong. He needs to stay injury-free though!

N’Golo Kante

Another player who needs to stay injury-free! The Spurs game was a reminder that he is still one of the best midfielders in the world when fit, but it just never feels like we can get 5 games in a row for him. He’s set to be out for another few weeks and let’s just pray that’s the last one before the World Cup.

He’s also in a similar situation to Jorginho where he’s getting older and is in the last year of his contract, so I also suspect he’ll sign an extension or a proper contract. No way Todd Boehly lets both Jorginho and Kante leave on a free next Summer.

Conor Gallagher

There’s a lot of discussion around Conor at the moment – and rightly so. He’s in a really sticky situation.

The World Cup in December will absolutely be ringing in his mind and if he wants to make that squad, he’s going to need proper gametime in the next two months. Whether he gets that with a heavy Chelsea schedule upcoming is the massive question he has to ask himself.

He’s another casualty of Tuchel’s system and it’s very obvious to see it doesn’t suit him at all and that’s not his fault. You have to remember that this is a player who stood out in an extremely struggling West Brom team, and the following season was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League at Crystal Palace where he picked up so many goals and assists under Patrick Vieira.

He has played in this pivot role before, and I still think he could do a job there. In the same way you didn’t overreact to Koulibaly’s poor performance against Leeds, you’d be silly to completely dismiss Conor after his poor showing too.

Phil (@chelseayouth) in the above tweet summarised it pretty well. I do actually think Conor would be a bit more comfortable in the attacking role where he can win the ball back higher up the pitch and has a larger license to lose the ball. But, it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case. Someone said to me that against Leeds Tuchel had Mason and Conor playing in the complete opposite roles and I cannot unsee it now.

I think he will end up staying and that’s as a result of Kovacic and Kante’s injuries. If you asked me a week ago, I’d have said he was going on loan again with the international competition in mind. Still some days for that to change…

Billy Gilmour

These two have a dilemma right in front of them…

Who? Who is Billy Gilmour?

Something which Tuchel clearly has been saying to himself in the last few months. The Scottish international has become the forgotten man, and no one really seems to care which is frightening. It’s actually really scary.

It’s also ridiculous. I have zero doubt he would have done a better job than both Conor and Jorginho in midfield against Leeds. Something is clearly not right as he wasn’t even involved in the U21s game where the fringe players such as Ampadu, Chukwuemeka, and Chalobah all featured in for match fitness.

I think people forget – this is a player who was really impressive under Tuchel over a season ago and that included a MOTM worthy performance against the best team in the world (Manchester City) which even got unprompted praise from Antonio Rudiger afterwards!

Yes, his loan at Norwich was awful. Yes, he didn’t look that good in the academy pre-season games I watched. A lot of that is due to a complete loss of confidence and it’s up to Tuchel to get that back for such a quality player. It does not look like that is happening.

It’s pretty obvious, but Billy does want to leave the club permanently although I think he’ll only get a loan since we’re so late into the window. He HAS to make the right move, and perhaps he needs some belief from a manager like Frank Lampard to get his career back on track.

Carney Chukwuemeka

I’ve got a really bad feeling he’s going to be chucked into the U21s in a few weeks if he doesn’t leave on a loan this window. I have no problem with him playing the odd game here and there to keep his fitness levels up but is he absolutely good enough to get minutes for the first team and shouldn’t accept anything less.

I was told that Tuchel convinced him to join the club by telling him he would get first team minutes with Kante and Jorginho’s “age” and injury proneness. If I’m being honest, I’ve seen nothing so far which suggests to me that this is even close to being the case.

We have to remember this is a player who we have plucked from a Premier League side and is more than good enough to play in the division, so putting him on at Half-Time two days ago wouldn’t have been as ludicrous as it may sound to some. He suits the pivot really well and would’ve been able to keep the ball and move it quickly.

Time will tell what happens with him. I did find it quite interesting that Tuchel mentioned all the midfielders in the post-match conference and didn’t say Carney, but maybe that’s just me overreacting a little. Ideally, he gets a Premier League loan, but I can’t see that happening and if you want to watch him then I’d start turning up to Kingsmeadow as much as you can!

Mason Mount

I have zero issues with Mason. In fact, if you have a massive issue with Mason, then I have an issue with you. Just like Reece, another player we should be begging signs that six year deal.

I lied. I do have an issue with Mason. It’s the way Tuchel uses him:

And that tweet pretty much summarises it. Mason Mount is a midfielder. Why on earth is the highest player on the pitch against Leeds after putting in an incredible performance versus Spurs in a left midfield role?

Mason’s a culprit of being a very technical and intelligent player and as a result is played out of position (and just like a lot of the other Cobham boys). I worry this is turning into a Jorginho slander piece but compare that to Jorginho who due to his multiple limitations we are having to play a system which doesn’t suit about 7 other starters.

‘I’ve played midfield my whole life. I’ve varied between playing a bit more forward in a No.10 position but I always kind of see myself as a No.8.

I’ve definitely got a range of longer passing in my locker and you can bring that out more when you’re playing in that deeper No.8 position. I do like that [central] role. It allows me to build up play with the ball and also get forward and join the attack.’

Mason Mount (November 2020)

I do get he has inconsistencies but so does Reece. They are both still quite young players in the Premier League and we’ll see the best of them very soon. Getting thrown around and being asked to do hundred things at once does not make life any easier for him yet he cracks on and doesn’t complain once. Him and Reece have to dominate Chelsea FC for the next 10 years.

Christian Pulisic

I’m personally not a huge fan of the player, and I’m certainly not a fan of his dad’s antics on Twitter.

I’ve gathered that Tuchel has pretty much told him that he’s only seen as a super sub for the Blues, and I don’t think that’s gone down too well. I’m not sure how much Pulisic can do about it though with there not being too much concrete interest in him from other clubs!

He’s a pretty inconsistent player, and I still haven’t really been able to figure out what he’s quite good at exactly. Under Frank, he was dribbling past players for fun and seemed to enjoy that freedom, but he hasn’t had any of that under the German manager and just loses the ball most of the time. His movement off the ball is pretty strong but we don’t see him in the box as often and our style of play isn’t that direct for him to be effective at all.

It is probably best for all parties involved if he was moved on quite quickly.

Hakim Ziyech

Another player who needs to disappear from this club ASAP.

He’s been useful for us at times in the last two years with him turning up in some massive games and getting a few key goals, but I understand he has massively fallen out with Tuchel and is desperate to leave.

His attitude on the pitch is pretty poor with him complaining all the time and just destroying any attacks by shooting whenever he gets bored. It’s a shame because there’s a good player in there and a profile we don’t have but he doesn’t fit the system at all and needs to depart.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

He seems to be the talking point at this time of the season every year. He’s often been at the end result of quite a lot of hypocrisy from managers – and it was ever so clear with some more quotes from Thomas Tuchel.

As you can see from the first quote, I do think Tuchel massively rates Callum as I’ve never seen him say such good things potential wise about Pulisic or Ziyech for example.

But you can only reach your potential if you play football. That is a fact. You have to be allowed to make mistakes, and even more for someone like Callum, you have to be able to express yourself and not be worried about losing the ball once or twice.

The third quote is worrying because he is telling Hudson-Odoi he needs to keep on fighting, and yet he fails to give him any chances to do the fighting in the first place. Not coming on instead of Ziyech who is about to leave the club is absolutely disgraceful (in fact, what’s even worse is Ziyech was on a flight from Leeds to Amsterdam just an hour after the game to try and finalise a return to Ajax).

He does want to leave and I understand originally it was on a permanent basis, but the club refused and a loan looks much more likely with him desperate for first team minutes. There are so many clubs interested in the winger from England and abroad, so hopefully he makes the right move and we get an update in the next few days.

Personally, I’d send him to Southampton on loan. I think he must stay in the Premier League as him performing well will bring up media attention and it will be screamed at Tuchel right in his face. Look at the way Gallagher has been involved in the first team compared to Ampadu when they both had similar loans?

Kai Havertz

I feel for Kai, and I also don’t. Realistically, he hasn’t really shown anything in the two seasons he’s been here and a lot of the “hype” around him is still very much based off what he did in the Bundesliga.

But how much can we really blame him? He’s playing most of the time with his back to goal which simply doesn’t suit him, but he also faces a massive issue of no-one really knowing his best position: whether that’s as an 8, a 10, a false nine or an out and out striker which is the current role he’s playing.

Tammy struggled under Tuchel, Lukaku struggled, Havertz has struggled, and nothing suggests to me a new forward won’t do the same. Yes, he misses chances, but I can tell you we don’t create enough for him. He can do a lot more for himself and make life easier, but I refuse to put everything on him for now.

He’s been really frustrating and seeing him not really improve compared to the likes of Mason and Reece has been disappointing, but he’s still very young and we can just hope things somehow get better.

Who should start up front for Chelsea in your opinion?

Armando Broja

I unfortunately think the inevitable signing of Aubameyang will force him out of the club, at least on a loan deal.

It has been very difficult to tell where he lies in Tuchel’s mind with him being quite injured in pre-season and in training recently. On that note though, you do have to remember this is a player who Tuchel couldn’t give assurances to and was set to join West Ham permanently until something drastically switched.

Whoever was advising Armando was completely going down the wrong path in my opinion (and it’s also a shame Tuchel couldn’t convince him to stay originally) as he was so close to leaving despite being second choice striker to Havertz, which eventually would have led to quite a few minutes in blue. He honestly wouldn’t have had to do too much to get a starting place in the team, if Tuchel was to play on merit that was.

Like I said before though, it’s very clear we want a forward or two and I can very much see Broja end up at Everton with them desperately looking for someone of his profile. It would also make sense with Anthony Gordon coming the other way…

Thomas Tuchel

And on that note, we are finally onto the final discussion. Thomas Tuchel. The Gaffer.

All I’m going to say is we desperately need a Director of Football, and quickly. Let Tuchel do the coaching and just give him a set of players to work with. That will work a lot better than him trying to get involved with this transfer business – although I fully understand he has to at the moment with a new owner and the likes of Marina & Cech leaving the club.

Tuchel will absolutely be feeling the pressure at the moment…

Aubameyang – it just screams Higuain 2.0 doesn’t it? A player who was once good for the manager coming back and trying to show what they can do. When you have Broja, I really don’t see the need for this signing. Two years ago, I was all for Pierre, but I do wonder if his time has gone and whether people have actually watched him at Barcelona.

Midfielder: Tuchel has slightly lost the plot on this one. I fully understand him not being able to switch to a four at the back with us not having a defensive profile in midfield, but to then go and say we don’t need a new midfielder is ludicrous.

The numbers are certainly not an issue, but the profiles are. Also, I’m not having the excuse of him playing up to the media because this time last Summer he was screaming for a midfielder and ended up with his choice Saul, and he also has spent the last two months publicly pleading for defenders (and rightly so).

Anthony Gordon is just an odd signing. I do quite like the player and think he would bring something to us, but in absolutely no way different to what someone like Hudson-Odoi or Gallagher would be able to do in the attacking role, or even someone like Hutchinson after a year or two of coaching. A £60m price tag is pretty crazy too. 100% see it finalising later this week though.

I mentioned it enough times in our recent podcast episodes, but dropping Harvey Vale and Billy Gilmour to the U21s in pre-season to “maintain training levels” was another example of some terrible management. I honestly cannot be asked to rant about it again, so please do have a listen if you have the time.

And we’re finally done…if you’ve made it this far – wow, and thank you. There’s a lot to talk about the moment and naturally you’ll have different opinions so please do send them to my personal account or tag us on @TheChelseaSpot!

Written by Paree

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