Thomas Tuchel joined Chelsea in January after the sacking of Frank Lampard following a poor run of results.
Tuchel faced the unenviable task of replacing a Chelsea legend, adored by fans of the club.
Since the German took control though, results have improved dramatically, with Chelsea climbing from ninth into the Champions League places.
It appears that much of this success is attributed to his change to the formation. Whilst Lampard played a 4-3-3 formation, Tuchel favours a 3-5-2.
This change has seen Chelsea become very difficult to break down. Since his appointment, Chelsea are unbeaten in 12 games, and have beaten the likes of Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Everton during this period.
Despite Saturday’s 0-0 draw away at Leeds, a game in which Tuchel made six changes from the previous game, Chelsea are in a strong position in both the Champions League, where they hold a 1-0 league going into Wednesday’s round of 16 second leg against Atletico, as well as the Fa Cup, where they’re in the quarter-finals.
More impressively perhaps, is his defensive record. After having looked extremely fragile at the back in the last weeks of Lampard’s tenure, the Blues have conceded two goals in 12 matches under Tuchel, an average of 0.166 goals conceded per game.
Comparing that to Lampard, whose Chelsea side conceded an average of 1.11 goals per game during his 29 matches in charge this season, and it appears as if Tuchel has solved Chelsea’s previous defensive problems.
Another problem was Chelsea’s form against the so-called Premier League big six. Under Lampard, Chelsea failed to beat any of them. Chelsea suffered damaging defeats against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City, as well as uninspiring goalless draws against Manchester United and Tottenham.
Under Tuchel, Chelsea has looked extremely comfortable during victories against Tottenham and Liverpool, and despite another goalless draw against Manchester United, Chelsea controlled possession for the majority of the game.
Another feature of Tuchel’s time so far has been bringing players back in who hadn’t featured as much under Lampard.
Players such as Andreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso have flourished under Tuchel, after seeing their chances limited under Lampard.
Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi have also been recipients of Tuchel’s new system. The German striker in particular has become key to the system, with his work rate making him an important player despite his lack of goals this season.
It seems as though the experience of Tuchel in top-level football has made him a perfect fit for Chelsea. Despite the ‘legend’ status given to Frank Lampard by the Chelsea faithful, he struggled to get the best from his group of players, particularly after a summer which saw a spend of over £200 million.
Tuchel has so far made great use of the squad at his disposal, perhaps due to his previous big club experience at Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain.
Lampard can consider himself unlucky. He helped Chelsea qualify for the Champions League last season despite a transfer ban and the loss of their star player, Eden Hazard. But due to the large summer spend, expectations changed, and Lampard’s sacking was a consequence.
Chelsea is a club where success is essential. From his experience at the club as a player, Lampard was fully aware of the size of the job he was walking into, particularly with the club’s famed record of dismissing managers.
Considering the difficult circumstances Tuchel came into, he has done an excellent job. Chelsea now look like they have a system and a style which makes them difficult to play against.
As long as Chelsea continue to make progress under Tuchel, it shouldn’t be too long before he delivers silverware to Stamford Bridge.