Chelsea could unleash exciting trio in Champions League

Chelsea vs West Ham

Thomas Tuchel’s alterations in the second half on Saturday made a defining difference against West Ham United. Two of his five substitutes got on the scoresheet to complete a dramatic second-half comeback after falling behind to Antonio’s opening goal.

Ben Chilwell proved the defining influence, making a decisive run and finish to net the equaliser before setting up Kai Havertz winner in the 88th minute. Armando Broja also offered a different dimension that unsettled West Ham’s defence, who endured a painless afternoon until the Albanian’s arrival, finding it easy to nullify the shorter attacking pair of Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic.

Mason Mount’s usual burst of energy was apparent, as was his attempts to connect with a more obvious focal point in Broja. The only blot in Tuchel’s changes was the final one in Jorginho, whose complacency near his own box almost cost Chelsea before Havertz winner, losing possession that led to Maxwell Cornet heading the ball off Edouard Mendy’s post from close range.

Although Chelsea won in dramatic fashion, the starting lineup by Tuchel still prompted questions, particularly in the omission of Broja who seemed set to make his first Chelsea start following the announcement of his new contract on Friday evening. 

Up against a physical opponent like West Ham, Chelsea greatly struggled to orchestrate space when faced with a well-structured low block.

The 20-year-old academy graduate quickly changed the game, there was suddenly a direct route into the box to play off and around. His positional versatility also demonstrated in the build-up to the winner, drifting wide before finding Chilwell with a lay-off.

Havertz’s placement inside the box to convert was the perfect response to the fair criticism he has faced in the opening weeks of this campaign, continuing his unique knack to score important goals for Chelsea in pressurised situations. The 23-year-old forward looked freer with the aid of Broja as a central presence attracting bodies, giving food for thought over his future positioning under Tuchel.

Like last weekend, there is a quick turnaround from an emotionally draining Saturday clash into a midweek away trip. But this one sees the Blues travel to the Croatian capital of Zagreb for their Champions League group opener on Tuesday evening.

Tuchel has seen his side offer some nice moments and flashes of quality without a complete feeling of conviction. Tuesday offers a chance to hopefully begin to instil the foundations for more consistency after a rocky start. Chilwell, Havertz and Broja all have put themselves in strong places to start on Tuesday in Zagreb, Tuchel will be hoping he will not need his bench to work miracles again.

Source: Football London

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