Chelsea’s front three for the Everton clash may already be known as Thomas Tuchel faces a major Romelu Lukaku decision. The Blues have been ineffectual in front of goal this season, as shown by the 21 shots wasted midweek against Manchester United in the 1-1 Premier League draw.
That game itself alongside others in which the Blues have dropped points is usually down to the attacking deficiencies that were supposed to be solved by the £97.5million club-record acquisition of Romelu Lukaku last summer. “That is the target to which we work. It’s also for them to adapt, there is still a time of adaptation to the rhythm and schedule. The schedule is ruthless for us and still, it’s the moment that they have to adapt to the league, the physicality, the rhythm, the demands. The boys are still young: Mason (Mount) is still young, Timo is still young, Kai is still young,” Tuchel said midweek on trying to marry up work rate with a decisive edge.
“It will come, they will learn because they are good guys and have the right attitude. It’s not always easy to arrive fully composed and with the biggest ease because we demand a lot off the counter-pressing, attacking with the first line when the opponents wants to play out. So they have a bit of credit.”
He then added on how to find that missing link and balance: “Honestly, I think this is not the decisive link. When I see today Reece James play and we missed him for 12 weeks, I am very impressed we are still in the top three, were so close to reaching another semi-final in the Champions League, and reached finals in both cups because you see the amount of quality that was missing.
“Today other key players are missing in Mateo Kovacic, who was so decisive at the beginning of the season, same with N’Golo Kante, same with Ben Chilwell. This was the story of the season. The big difference is Man City and Liverpool, in these moments, a full squad available and we struggled with Covid periods and long-term injuries. This is more decisive than the other thing. We had weeks where we were composed and strong and efficient in front of goal.”
Critics may see Tuchel’s words as excuses but as many Chelsea fans know, key injuries coupled with a Covid crisis mid-season and a congested fixture schedule have been the downfall of the Blues this term. More importantly, though, it’s the attacking woes that have kept the current European and World Champions out of the title race and with only an FA Cup final to look forward to, the rest of this season can be seen as a chance to build up some momentum.
Will this be with Lukaku though? Well, if Chelsea’s matchday graphic is anything to go by then the front three may not include the former Everton and Man United man.
Instead, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner alongside Christian Pulisic feature prominently on the matchday graphic which alludes to their involvement at some way in this Sunday’s fixture. Of course, Lukaku could still start but this is certainly the biggest hint yet that the Belgian may be left disillusioned once again once team news is released at 1pm.
Elsewhere, Cesar Azpilicueta also features on the graphic which means the Spaniard could be starting once again in the Chelsea defence which could line up in a back four or three formations depending on how Tuchel wants to approach this Super Sunday fixture.
Is this another big team news hint with Andreas Christensen having been doubtful coming into this fixture due to picking up yet another illness?
“For sure, Ben Chilwell, no, and for Kova (Mateo Kovacic), it is too early – he has not had a minute in team training so far. he will not come back. Callum Hudson-Odoi as well. Maybe Andreas Christensen, but let’s see after he was ill. And the same for Ross Barkley. “Let’s wait until the day after tomorrow (Saturday) to see how they feel,” Tuchel said in his pre-Everton press conference.